Jun 2, 2009

Crikey wrap: Indian press on Australia’s racism

The spotlight on Australia’s racist underbelly comes amid fears our reputation as a destination for Indian students is on the line.

A series of bashings and stabbings on Australia’s Indian students has come to a violent head, after a protest over the treatment of Indian students in Melbourne on Sunday.

Images of angry Indian students on Swanston Street have been beamed over the world, from Hong Kong to Edinburgh, and Al Jazeera, sparking fears our international reputation has taken a battering of its own.

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9 thoughts on “Crikey wrap: Indian press on Australia’s racism

  1. Evan


    Q. How did the Indian press and visiting students find out Australia’s violent thieving thugs are actually racist?

    A. They didn’t. Our thugs are opportunist, not racist, just like any nations’ thieving thugs. It would make a good survey, though I think it may be confounded by “socially desirable responding bias”, which would be where the hard crims would think it is cool to be rascist and not answer the questions truthfully.

    Q. Why are we over-reacting to the racist tag being applied to us?

    A. I guess because we are damaged by our colonial history where violent racial acts occurred under the Australian flag. We know we didn’t do it personally but we also know we have not really done enough in our lifetime for indigenous people that have continued to suffer from those earlier ignorant acts.

    Q. How do we deal with that?

    A. With regard to the indian student thing, don’t get drawn into it – the rancorous indian students and press aren’t calling us all “violent thieving thugs”, because they know that would be too easy to knock down as flawed logic – “transferring the evidence of the particular onto the whole”. But call us racist, well… then we are getting those old guilt-buttons pushed. Let it go. After all, it is as silly as saying MY CRIMINALS ARE BETTER THAN YOURS. With regard to long term however, lets make a better effort for indigenous Australians so those buttons are so easily prodded.

  2. Heathdon McGregor

    how do the statisticas add up against any other racial group. Were there less attacks on people with african, mediteranean or asian heritage. How many anglo people were victims in the last year? More than 70?

    Please can somebody in the media please compare apples with apples or is it just too easy to have effigy’s burning on your website/front page?

    once again who will get beat up by this beat up this time? it wont be anybody who started this.

  3. Venise Alstergren

    Evan, Australia didn’t have a flag until recently. Every deed done, every war fought-exceptions Vietnam and Iraq-has been done under the flag of Britain.
    The more excited ‘concerned Australians’ become about being racist, the more I’m inclined to believe we are racist. If we were not racist we wouldn’t get so excited. After the Cronulla incident I was sure large numbers of people were racist. Those hoons didn’t get to be the way they are without a lot of parental advice.

  4. Evan

    Agreed – some better stats required

    Sorry perhaps I should have said “racially violent acts in the name of King and country?”
    I am going to stay right out of your intuitive connection between excited by “name calling” equalling evidence of guilt. I am sure you are right that in some quarters there is the sort of parental values that you allude to, but once again, I think you will find compelling evidence that the great majority of Australians do not support racism in any way as evidenced in the Australian values survey (ANU) for instance.

    maybe this is better for highlighting the silliness of all this disproportional reaction…


  5. Venise Alstergren


    I agree with you about thugs. Once there is more than one of them they’ll attack anyone. Also, I agree that people alone on a late night train are especially vulnerable. Which is why you seldom see women traveling alone much after dark.
    However, thugs are basically brain-dead bullies, and their lack of brains leaves an empty conduit for other people’s minds. Something has to lodge there-nature abhorring a vaccum-And they pick up on racist negativity. If we weren’t a racist country (on this lowest strata of the community) no-one would be having these racist thoughts to pass on.

  6. Heathdon McGregor

    oh yes it must be the lowest strata of the community that are racist. If that is so how many non white faces do you see on australian tv. Yes those lowest strata tv executives.

    Of course the upper classes aren’t racist only the poor. I put it to you that it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor as poor people live in the suburbs where refugees are first settled before they make their own way. We live with, work with and go to school with all races. You get to know that an ass is an ass is an ass and it doesn’t matter what the background of an ass theyt’re still an ass.

    If we could get rid of the poor (caste system anyone?) then the world will be roses.

  7. Venise Alstergren

    Heather McGregor. you should get that chip off your shoulder.
    Having re-read all the comments I appear to be the guilty party.
    I will explain who I believe to be the lowest strata in society, just in case you believe that I would judge someone on their financial/residential background.
    IMHO the people on the bottom strata consists of the inherently lazy. They are too tired to attempt to think for themselves; instead they suck up like a sponge all the sweeping statements and negativity of other people. They are the ones who fling food out of car windows. Ditto burning cigarettes. They are cruel to animals, possibly by omission. They move their lips when reading the sports pages…and tend to drink too much. I could go on but you’ve probably got the picture.
    This sort of mentality can be found in the upper reaches of that infamously leafy suburb, Toorak, also in Balwyn, St Kilda, Brunswick or Oodnadatta.
    The worst case I’ve ever met lived in Albany Rd Toorak in a house worth ten million dollars. And the most noble example of the other end of the spectrum was born in a fairly wretched house in Collingwood-these were the days before this suburb became trendy. By dint of hard work and a desire to achieve something he has ended up becoming a legend in the entertainment industry. He is kind thoughtful and supportive of others.
    Here endeth the rant. In future please don’t assume that I would decry people by birth. It’s what people fail to achieve that bugs me.

  8. Heathdon McGregor

    Dear venise

    My name is heathdon. On rereading I may have jumped on the term lowest strata as a definition of class. If i am mistaken I apologise. I believe we are making the same point that it doesn’t matter where somebody comes from an ass is an ass.

    my problem is when you introduce terms such as lower strata you are trying to distance your self above other people. some do it by race, some by religion, some by wealth and probably by a million other reasons as well. My point about the executives is that there is not really a racially diverse representation on aus tv. Is this because they are lower strata. Perhaps now by your definition they are.

    If everybody had the same chances then you could decry what they do or dont do with their lives. As every person has different influences on their lives. I dont believe anybody has the knowledge to judge what anybody has or has not achieved as they have no idea what influences caused them to achieve or not. So by labelling the guilty parties as lower strata I jumped to an obvious wrong conclusion. Anyone can label just as anyone can form and state an opinion.

    Sometimes our opinions are incorrect

    Once again my apologies for that

    Sorry i got a little long winded there

    Methinks you do protest a little too much though.

  9. Venise Alstergren

    Dear Heathdon-that’s an unusual name,

    Yes, I think I can see where you are coming from. And, for what’s it worth, I possibly do protest a bit much.
    Thanks to a fairly brutal up-bringing-both my parents were theatrical should say it all. I was yanked out of school when I was fourteen, and booted overseas on my own. It took me years to put myself through a decent school and I ended up at the University of Madrid. So, when I see people not even trying to exercise their brains, just accepting whatever is handed out by people like Andrew Bolt or his even more dangerous fellow prattler Alan Howe of the Herald Sun, and Piers Ackerman-round up the usual suspects at the Oz-I get totally furious. Yes, people are entitled to arrive at their own political preferences. However, to rely on others to form an opinion for you is despicable. Yet there’s a vast amount of people who do just that. A member of my family is a revoltingly racist and bigoted creature. No Einstein but enough to think out a philosophy for herself. Does she? No she spouts all the right wing shit that is put out by Andrew Bolt.

    Unable to fit all of the above into one word I fall back on lower-class. It isn’t adequate but it just has to do until I think of a better one.

    No offense taken by your spirited rejoinder. Cheers

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