A possie in Aussie

March 12, 2010

Should black dolls be cheap?

Filed under: African,race relations,racism — Nayano @ 5:17 am

This display in a Walmart store has caused controversy in the US.

ABC News (the American version) reports

“To prepare for (s)pring inventory, a number of items are marked for clearance, ” Wlmart spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien said. “Both are great dolls. The red price sticker indicates that this particular doll was on clearance when the photo was taken, and though both dolls were priced the same to start, one was marked down due to its lower sales to hopefully increase purchase from customers.”

“The implication of the lowering of the price is that’s devaluing the black doll,” said Thelma Dye, the executive director of the Northside Center for Child Development, a Harlem, N.Y. organization founded by pioneering psychologists and segregation researchers Kenneth B. Clark and Marnie Phipps Clark.

“While it’s clear that’s not what was intended, sometimes these things have collateral damage,” Dye said.

Come on! Shops have to be politically-correct when they price items?

Walmart didn’t refuse to stock black dolls. The dolls didn’t sell, for whatever reason.

The reason probably was that people of all races prefer light skin over dark skin, even among their own ethnic group. True! I don’t understand it, personally. I would swap my mottled pink-bluey version any day.

Sociological Images says that “Walmart, however, could have chosen, in this case, to opt out of profit maximization.  The market isn’t physics; a company doesn’t have to follow its laws.”

The laws of physics? No. But the laws of profit making are just as unforgiving.


December 18, 2009

Sudanese AFL rookie becomes a Kangaroo

Filed under: African,refugee — Nayano @ 9:31 am
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Majak Daw, who came to Australia from a refugee background, is the first player of Sudanese origin to be recruited in the AFL rookie draft.

He was recruited by North Melbourne with its first-round pick (which seems to mean he is very good – I think?).

The North Melbourne Football Club has also recently opened  a Learning and Life Centre on their grounds.

The Centre for Multicultural Youth was involved in planning the centre.

The aims of the Centre are to “provide positive educational, multicultural and healthy living programs involving teachers and NMFC players”. These include curriculum-based school topics for visiting students, after-hours ‘homework classes’ for local youth, community organisations such as Melbourne Aboriginal Youth, Sport and Recreation, Victoria Police and the Heart Foundation to run programs in the Centre, and community groups are able to book parts of the facility for functions. NMFC  Learning and Life Centre

December 11, 2009

Lebanese, Vietnamese or Sudanese? We don’t want your business.

Filed under: African,race relations,racism — Nayano @ 7:56 am
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Notes from the pointy end of settlement:

Speaking with an insurance salesman yesterday who is interested in selling to new settlers:

‘We are also obliged to manage our risk. That means evaluating clients as well as property.

For example, head office has told me not to sell to Lebanese, Vietnamese or Sudanese.’

November 17, 2009

Need high tech assistance? Try a refugee camp!

Filed under: African,refugee — Nayano @ 4:56 pm
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Refugees in Dadaab’s camps are crammed in to spaces meant for only one third of the actual population, most don’t have jobs – they can’t get work permits under Kenyan law- and boys are often recruited to become pirates and child soldiers.

And now some of them are earning money with internet-based jobs such as searches, transcription, virtual assistance and app testing, on computers rigged to withstand the heat and dust that permeate the refugee camps. Simple idea – great potential.

Samasource is a non-profit organization that outsources web-based jobs to women, youth, and refugees living in poverty. 520 workers in six third world countries are now working with Samasource.

You can hire a worker or donate to Samasource on their web site, or download the Give Work iPhone app to play a fun solitaire-meets-trivia type of game that helps Samasource-affiliated workers make a few bucks.

November 15, 2009

Australia’s only Sudanese Stand-up Comedian

Filed under: African,humor,humour,refugee — Nayano @ 7:18 am
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This is the second time Sunday Funday has featured Australia’s only Sudanese Stand-up Comedian, Mujahid Ahmed, who lives in my home town and works for the agency I work for (lucky us!).

Enjoy. I particularly liked the very last line!

October 30, 2009

Racism is not inevitable: even public opinion on boatpeople is ‘soft’

Joseph Chamie, research director at the Center for Migration Studies and former director of the United Nations Population Division, in an article for Online Opinion, brings attention to broader migration issues than just numbers of asylum seekers.  Mind the gap: public and government views on migration diverge

Chamie argues that governments overlook  public opinion in favour of powerful interest groups, such as business communities, political elites, ethnic associations and labour-exporting nations, in forming immigration policies.

“The consequences of this neglect are likely to become even more serious over time, giving rise, among other things, to increased xenophobia, vigilantism, violence and political extremism as well as the strengthening of radical factions on both the left and right.

“Some of these troubling developments, e.g., rising xenophobia and the success of nationalist parties, have recently become markedly more visible in such countries as Italy, Greece and Switzerland”, Chamie says.

Ian McAllister, in Mary Crock’s book Protection or Punishment: The Detention of Asylum Seekers in Australia claims that Australian politicians have tried to control the ‘dark underbelly’ of Australian opinion by imposing fairly severe immigration provisions. But this ‘strictness’ has been confined to restricting refugees, especially under the Howard government, which substantially increased opportunities for study, work and business visas.

Chamie cites a global study of public attitudes that found that the majority of the people in 44 of the 47 countries surveyed agree with the statement: “We should restrict and control entry of people into our country more than we do now”

It is dangerous to draw conclusions from this, however, because whenever these questions are asked people in all nations indicated that they want less immigration than they presently have, including in nations where integration was proceeding smoothly.

