Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Archive for the ‘racism’ Category

Davo on migrants, Kevin Andrews, etc.

Breath of fresh air, Davo. Well done.

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Written by Neil

October 10, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Racism and racists and The Plonker’s latest foot-in-mouth attack

I have been giving much thought to Jim Belshaw’s post Race and racism in Australia. He is quite right to say that pseudoscientific racism, the kind that was official policy in Nazi Germany and more widely accepted elsewhere in the not too distant past than we now find comfortable to admit, is probably a minority position in Australia. Jim prefers the word “prejudice”, the term “racist” having become a generic term of abuse that shuts down discussion. This is certainly worth considering. I will let Jim explain, but do read all his post:

…By global standards, we live in a remarkably open, pluralist, tolerant, polycultural society. We have transformed ourselves as a country and a people. Yet based on our own reporting of ourselves, an outsider could be forgiven for thinking that this is a place were racial bigotry runs rampant.

Mr Andrews is not known for his ability to handle things in a sensible and tactful fashion. Yet when I look at the facts, the ones who introduced and then followed up the race issue were the media and commentators more broadly. They created the problem.

There are a small number of genuine old style racists in the Australian community who do try to take advantage of this type of event. They did so in Tamworth following the controversy. As happened with Tamworth, they will fail.

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Michelle Grattan on Kevin Andrews and Africans


Has the gatekeeper turned card dealer? is fair comment in my view.

Andrews’s mishandling of the Sudanese issue, talking up their alleged problems of integration, has been very odd. The politically tempting explanation is that this was a Government effort to play the “race card”. But there’s something unconvincing about that. This election is not 2001. The “race card” would be seen as a cynical tactic; it could lose more votes in middle-class marginals than it might gain in more redneck areas.

Certainly Labor, with its “me too” policy on cutting the African slice of the refugee intake is avoiding leaving itself vulnerable to any wedge politics, although spokesman Tony Burke quickly jumped in to condemn Andrews.

It’s possible Andrews has created a political storm by stirring the race pot without having any deliberate strategy to do so. Some describe him as narrow in focus and very “technical” in his approach. That might explain his failure to couch any negatives within the wider story of these African refugees. In fact, once they get over initial settlement challenges they make very good migrants…

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I was going to leave this alone for now…

… until I saw Legal Eagle had given it a go: Playing the race card.

Last night when I was driving home, I saw a large group of boys standing on the pavement outside the Housing Commission flats. The boys were predominately of African descent. I was thinking about it when I got home. The boys had been dominating the footpath. Would I have felt nervous if I had been walking on the street and had to push past them? Yes, I would have. Was it because they were African? No, not at all. It was because they were male and blocking the footpath. Regardless of race, religion or class, as a lone woman, I would feel slightly worried about having to pass a large group of boys. I don’t think they were a gang, they were just a group of boys hanging out with nothing better to do, but that’s when boys get up to mischief. It made me think more deeply about the news of the last few days…

This is quite a judicious entry. The problem has been brought to the fore by Kevin (Po-faced Plonker) Andrews again proving a PR nightmare. See Minister’s African dossier renews racial tensions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

October 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm

That idiotic citizenship “test”

My impatience with this particular piece of gross idiocy has been made plain here often enough. So has my enjoyment of the magazine The Big Issue. Both came together yesterday as I read the new Big Issue (the annual short story number) where I spotted in the “Hearsay” column the following from writer, director, actor, teacher and former Young Australian of the Year Khoa Do.

“In the world I grew up in, a lot of people and their parents struggled to speak English,” he said. “Now they are successful in a whole range of fields. My parents are always learning and always trying. Asking whether people who don’t speak fluent English can contribute to Australia is like asking whether a blind or deaf person can contribute. Of course they can.”

I sourced that to an article by Jonathan Pearlman in the Moruya/Bateman’s Bay News. (Good to see regional papers running such stories, though it was in turn sourced to the Sydney Morning Herald.) Read the rest of this entry »

Admirable Australian, despicable Australian…

Two men, both on the political Right, but oh how different they are!

The Admirable Australian

Petro Georgiou , Liberal Party Member of Parliament, and one of the very few who deserves to wear the otherwise misleading party name. He has gone down fighting.

THE Liberal MP Petro Georgiou recalled the language difficulties of his own migrant father in an impassioned rejection of the Government’s tougher citizenship test.

Constandino Georgiou held down two jobs, raised and educated a family, but like hundreds of thousands of postwar immigrants, never spoke the English now required under the citizenship test, Mr Georgiou told Parliament yesterday.
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Winning is nice, but it isn’t everything…

Take Sydney Boys High School, for example. Today’s Sun-Herald tells the sorry story: Rugby battlers face trying times.

Sydney Boys High is losing its rugby games against elite private schools by as much as 100 points, but it won’t be dropped from the GPS competition.

GPS headmasters have pledged to keep the sole government school in the competition despite crushing them week after week.

High has been struggling to field teams for years as its academically gifted students turn to soccer or other less violent sports. Last weekend Scots first XV beat High 102-0. Yesterday High was only able to field 10 teams against King’s School, which has 34 teams. High, the oldest government school in NSW, is up against $20,000-a-year private schools where rugby is virtually a religion.
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Written by Neil

August 5, 2007 at 9:21 am