A possie in Aussie

January 15, 2010

I’m an Aussie! Aussies are racist! Aussies hate Indians…’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nayano @ 12:02 pm

When there was an increase in the numbers of arrivals of asylum seekers by boat from 1999-2001, the Howard government spoke of ‘floods’ , ‘terrorists’, and ‘wealthy people taking the places of real refugees’. The media jumped on the bandwagon.

The people of Australia were convinced that they would be ‘over-run’ and a moral panic ensued.

While most media were anti the ’boat people’, even the groups and media who were against the government line used the same terms.

‘There is no flood here. Other countries are getting a lot more’.  (This is suppose to comfort???)

‘The latest surge…’

‘The crisis…’

‘There are no terrorists…’

If people did not associate ‘terrorism’, being’ over-run’, and so on with asylum seekers, they sure did after that. Every use reinforced those ideas. And encouraged belief that there was indeed a ‘crisis’.

I know that Australia has both racist behaviours and people with racist beliefs.

But much of this behaviour is motivated by fear or ignorance or both. And people who have mistaken beliefs about other ethnic groups will not be persuaded by people demonising them as racist.

People who are petty criminals are likely to be those who would welcome an ‘excuse’ for bashing someone.

I imagine the process like this:

Feel aggressive – see an ‘Indian’ – thinks ‘I’m an Aussie! Aussies are racist! Aussies hate Indians…’ – aggression justified

We must be vigilant in our choice of words, especially in such a delicate area as inter-ethnic relations.

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