Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Racism against aborigines

Here's a story of terrible racism from today's SMH, about some aboriginal women being forced to leave a backpacker resort because they were 'scaring' the other hostel residents. The women were in Alice Springs to take part in a life-saving training course.

The racism of the backpacker hostel in requiring the women to leave is rightly being condemned. What I've yet to see in any report so far is any mention of the equally racist attitude of the Asian women who made the initial complaint about being 'scared'.

In the Australian media it is generally only the racism of white people that comes in for criticism. Asians and other ethnic groups seem to get a free pass in these matters, as if racism is a whites-only problem, which it certainly isn't.


Timothy Wonil Lee said...

Good observation, Gordon. Racism is definitely not just a problem for white people. To think that would be a racist thing in itself. ;-) But seriously, I agree with you on other ethnic groups easily getting off the hook when it comes to racism.

bec said...

Yep - agreed. A very sad state of affairs that racism hasn't really gone anywhere, it's just kind of skulked into the shadows.

Mum and I were talking about this article last night and she said how when she was younger, she and my dad (who, as you know, is Chinese) would have all kinds of trouble checking in at motels when on holidays. I think in one in Nowra they were told the motel was full, and yet when one of their Aussie friends went in minutes later to enquire, she was told there were plenty of rooms (so she promptly booked rooms for all of them).

And yet when we go to Asia, mum and I have certainly experienced similar treatment because we're white women. I wonder if it would be any different if I looked more Chinese? (not that that is the point)

But yeah, I've found that some Asians can be quite brutal in their racism - just as much as every other race, sadly.

Jonathan said...

Is it really a problem if Australian media focuses more on the sins of an Australian resort, than those of a visitor, whatever their background?

I don't think I'd even be bothered by a focus on those in some sort of authority who acted on a racist complaint than on the original complainer.