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Please consider a key difference to China
Australia as it is right now, is a culture of migration and in its present incarnation, it differs in this respect to China.|
This key issue must be considered in understanding racism here.
I think, on balance, the country of Australia has made some very good achievements with respect to soothing ethnic tension, especially considering how young it is (post colonisation) and the pace of migration. Part of this is due to economic achievement, which fortifies social stability. Melbourne is a great place to live for migrants. It is very uncommon to hear less than two languages spoken in a typical day, often many.
Inroads are being made, as strongly as ever, in addressing disadvantages posed to the indigenous. There is a long way to go. Where I am right now, in the centre of Australia, the town has a dubious claim to fame - stabbing capital of the world.
Indigenous people have adopted some pernicious cultural imports - stabbing, suicide and alcoholism.
Stabbing appears to be generally an Aboriginal affair, though stabbing was relatively uncommon in the past in Aboriginal society.
In Western society, the pattern of stabbing is different. Stabbing may imply a feeling of grievance based on disrespect and the need to exert control, such as with the "glassing" phenomenon, whereby a glass or bottle is broken on the head of the individual, with the laceration scarring the face. This seems to be a humiliative injury. The context is alcohol intoxication.
Western stabbings are often borne of robbery gone wrong, a crime of passion, intimidation, enjoyment of violence and sexual assault. Repeated stabbing to the face implies intense anger towards that particular person or psychosis.
The pattern is different with the indigenous. The pattern often is a form of cultural punishment. The location of stabbing or "spearing" is the outer thigh, for relatively minor infractions. For more severe breaches of custom or retribution for family wrongs, stabbing in the buttocks, severing the sciatic nerve, leading to permanent disability, is metered out.
For truly intolerable offences, stabbing of the femoral artery, rapidly leading to death from exsanguination.
Racism is experienced, even amongst white people, though the schoolyard is usually where it ends. As adults, certain forms die out. Certain dispositions persist.
As a young school boy in a provincial area, I sadly recall the prejudices against Germans and Japanese, based upon 20th century warfare. It was rare to personally encounter a person from either country.
As I left the province, matured into adulthood, enjoyed collegiate relationships with both, personal friendships with Germans, studied German in school as part of my admiration of German culture, and subsequently lived with Japanese, thankfully, these learnt predispositions were weakened enough to expose how truly fallacious they are. Japan and Germany are amongst Australia's strongest allies. The respect and admiration is strong.
Sadly, I think racism starts in development. As I recall, no culture was spared in the classroom or playground, and Australians with lineage in Australia were the least affected. As I was not in that group, I also experienced a form of racism. I am glad that the administration of the school I attended has been overhauled to reflect modern societal values.
I also recall Italians and Greeks and their experiences of racism here in the 20th century. Nowadays, racism of the kind that breeds civil tension against these people I believe is much less common. In my experience, both are so influential to our society that they are defining aspects of our culture.
Chinese are very welcome here. Racism does occur. Discrimination in my experience is more an issue at school. In terms of the work I do, getting the job is based on merit and overwhelmingly has a very high percentage of migrants, which, taken together with first generation non-caucasian Australians (eg your parents were Chinese), form the MAJORITY.
My expectation is that the present and very clear prominence of figures of Chinese ancestry in Australian society will grow and, just like other major influences, such as Greek and Italian, similarly strengthen the fabric of our society.
[ Last edited by lebeast at 2009-4-4 08:41 PM ]