We are yet to ascertain the nature of this crime

Melbourne, Australia

First a spate of attacks on South Asians, mostly fee-paying students not immigrants, sparks demonstrations.

Last week an Indian student was stabbed to death in Melbourne.

The Victorian police then shocked Indians by saying “We are yet to ascertain the nature of this crime.” Indians already believed they knew why he was stabbed to death, and so a cartoon appeared in the Mail Daily in India.

The Victorian police called this “deeply offensive”.

Then today…

Indian Man attacked and set alight in Melbourne

They probably have no idea why that attack happened either. Could have been a robbery, I guess…

I think the Victorian police need to watch Romper Stomper (great movie btw), listen to the warnings Amnesty International gave earlier last decade, and recall the Cronulla riots from 2005.

From my experience of living in Australia, racism is a strange beast there. It seemed half the country, mostly those living in the cities, were politically correct in the extreme, and strongly opposed racism. But out in the country, and among many in the cities, there was a strong racist streak that they felt completely at home with.

It’s not just in Australia, Tim, here is a graphical look at it in the US. It’s supposedly slowly on the rise, but equating the number of groups with the number of followers is quite challenging. You only have to glance at some of the threads that pop up here to see that we still face challenges of racism within our police force as well.

I do think it’s strange that KKK symbolism is what’s used in that comic as a reference, but I get the point.

You know what I’m getting tired of hearing? The fucking baby boomers and their pussy racism.

Apparently I’ve reached a sufficient number of lines on my face or my rural accent is coming back, but it seems like every time it’s me and two other white guys in their 50s or higher, out comes the racist shit. I’m only late 30s, so I was raised in the PC 80s, and I don’t go for it, not a bit.

But the thing that really gets me going is how stupid they are about it. If you want to make a racially-awkward statement about illegal immigration or modern youth culture, then I might actually discuss things like the recent study suggesting economic benefits of amnesty or the fact that young people suck. But instead I’m hearing shit like this:

“I got food poisoning because the Mexicans have to pee on the broccoli, they don’t use the porta-pottys in California.”

“I went to the casino the other day and you know what I’ve noticed?” (eyes shift around.) “Black people roll more craps than white people.”

I mean, cracker please. If you’re going to be a stupid racist, then have the balls to wear the pointy hood. Don’t shit up my ear.


From my understanding, the spate of attacks weren’t racist from a ‘we hate Indians’ point of view. Instead it was attackers knowing that foreign students are much more passive and easier to mug. BTW, attackers also tend to attack single people out late at night. Is this some form of hate crime against insomniacs as well? The other irony is that the vast majority of the offenders aren’t white.
But Tim, don’t let that stop you generalizing about how racist Australia is. Good thing that there’s an 18 year old movie, an 8 year old article critical of the last Liberal government’s policies and a reference to a three year old riot to back up your point! Hell, even the riot’s events are lame when you read about it there.

Good start.

Why not bold this part instead?

The other irony is that the vast majority of the offenders aren’t white.

Yes, that part should be bolded. And a request for a source is needed, because it’s an interesting statistic from a majority white country.

But Tim, don’t let that stop you generalizing about how racist Australia is.

I think you are being over-sensitive. I haven’t said that the attacks are racist, nor did I say they resulted from Australia being a racist country. I do think it’s ridiculous to think that there aren’t any racist gangs in Melbourne who attack people, and I think it unlikely that an Indian guy gets petrol poured on him and set on fire “at random”.

Unfortunately, and I know it’s only anecdotal, I met a lot of Australians who were unapologetically racist. Most people I meet who want to say something racist will feel obliged to moderate their speech to make it sound less racist. I met a lot of Australians who would just say things like “abbos are drunks and dole bludgers”.

I also met a lot of Australians who were the complete opposite, and would oppose racism even more bitterly than most people I’ve met elsewhere in the world.

(I love Australia, as it happens. My mother is Australian, and, would you believe it, she loves Pauline Hanson and voted One Nation… bless her.)

Australia? I’ll generalize and throw in anecdotes to boot. Every Aussie I’ve ever met was violently racist. In America there’s a somewhat ashamed low-key racism, but the Australians seem to really want to kill all the black people, the sooner the better.

But then, I don’t know many Aussies.


Can’t we all just have some KFC?

I was in Sydney last year meeting up with friends. We all went to school in the same country town. There was one guy in the group I didn’t know, and right after finding out we came from the same place he told me “The best thing about coming to Sydney? No abos!”. Delightful.

Based on my own personal experience I agree that is more of a racist streak in the country. Mind you, I do meet the occasional city person who after finding out where I come from asks me if I’ve ever met any aboriginals as though I come from another planet.

Also the majority of white people I’ve encountered, both city and country, seem to think China is the only country in Asia.

Because no one could object to his policies and accomplishments, just his skin color. You betcha!

And he did, you know, get elected by Americans in the first place.

Some of it is certainly kneejerk racism, but it’s silly to think the crazy show wouldn’t go on if it were Hillary or John Edwards.

Erm, live in Georgia much? While Kentucky certainly isn’t more refined than the state that coined “cracker,” I wouldn’t go throwing stones.


In a related note, Americans are so sensitive to the issue of racism, they start seeing it where it doesn’t exist:

KFC pulls “racist” Australian advert because of American complaints

Because fried chicken is associated with black people in America in a way that is considered a negative stereotype, some Americans feel that it must be a negative racist stereotype everywhere. Like the blackening of faces (see the Turkish TV incident) it isn’t.

KFC is offensive to people who like fried chicken.

An interesting editorial appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald about this issue. Apparently the last killing did not involve theft, so there is a definite racist angle there. The editorial pointed out that the huge increase in Indian students has pushed many of them out of student housing areas and into low-rent dangerous areas where the inhabitants are quite happy to target shy, unfamiliar newcomers.

I find Australian attitudes towards aboriginal people to be downright embarrassing at times. Trouble is, the social problems seen with aboriginal people are largely due to white Australians trying to “do the right thing” historically through the provision of welfare, without any actual understanding of how most aboriginals think and work. Most people here think the “blackfellas” are lazy bludgers, but they’re actually very smart manipulators of the white people and their welfare system. So you create a screwed up system for these people and then society blames them when it doesn’t work.

I agree, krazykrok. I’ve spent significant time teaching in aboriginal communities and can honestly say that it’s a mess. Every time Noel Pearson speaks, I respect him more.
Tim’s perspective (despite my knee-jerk reaction) holds water in many cases. My rule of thumb- the closer people live to aboriginal communities, the more racist towards them they are. Conversely, the further away that people live from asian communities, the more racist they are to asians.

This is pretty much true. Bojangles it ain’t.

How about this blackface oh wise one? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV6QzcdT_cA

Possibly. Depends a lot on the culture and the reasons they did it. Is a Sri Lankan blackening his face in Australia to impersonate a black American band racist?