Skip to content

True black and blue

08/08/2013

I’m ashamed to be Australian.

 

I’m ashamed to be Australian because we’re racist.

For over seventy years we practiced the White Australia policy, aimed at ensuring this red land and its black inhabitants stayed firmly in the hands of the white man.
Over a century ago racism was written specifically into the Australian Constitution, where it remains to this day.

When I was a child we directed our racism at migrants from southern Europe.
It was perfectly acceptable to promote derogatory stereotypes of Greeks and Italians on prime time TV.
When the Spanish/Irish-Australian Minister for Immigration, Al Grassby, abolished the White Australia policy and ushered in Australian multiculturalism he became a lightning rod for routine racist abuse from even ‘well-heeled’ Australians.

Later we shifted our attention to Asian Australians.
When our defeated South Vietnamese allies sought refuge from their Communist enemies we vilified and ostracised them.
Our current Foreign Minister, then NSW Premier, leapt at the opportunity to stereotype them as the footholds of the Triads. He never tired of talking to his favourite shock-jock about ‘Asian Crime Gangs’ in the suburbs. His racist dog-whistling brought him unprecedented electoral success, especially from the children of southern European migrants.

Now it is the Muslims we love to hate.
Especially refugees from countries we helped invade, fleeing for their lives from the enemies we helped create.
“Keep them behind barbed wire” say politicians and we approve.”Turn back the boats!” they cry, and we cheer.
Australians are terrified that persecuted people on barely seaworthy boats are going to roll up and steal their country. I wonder where they got that idea.
Our Foreign Minister has resumed his dog-whistling ways, telling us they are coming for our money and jobs although over 90% are confirmed as fleeing persecution.
We love him for it.

The ones we hate most of all are the Aborigines.
We think the First Australians have no right to be here. They should have died out a century ago.
We shot them, we poisoned them, we stole their children. We even ‘smoothed their dying pillow’ and they still won’t take the hint.
We make damned sure they don’t hang around for long though. Half of the men and a third of the women are dead by 45. White Australians can expect to live past 80.
If we spot an Aboriginal sacred site we bulldoze it, blast it or climb to the top and crap.
When the government decided to abrogate the Land Rights Act to grant mining companies access to Aboriginal Land the ABC obliged by concocting a story claiming high levels of child abuse in outback communities. It was pure bullshit, but we lapped it up. We gave the lying reporter a Walkley Award for her journalistic excellence. Then we sent in the Army to ‘save the children’ by stealing the Land.
Boong-bashing – the hatred that just keeps giving.

I’m ashamed to be Australian because we’re misogynist.

Women have always been second class Australians.
Yeah, we gave them the vote before most countries did. But that’s because voting in Australia doesn’t really matter. That’s why we made it compulsory.
Get any bunch of Australian blokes together and it won’t be long before someone makes an offensive sexist joke. Even Australian women routinely vilify each other by gender.
One of the funniest things an Australian man can do is dress up like a woman. I mean, they’re such a laugh, aren’t they?
They work longer hours than men, but we still pay them less.
If an Australian institution starts admitting more than a few token women that’s a sure sign it has become irrelevant.
We let them into politics after the corporations had captured the parties. But we sure ain’t letting them into the boardrooms any time soon.

When the first female Prime Minister starting losing her popularity we rounded on her. Not because she was an incompetent leader, though she was. Not because she sold us out to Washington and the mining companies, though she did. Not because she repeatedly told us bald-faced lies, just like all the other politicians.
Nah, we attacked her because she’s a woman.
Politicians, the media, the man (and woman) in the street, we competed with each other in our sexist slurs against her. Other female politicians joined in with gusto.
“Ditch the witch, she’s Bob Brown’s bitch” we cried with delight, “Look at her fat arse”. She’s probably a dyke, right? She’s got no kids and her ‘boyfriend’ is a hairdresser.
Our Foreign Minister’s favourite shock-jock suggested putting her in a chaff bag and dumping her at sea. Her father died of the shame of her, he informed us.
“She always plays the gender card” said a journalist noted for his racism and misogyny. Not that we’d ever do that to her.
One of our most ‘liberal’ Liberals compared her to Lady Macbeth, and found her wanting.
Like Al Grassby, Julia Gillard gave us the perfect opportunity to show off our hatred to the entire world.
So we did.

I’m ashamed to be Australian because we are sycophants.

We keep telling ourselves we are larrikins, no respecters of authority, but we’re always quick to kow-tow to power.

