Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Masters of Counselling & Psychotherapy UofA
Member of the ACA College of Supervisors
Level 3 Member Australian Counselling Association
In the last seven months I'm here, I have had 2 racist remarks, later realised they were drunkards. But there have been thousands of Australians I encountered in this period who have been warm, courteous, friendly, in fact having a keen interest in Indian food and culture. Some years back there were many attacks on Indian students in Melbourne, so we were a bit apprehensive before coming. Till now, all is good and I am sure rest of our stay would also be great
I like to think that things are changing, although maybe I'm being na´ve. Although some older Australian are quite bigoted, it's encouraging to see children and young people embrace the cultural diversity in our communities. When I'm walking around Perth city, I like to "people-watch", and you see so many happy couples and groups of friends from different ethnic backgrounds, hanging out together, quite oblivious to any apparent differences. I think that's a good sign. The same apples in most schools...children love their little friends and don't really care what colour or religion they are, unless some bigoted adult has influenced them negatively.
I think there are a lot of racist Australians.
There are also a lot who are not.
I do not see that other countries would see us as a whole as racist as the Government does what they like despite what people think and want, and I think all Governments around the world are in the same boat.
I don't think turning away immigrants or asylum seekers is a sign of racism. You can't say that the whole country is racist. There will be people who are, and people who aren't. Personally, I thought that your co-inhabitance with the Maori shows a respect for other cultures.
The Maori are from New Zealand, not Australia (though granted, we do have a few of them living over here too). Our native people are the Indigenous Australians, and I'm not too proud of the way we have treated them in the past and treat them today. Aboriginal health is in a pretty terrible state. Out in the centre there are kids who go deaf just from having chronic ear infections that go untreated, stuff like that, and on average they die younger than white Australians.
haha It's an understandable error. You actually see far more Maoris in capital cities that you do Aboriginal people. And Samoans and Tongans. I'm always fascinated by how quickly colour disappears in part aboriginal kids. I've taught part indigenous kids who have blond hair and one with red hair and freckles. Some look Indian too.
Australian policy, and Australians in general, I believe are among the most tolerant in the world, when you consider how many nations there are that simply do not tolerate any cultural background that is different to their own. But then again they typically don't have the same diversity that Australia has. If we went back a hundred or so years, when the Australian population was predominantly white anglo-saxon - the amount of "racism" back then was no doubt a lot more similar to other countries who were/are not as multicultural as Australia is today.
That is not to say Australia is without any shameful racist behaviour. It is a religiously philosophically free country, so people will have whatever perceptions they have and that in many cases leads to racist actions by those people. But the reality is racist ACTIONs are illegal, so it is his/her actions that legally makes a person a "racist".
Turning away the boats is not necessarily racist in itself - that would depend on the motivation for such a decision. I believe we (i.e. Australians of every race and creed) have an excellent standard of living. While Australia should be a responsible international citizen, we also have a right to protect our standard of living and that includes controlling who comes into the country and how they do it. It's a delicate balance on which the opinion varies as much as the number of Australian Citizens. Some would say there is plenty here to share and that it is unrealistic and immoral not to share the wealth more evenly, while others might say "a country is what you make it so if you want to live in a place like Australia, make your own country that way - don't come here and decrease my standard of living".
I tend to agree more with the former view, but that just me (I don't have any luxury cars or massive incomes to part with for the benefit of others... just a mortgage and everyday bills like most others), but I'm sure there is a limit to everything. If Australia became a crappy place to live, I'd see what other options there were too... Everyone wants a decent life for themselves and their family, and "decent" is defined differently by different people.
Australians are not only very racist but also classist, nationalist and generally averse to foreigners. I have encountered some friendly Australians but I sense that it is simply more courteousness than friendliness. Australia is advertised as a country with Christian values and accepting citizens - but unfortunately, that is not the case.
I would say that racism is personal thing and not something that the nation should be accused of.
The only experience I can recall was when an Aboriginal person asked me for the loan of a tool on the side of the road so suggested he ask the garage. He responded in fear. I went inside and the owner reacted badly because he had suffered theft problems. We all treat each other poorly and this is often the cause of the problem. On another occasion I experienced a person who arrived here from Asia 20 years ago in a full rant against immigration. It was all I could do to not laugh at him.
May I remind you all that pizza , stir fry and now some of those yummy Middle Eastern dishes that I cannot pronounce yet are a lot more interesting than the 3 veg and meat we endured as I grew up.