IS AUSTRALIA RACIST?
Australia's been copping some flak in the international press for recent events that suggest racism. Check out this article by an Indian writer who offers a perspective I hadn't considered: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/dont-believe-the-media-hype-racism-is-often-a-twoway-street-20090601-bsto.html
But are the events cited in the article examples of racism, or even evidence of a systemic problem?
My relationship in life (ie living with a West Indian and our two children) puts me a little closer to experiencing racism in everyday life. My personal experience, though, with my kids and the wider world is of little racism. But my experience is too narrow and others like me (ie white people unlikely to experience racism except at second hand) and I think it's difficult for us not to view our experience or understanding of the world as evidence for or against racism.
Horace reading the newspaper ... yep, I'm struggling for a photo.
So I did the sensible thing and asked the girls whether they'd experienced much racism and what they thought of recent events.
Their view was apart from name calling and standing out in crowds racism hasn't been a large problem for them. But again we're talking anecdotally and it's not to say the cry of racism against black people (especially given the recent influx of North African immigrants) isn't already been discussed within those communities and won't be heard again in the future.
What I hope is that this represents a sort of 'settling in' period each new wave of migration seems to experience eg the post-war arrival of Greeks and Italians, and the arrival of boat people from Vietnam during the 1970s.
What I'd dearly love is for people to be better students of history and themselves ... and learn from experience that new doesn't always equate to something to be feared, and that each successive wave of migration brings something unique and valuable to the melting pot that is Australia.