First it was the British Empire we crawled to.
Sending our young men to die in their wars. Suborning our economic interests to theirs.
Putting hand on heart to sing our love to their queen.
We even put their ugly flag in the corner of our own. Its not illegal to burn it, but if anyone does so we round on them with fury.

Now we suck up to the United States instead.
A lot of Australians measure patriotism by our loyalty to Washington.
A recent Prime Minister proudly declared us “America’s deputy-sheriff in the Pacific“. We re-elected him.
An even more recent Prime Minister invited them to establish a military base here so they could threaten our most important trading partner. We got rid of her, but that’s because she’s got no dick, not because she’s got no spine.
Before elevating her to PM, an ALP power broker checked with the US ambassador to make sure it was OK by him. According to Wikileaks there are at least three current members of the Australian government who regularly pass sensitive political information to the American Embassy and act on their behalf in parliament.
We jockey for seats on UN committees so we can vote the way Washington wants us to.
Our journalists tell us how important it is to sign disadvantageous trade treaties to maintain our ‘special relationship’ with the US. Firmly lodged up the American arse.

Australian’s believe we suffer from ‘tall poppy syndrome’. That we cut down anyone who gets above the rest of us. It’s bullshit.
We clamber over each other to kiss the bums of the rich and famous. Especially if they support our sporting teams. Or play in them.
When they screw the Australian worker for the benefit of multinational corporations, we whimper a bit. But we keep wagging our tails.

There are lots of Australian terms to describe sycophants.
Crawlers, grovellers, arse-lickers, suckholes.
We need them all.

I’m ashamed to be Australian because we hate the Land.

We say we love our sunburnt country, but we don’t.

We are so stupid and arrogant we even believe we can own it.
Pathetic blobs of short lived protoplasm thinking the mountains, deserts, rivers and jungles of the most ancient continent on the planet belong to them.
Idiots.

When we’ve fenced off a bit of it and called it ours we immediately set about cutting down the trees, killing the wildlife, raping the minerals from the ground, poisoning it with chemicals, damming the rivers, draining the wetlands and putting up air-conditioned multi-level McMansions where we can hide away and forget it’s out there.

We whinge when it rains, whinge when it doesn’t and scream like blue murder when the Country we’re destroying bursts into flame or covers us in dust.

I’m proud to be Australian.

 

I’m proud to be Australian because we’re multicultural.

We’re not just proud of our Indigenous culture, we’re in awe of it.
Since the second world war we have welcomed migrants and refugees from all over the world.
We’ve shared food, songs and dance with them.
We’re happy to give them jobs and we’re happy to work for them.
When they run for office we vote for them.
We’ve married them and they’ve married us.
I carry the blood of Aborigines, Irish, English, Spanish and Germans.
We love to have a beer with Duncan. And Giuseppe. And Nguyen. We love to have a beer with Ahmed too – a ginger beer that is.
We don’t just accept the Other, we are the Other.
There is no Them in Australia, just Us.

I’m proud to be Australian because we’re egalitarian.

There’s no class or caste in Australia, we look up or down to no-one.
We believe in a fair go.
Shows us what you can do and we’ll respect you for it.
Show us you’re in trouble and we’ll lend a helping hand.
If you’re an underdog under siege, we’ve got your back.

I’m proud to be Australian because we’re not wowsers.

We put common sense above prudery.
Sydney beats San Francisco as a gay capital hands down.
When the AIDS crisis hit we responded more quickly and sensibly than anywhere else in the world.
Homosexuals self-organised and got the support they needed from government and the community.
Clean needles were handed out to intravenous drug users.
New South Wales passed what are still the most intelligent and progressive sex-work laws in existence.
SWOP and the Scarlet Alliance command broad respect in this country.
What you do in your own bedroom is of no concern to us.
You might be as queer as a three bob watch, but you can still be our mate.

I’m proud to be Australian because we have no respect for authority.
Got a dozen degrees and think it makes you superior? You’re just another smart arse to us.
We know what politicians are and we’re not afraid to say it, in colourful Australian slang.
One of our Prime Ministers earned our contempt for being a politician and our respect for creatively insulting other politicians.
Scumbags and maggots the lot of ’em. A conga line of suckholes.
The police are pigs and so that’s what we call them.
Our national hero put on his armour and put the fear of God into them.
Anyone who cooperates with cops is a dog and is held in contempt.

I’m proud to be Australian because we love the ocean.
On summer Sundays we do our worshipping at the beach.
Often on weekdays too, to the discomfort of the boss.
No one can surf like Australians can. We’re born on boards.
Where there is sailing, water skiing, scuba-diving or surf swimming you will find Australians, probably showing more enthusiasm and skill than anyone else.
Our surf lifesavers are world famous for their bravery and skill.
If we’re smashed by the breakers, carried off by a rip or snacked on by a shark that’s a price we’re prepared to pay.
Nothing can keep an Australian out of the sea when the big sets are pumping.