And public opinion surveys are notoriously unreliable predictors of behaviour, especially in relation to migration. Public opinion of rates of migration is, as Goot says, “not only ‘soft’, it is created in the very attempt to measure it.”

Racism is easily aroused, however, but is just as easily ameliorated. People learn racist attitudes from their milieu and once the milieu changes, for example through new laws, people are shocked by behaviours that they themselves once exhibited, and not only repudiate them but also forget that they ever held them.

October 29, 2009

Sudanese stabbed and media skewered

Filed under: African,media,racism,refugee — Nayano @ 7:25 am
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A young Sudanese man was murdered in an Adelaide suburb a couple of days ago.

There’s a PhD waiting for someone in analysing the news reports.

First I heard of it was through ABC radio news:

“A group of Sudanese men were sitting on an oval on Eastern Parade at about 4:30pm when they were attacked by about half a dozen other young men armed with knives and baseball bats.” Fatal brawl treated as murder

I assumed that the ‘other young men’ were Sudanese too. (Me! I thought that I was too sensitive to racial reporting in the media to be sucked in!!)

The next reports were through the Adelaide Advertiser. The first report I read excluded all mention of race – perpetrator, victim or otherwise.

Later that day in the Advertiser the victim became ‘African’ and the attackers ‘white’.

The latest reports have the victims (now 2) as Sudanese, and the perpetrators stripped of any descriptors. Six people to face court over Ottoway killing of Akol Akok

I reckon that this is going to lodge in the public consciousness as ‘another’ Sudanese murder, like the killing of Daniel Awak. Never mind the hundreds of murders that have taken place in the meantime that have not involved Sudanese.

And I dread the slow news summer months, and return of the so-called ‘experts’ who try to make their names through misinformed and misleading comments about Sudanese youth. A stab in the dark

October 4, 2009

Mujahid Ahmed: The World’s Only Sudanese Standup Comedian

Filed under: African,refugee — Nayano @ 7:24 am
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It’s Sunday Funday!

And here is Muj – the ‘world’s only stand up Sudanese comedian’.

And he works in Adelaide for the same NGO I work for – that must mean I am funny by proximity. I think?

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September 23, 2009

Asylum seekers: the truth, not urban legends

The Adelaide Advertiser yesterday put the arrivals of asylum seekers by boat on the front page. Huge surge in asylum seekers

The article, and the editorial that accompanied it, led to 56 comments, 48 of which were negative in tone. (By the way, the number of comments compares with 169 on the same day about the weather, and 159 earlier in the week about Kane Cornes!)

This is an important issue, and we should all be concerned about it. We should be concerned about Australia’s resources, and about social harmony.

We need to have a debate about the issue, based on facts, not urban legends.

Here are some of the inaccuracies in the Advertiser comments:

1.  There is ‘no cohesive national plan to assist these people in the understanding of our Laws, our culture, the expectations in society’.

Refugees are supported by a program that provides specialised health checks and treatment, torture and trauma counselling, assistance with everyday matters, and education about Australian laws, culture, and expectations. The program also promotes integration, and has the goal of all refugees participating fully in employment, education, and their local neighbourhood. These programs are the Settlement Support Program and the Intensive Humanitarian Support Service, both funded by the department of Immigration.

2. ‘Benefits to asylum seekers include a pension greater than those who have lived and worked to support the welfare system receive, not to mention subsidised housing AND subsidised loans for Housing’.

These lies are based on a spam mail that begins “Everyone needs to be aware of this one. God bless our seniors”

And continues with lies that say that Australian residents from a refugee background receive welfare payments that range from double to 10 time that of age pensioners. This email actually began in Canada (!) in 2004, then was changed to refer to the USA and sent around there, and then the same thing happened in Australia. With the same numbers – which were wrong in the first email Immigrant facts and furphies

The facts are that refugees get exactly the same benefits, pensions and allowances as any other Australian.

3. Refugees bring criminality, and there are ‘lawless’ refugee youth running amok with knives in Adelaide.

The stabbing murder of a Sudanese youth in the CBD in November 2008 has given rise to the myth that the increase in stabbings in recent months is due to refugees from Africa.

I have paid close attention to any reports of stabbing violence since the November incident, because I am concerned that this one very public and awful event will damage the reputation of the Sudanese I know who are no more related to ‘stabbing violence’ than you or me.

None of the stabbing incidents reported in the South Australian media since Daniel’s death have been by Sudanese or any other Africans.

As far as I could tell stabbing seems to be pretty multicultural in Adelaide, with the bulk perpetrated by good old Aussies. A stab in the dark

The asylum seeker numbers are an issue that we must face, but face with facts.

“The disparity between rich and poor nations has indeed become a scandal that must no longer be allowed to disfigure the world order… Until it is redressed, the flow of immigrants from poor countries to the rich First World will continue: if they are prevented from getting in legally, they will get in illegally” – Michael Dummett.

September 20, 2009

Sex strike to stop the fighting

Filed under: African,humor,humour — Nayano @ 12:09 pm
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Hello, Sunday Fun day fans!

This week it’s Leymah Gbowee telling Stephen Colbert how she organized the women of Liberia to go on strike – to stop giving their partners sex until they stopped fighting themselves, or stood up to other men and told them to stop.

Perhaps we could have a strike until Sharman Stone starts engaging in rational arguments about asylum seeker policy?

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