>Can we fix it? Who bloody knows, sometimes…

>I’m still appalled at the way in which violence against Indian international students here in Melbourne is occurring and being reported / sensationalised. Similarly, the ways in which the incidents in Sydney have escalated and the complications of why certain other minority groups think it’s OK to target other Others.

This Melbourne Age article gives you an idea of what’s been going on, and ‘”Curry-bashing” on the rise in Melbourne’ by Eurasian Sensation (ES) from March 2009 gives a good overview of how things have simmered/exploded.

He also follows up on this initial posting with a couple of other ones recently:

The situation has become much worse in recent times, though has been a concern for months. A special police taskforce was set up more than 6 months ago to look into how to defuse the targetting of these students and the prevalent thefts/bashings against them. There is certainly a classist element mixed into the racism as well: international students are perceived as rich and dripping with snazzy mobiles and iPod gadgetry and there have been calls for these students to stop being so obvious about them (cos, y’know, only international students would have those items…). It’s really sad that this kind of ‘hints’ page needs to exist at all, though I can understand the feelings of persecution and generalised fear that have arisen recently.

I’m glad that ES wrote about the Kamahl quote, too, because all I heard was the soundbite and I was getting all high-horsey about how offensive it was to have someone advocate assimilation as a panacea. Particularly when that someone is a well-profiled and established celebrity on the Oz scene. Racially marked difference wins out every time; you could be as ‘strine and Anglo in habit and outlook as you like, but if someone’s out to target an Other, they’ll go by skin colour and ‘Third World lookingness’ (pace, Ghassan Hage) more than anything else. True/false?

UPDATE: ES just posted an update today HERE. I suspect escalation will come before any prospect of defusion. Alas.

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2 thoughts on “>Can we fix it? Who bloody knows, sometimes…

  1. sc 14/06/2009 / 10:24 am

    >had an interesting conversation @ playgroup about this (i know who would have though! I met a v. cool woman @ playgroup)…she's from NZ and said that in the past, she felt she couldn't say anything bad about John Howard, treatment of indigenous people here, racism – because the forces at work were all so insidious. Could rant more, but duty calls.God this shit makes me angryI had an interesting exp. with someone from one of these groups I forced myself to attend. She was ignorant, but not malicious, and she was good to my kid, so I decided to challenge her ridiculous views instead of culling her and moving on. I'm not sure if she can be deprogrammed after years of misinformation, but I gave her a user friendly book about it all. She seemed to appreciate it. And sometimes, don't you think that local Asians always distance themselves from international kids as if to say, "oh no. I'm not like them. Don't pick on me. I'm like you." Gawd….Oh..and on the train the other day, some stupid teenage kids thought I was a non-English speaker and much younger than I am, they were starting to hassle me a bit. Then I got a phone call, and started speaking. When they figured out that I was an English speaker, they stopped acting like assholes. I always feel I have to play a role in promoting racial harmony, but god…sometimes I just want to be an accountant. 🙂

  2. tseen 24/06/2009 / 7:36 am

    >SC – Totally agree re the 'resident' Asians looking down or with derision at newer migrants / international students. There's a bunch of stuff written about the North American scene re attitudes towards 'FoBs' ('fresh off the boaters') that is spot-on. Wish I could recall actual references right now. It's enlightening because there are shades of the attitudes that I find myself harbouring at various times. Mea culpa. I've also experienced the 'insulating' effect of being a fluent English speaker – the relaxation in attitude when the other person feels better thinking of you as on of 'them'. It's a weird feeling. I think it's depressing that, as a migrant/visible minority, one can't express criticism or dissatisfaction with some facet of one's society without the whole baggage of unAustralianism being brought into play. It's just another way for groups to feel they'll never really belong.

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