I’m proud to be an Australian because we are young and vibrant, ancient and wise.
A country of inspirational rock art and exciting rock music.
A nation of migrants with the energy to make it happen.
To have a go, bust a gut, throw ourselves into the fray.
Yet we can draw on the wisdom of the Dreaming, of the Elders.
A culture so deep and old it makes the Pyramids seem like the sandcastles of children.
If the world would stop and listen to the First People of Australia there would still be hope.
If it could apply itself like the New People of Australia there would still be a chance.

I’m conflicted to be Australian.

 

When I’m overseas I want to come home. When I’m here I just want to leave.
I love my countrymen and women yet their behaviour often makes me sick.
When I look in a mirror I don’t know whether to smile or spit.
I’m bound to this Land by blood, sweat and tears, whether I like it or not.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Advertisements
9 Comments
  1. A wonderful mature post Like always !
    It is bad to hear you people are racist ! I can’t get the idea why you people Hate Muslims….
    And I am astonished to read that women have less rights then men there… I always heard women are equal at each level to men in western countries…. Though I don’t agree this concept to be true, This men and women equal thing but I never heard this before !
    Love the fact that you are multi-cultural may be that is the reason you understand our cultures and things too ?
    Nice reading all good about your country 🙂
    The confliction thing happens to everyone…..To me too many times I guess it is the part of Who we are !

    Like

    • The Muslim-hating thing is relatively recent.

      When Australia was first being explored and settled by non-Aborigines much of the opening up was done by Muslim camel drivers from the sub-continent. They settled here and were pretty much accepted – especially by Aborigines, who intermarried with them. Several Aboriginal tribes now have Afghani and Indian bloodlines (there was no such thing as Pakistan) and have incorporated some Islamic practices.

      During WWI we went to war with Turkey and there was a brief surge of anti-Islamic sentiment – especially when a Muslim descendant of a camel driver fired shots at a civilian train – but after the war Australia and Turkey became very close. The leader of the soldiers that beat the hell out of Australian troops at Gallipoli – Kemal Ataturk – founded modern Turkey and was very respectful of Australia’s war dead. He is deeply respected in this country.

      But after 9/11 Australia was flooded with anti-Islamic propaganda from the US. We sent soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan (they’re still there) and some Australians see all Muslims as the enemies of our troops. Then in 2002 Jemaah Islamiyah bombed a nightclub in Bali killing 202 people – including 88 Australians. Casualties included football players and lifesavers – highly respected people in Australia. Many Australians saw it as a declaration of war between Islam and Australia and the right-wing media went into anti-Islam overdrive.

      There have been firebomb attacks on mosques in Sydney and Brisbane and an anti-Islamic riot on Cronulla beach. Politicians have begun fighting for the anti-Islamic vote and both major parties compete with each other as to who can be nastiest to refugees. They even try to pretend that Muslim terrorists are trying to sneak into the country on refugee boats.

      When the ‘war on terror’ ends – if it ever does – it will probably only take a decade or two for Australians to forget they ever hated Muslims (except for the minority in every country who hates anyone not like them), but in the meantime things are not good for Muslims here. Probably no worse than they are in Britain or the US though.

      Like

  2. It was nice…and bad too reading all about the Muslims living in your country……
    I hope this so called war on terror stops soon !!

    Like

  3. The fact I like the most out of all those you mentioned in that of Egalitarianism… And that’s why I love the western working culture. This culture is missing from India especially at the grassroots level. And we have to incorporate it…

    I am shocked about the equality of women thing… I always thought that women are regarded equal in the western world… (I am ashamed at the recent upsurge in the rates of crime against women in India. Actually I am shocked at the level of barbaric nature of crimes… But anyways, that’s a digression from the topic). I just hope that things are not as worse as in India… Are they?

    Another point which come to mind after reading the post is… A few years there was a lot of hue and cry in India about crime against Indian Students in Australia… Is that a consequence of the racism issue that you raised… or is there something specific against Indians too?

    Like

    • The thing about the Indian students is complex.

      Indians have traditionally suffered little from racism in Australia. They get abused and patronised by some people but not usually bashed and they are respected as intelligent hard workers (and good cricketers ;)).

      Since 9/11 they have suffered a bit from Australians who just assume anyone from the subcontinent is a Muslim. Some Australians don’t know what a Sikh is and think turban = Muslim. But this has been a minor factor I think.

