Why is Australia racist

Posted on January 25, 2012


Of course Australia is racist.

Just look at the most glaring example: the treatment of Australia’s Indigenous people, or the “White Australia Policy” or even the way in which we refer to refugees arriving by boat.

So let’s just move on and discuss why, or how in fact we are racist in that “hidden and sometimes overt” way.

Well, for one, the post-war generation holds a lot of hate for nations that were fought against during the war, and therefore we understand the root of their racism. For me, superficially, this means that old people have an excuse for being racist and are forgiven for being the sole supporters of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party in the late 90’s.

But what about the generation after the post-war generation?


The attitudes and notions that have been passed down from the post-war generation, are shameful. But can we blame the generation after the post-war generation if racist attitudes is what they were taught? Can we blame them if they have not bothered to expand their knowledge of other cultures through travel (and i don’t mean Bali), reading (and i don’t mean trashy magazines) and giving people the time of day to tell their story?

In today’s society, we work with, socialise with and may even have as family (by marriage or blood: 45% of us were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas) people from other backgrounds. Yet it doesn’t seem to matter.

In Australia, inappropriate comments about migrants/refugees and indigenous people can be found in the public arena: Be it in politics: Migrants should learn how to use deodorant” (Australian Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance – Teresa Gambaro) Or “punchy”/sensationalist media reporting.

The nick-names regarded as friendly jokes, such as Paki or curry-muncher and the stereotypes about Asians (who can’t drive), or taxpayer dollars siphoned off to layabout Aborigines (who are all alcoholics), or Refugees (who like to blow themselves up) can be read about in newspapers everyday.

And so, I pose this question:

Is it racism or is it our Australian knockabout honesty and open larrikinism?

This is not to say that the more traditional white supremacy-form of racism doesn’t exist in Australia. It does, as it does in many other countries around the world. In Australia however, this type of racism exists and spreads under the disguise of Aussie Pride.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to be proud to “be” Australian, but the over-exhibition of national iconography, such as Australian flags and Southern Cross tattoos, as well as wearing Australian flag styled bikinis and decorating your car with Australian flags is not patriotism. That type of exhibitionism is not only bogan behavior, it is also racist and there is now research to prove it.

For the most part however, when people ask where you come from, people are simply curious and interested.