A possie in Aussie

February 23, 2009

How racist is Australia?

Filed under: Immigrant workers,race relations — Nayano @ 7:09 am
Tags: ,

An article titled Take back your Portuguese worker: how racist is Europe? lists current events that indicate that “ill-treatment and racist crimes seem to be tolerated more and more”.

The list:

  • This month the German government is answering to the UN human rights council following Iran’s condemnation of the ‘dramatic rise’ in criminal offences against foreigners in the country
  • The last group of Portuguese workers to have been hired to work in the UK went back home under pressure from the protesters
  • Irish anger about the near doubling of unemployment rates has been directed towards the country’s primary immigrant population: the Polish
  • In 2008 the Pew Centre questioned 4,700 people in six European countries to find out their perception of Jews and Muslims. Everywhere the figures are increasing, sometimes reaching more than 50% of those with unfavourable opinions toward minorities.

“About 15 percent of Australians have experienced racism within institutional settings like the workplace and in education. About one-quarter of Australians report the experience of ‘everyday racisms’.”

That is a finding in a 2003 paper by Kevin Dunn in which he said that “Anti-Muslim sentiment is very strong”, and also reported findings of intolerance against Asian, Indigenous and Jewish Australians.

The recession has only just started to bite in Australia, and I pray that the marginalised migrants among us are not targeted, but statements like that of Professor Birrell last week will not help.



  1. People are animals and are tribal. It would be nice to think that most people are intelligent, rational people who judge each person individually without bias but it just isn’t going to happen that quickly.

    On a nice note though (and of course not very scientific), one of the most wonderful things about Australia though is how people even if their parents are from other countries regard themselves as ‘Australian’. In the US I constantly have to hear ‘im irish’, ‘im puerto rican’ ‘im italian’. Very rarely do I have to hear that kind of carry on when I am home.

    Compared to many other nations (I can pick Russia for example) Australians are an accepting and open lot.

    Comment by Andrew — April 23, 2009 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  2. You are right, Andrew – I reckon Australia is probably one of the least racist places around – and I want to keep it that way.
    For me, for my children – and for the Sudanese, Afghans and Chinese I work with.

    Comment by nayano — April 23, 2009 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

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