      The main issue, IMO, has been the way Australia has commercialised its foreign student program in recent years.

      Some Australians think that the many Chinese and Indian students they see means that Australians are losing university positions. In fact we make foreign students pay through the nose so they are actually subsidising positions for Australians. But when an Australian racist sees a university bus with more yellow and brown faces than white he leaps to the sort of conclusions racists usually leap to.

      Perhaps the biggest reason has nothing to do with racism at all.

      Because Indians have to pay so much to be educated here, the cost of living is so high compared to India and employers are usually happy to give Indians a job, there have been a lot of them working night shifts in dangerous places and coming home late with money in their pockets. Being foreign they often have little instinct as to what places are not safe to hang around.
      So …

      There is an excellent radio documentary called Doosra made by Indian ex-pat and former student Roanna Gonsalves that looks into this issue and the broader one of being a non-white foreigner in Australia. I really can’t recommend it enough, it is one of the best things I’ve heard on radio for many years. I urge you to either download the audio or read the transcript and point it out to anyone you know who is thinking of coming to Australia. It’s truly brilliant.

      I will try to answer the question you and White Pearl have asked about sexism in Australia tonight.

      Like

  4. I’ve been thinking a bit and I find it pretty hard to explain why it is both true that Western women have won a lot of important rights over the last century or so, yet in many ways there has been no substantial progress towards gender equality in a more fundamental sense.

    Really it’s down to attitudes rather than laws, but even attitudes towards women have probably improved alongside the female emancipation/women’s liberation/feminist struggles.

    But there has also been a substantial backlash.

    Men who would have been comfortable to patronisingly ‘worship’ the disempowered women of my grandmother’s generation now feel very threatened by women who compete with them in the workforce and no longer surrender their autonomy to their husbands or fathers. These men respond with the sort of hatred that coalesced around Julia Gillard in the final months of her Prime Ministership.

    Unfortunately freedom is a threatening thing to many and women too can react viciously against those who seem to symbolise those freedoms. Other women cynically exploit this tendency to gain the upper hand against their ‘sisters’ in the struggle for jobs and power. It seems to me that the main enforcers of the patriarchal oppression of women have always been other women.

    I’m not sure what it is about Australian culture that makes our men seem more misogynistic than their counterparts in Britain and New Zealand – maybe it’s just that I can see it more clearly. I can certainly see it in myself and it’s something I continue to struggle against.

    Arindam might be interested to hear that the most ‘liberated’ women I have met (from my perspective at least) have been Travancore women who are either Hindu kshatriyas or ‘high caste’ Christians or Muslims. They just assume they are the equal of men and expect to be treated accordingly. Many Western feminists are extremely defensive and that seems to provoke a corresponding reaction from men.

    Like

  5. um since you wrote about Australia and why you like it and why you dont like it, I wanted to know how would you rate Australians on the scale of competitive spirit. I mean Australian hockey, cricket, football teams are absolutely fantastic. so is their rugby team. also their tennis star was good too. so are you people naturally competitive?

    also how popular these sports are in Australia? do parents encourage their kids to become professional in sports?

    and last too much generalization. some sort of every kind is always there is every country that has large population.; and if you are against muslims or asians or 3rd world countries than you have no idea how much Pakistanis hate developed countries specially USA. they hate them and still they migrate there. also muslims hate muslims. so i guess hate and being biased and having stereotypes is necessary for brain, you know the gossip section of brain. Otherwise realists and people who know every thing go insane and have nothing to bitch about in life

    Like

    • You’re right about the generalisation of course.
      You can say almost anything about any country and be at least partly right.
      You’ll notice many of the things I like about Australia directly contradict the things I don’t like.
      It’s really a personal reflection rather than an attempt at objective judgement.

      Regarding sports, parents usually don’t have to encourage their kids. Between the media and the culture they go sports mad by themselves (I was a pretty rare exception at school, most sports – especially team sports – have always bored me stiff. Probably my Asperger’s Syndrome.).

      But lots of parents still push their kids like crazy if they show the slightest talent in any sport. With me it was my Dad pushing me to win swimming races all the time even though I didn’t really give a damn who got to the end of a pool first. I loved swimming but didn’t care about winning.

      Competitive spirit in Australia waxes and wanes with the success of our international teams.
      A decade ago everyone was cricket mad because we always won but now interest is at a pretty low ebb because we keep losing.
      Australians tend to be good at sports but bad sports.

      Like

      • hahahaha last line 😀
        and well they are still the best hockey team :p and yeah i got what i wanted to know. parents do push their kids

        Like

Over to you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: