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Racism in Australia

Cultural Insights on Life in Australia

Before I get to the meaty part I’d like to say a quick gidday to all my lovely Aussie readers. Please don’t take these notes about my perceptions on Australian culture and racism in Australia personally. Just think of me a whinging Pom and a backwards Kiwi reporting on cultural differences that I’ve noticed during the six months I’ve been living here in Australia.

I just want to give people who may be thinking of moving to, or visiting the lucky country a balanced view of what it’s like here, because some of them think life in Australia is all beach time, hunky lifesavers and sunny days. Then they get here and they don’t like it.

Is Australia a Racist Country?

Now for the juicy stuff, the cultural insights which I fear may incite the rage of my new, friendly and often funny Australian hosts. A month or two ago there was a big furore in Australia when the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said “adios” to the news that Sol Trujillo, a Mexican, and a bigwig in a major Australian telecommunications company, had been fired. You could call Rudd racist. Or you could call Trujillo humourless and a bad loser, because he then launched into a diatribe about how racist Australia is, and claimed that living here is “like stepping back in time.”

Some Australians were upset, even shocked, at being accused of racism, but none-the-less, the fact that Aboriginal people have a statistically lower life expectancy and literacy rate just looks bad. Of course, statistics can lie, but somehow the fact that there are loads of Aboriginals living here would have passed me by if I didn’t read about them suffering from alcoholism, child abuse and poor health care in the Australian newspapers. But then again, I live in Noosa, Queensland, a mostly middle-class enclave populated by lucky white folk, and there seem to be a few pre-conceptions about Noosa residents too, namely that we are all rich, stuck up ex-hippies. But I digress.

Racist Pre-conceptions About Australians

I’m sure that all Aussies aren’t racist any more than all Kiwis are sheep shaggers, or all Brits are football hooligans, and many of them may be racist sheep shaggers or hooligans too. However, I should mention that when I moved to Australia one British friend asked how I was liking it here in “the new land of apartheid.” Ouch.

I think I’ve been quite controversial enough now in my bid to expose a little bit about Australian culture, so rather than irritate my generous hosts any more, and risk being deported to the chilly shores I’ve escaped from, I’ll end here. I think I’ll save my thoughts on Queensland anti-hooning measures and street brawling until next time.

Thanks for having me Australia, I love you really, especially the hunky lifesavers, great beaches, sunny days and amazing Aboriginal culture.

Thanks for reading, please add your comments below and don’t forget to subscribe by email now if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out.

Good luck with all your plans!

Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley July 1, 2009 at 9:36 am

Having visited Australia many times, I find it both racist and sexist in attitudes, tho I trust the next generations are making conscious changes.

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Desertgirl July 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I speak as an Australian (grumpy old woman) who has lived overseas in Oman & the UK before coming back home to Oz in late 2000.

Interesting that Shelley comments that we’re a sexist nation. I’ve don’t find it thus ALTHOUGH I wonder if it’s a cultural (mis-)perception. We’re a very laid back lot who do like to laugh and take the mickey out of anything and everything, race and sex included. I am aware from my own international friends that this can be seen the wrong way. All comes down to communication and barriers.

As for racism, that’s a very complex issue. Technically I’d have to say yes, we’re a racist country. BUT we’re also a very friendly, integrated multi-cultural nation, with a long history of accepting migrants and their cultures (especially their food! I recall days when my mother serving pasta was considered very, very “ethnic”).

The aboriginal question is incredibly complex. I would highly encourage any visitors & urban Australians to do that visit to Alice Springs one day and see just one aspect of Indigenous life in this country. If there’s one message I’d like to get out to the “white” community (Australians included) & international visitiors, it’s that our Indigenous people are NOT a single people, they are a proud, MANY PEOPLES. They need to be respected as the many tribes they are before we see true progress in improved health and reconciliation. And the Aboriginal people in Central Australia live a very different life (& speak a different languages) to those Indigenous communities residing in southern or eastern or western States.

Overall, I’d have to say this country of mine is accepting and friendly. Smile and enjoy.

Cheers,
DG

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Sam August 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Alice springs is the highlight for the racists, always choosing the most disfunctional communitys to prove their racist point, most Aboriginal people live in urban areas, Aboriginal populations were distributed through areas of abundance including the sunshine coast, Sydney has the highest population of Aborignal people in the nation, the racists think Aborignals are in the desert only, the Aborignal population of queensland and NSW is more then the rest of the states combined, we have an education problem in Australia and it becomes worse the older they are, still hear 20-30 year old bigoted racial profiling spoken like its fact, Aborignal people drink alcohol less per capita but you wont be told about that, Alice springs is the legacy of white Australia, it resembles nothing of Aborignal culture, Aboriginals had no contact with (down south) any other race so Aborignals have no concept of racism so its not a human trait just a handy excuse for the racists, Im sick of white aussies preching assimilation when they did not assimilate themselfs, they whinge about foreign languages while forcing a foreign language on a ancient culture, they are hypocrites, as an Aborignial I have no faith in white Australia growing up and encourage all peoples from all over the world to ignore the hypocritical aussies, dont assimilate and keep your culture strong, who wants to be like genocide deniers, the white Australia policy is still unofficialy practiced and going strong, the whole basis of this illegal occupation was they didnt recognise our law, so if you dont recognise Australian law this country is up for the taking, im only using white aussie logic, this backward nation has monuments to murdrers responsable for countless massacres in every city and town, lets be honest, racism isnt normal, racism was introduced here by the brittish, its a learned behaviour not a human trait, everything white Australia is asking of new imigrants is hypocritical as they did none of what they ask, people knownly do the wrong thing thats why we build more and more prisons, its not an education issues but rather a disgusting people issues, and I say wipe them of the face of the earth, they contribute nothing to the human race, bludger whinging waste of space….. PS thanks for attacking this onging issue although I dont think the old fuddy duddys are ready

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Tim May 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Sam you sound like a typical whinging product of the aboriginal industry.ATSIC was “GIVEN”over a billion a year and due to being run by two convicted(black) rapists wanted more cash.I remember Mal Brough(part aboriginal)when touring NT asked an Aboriginal man to clean up his government housing his reply was are you going to pay me to do it. I agree Australia is getting more racist,blacks alone get many benefits and Government policy for Universty and the like.The policy of if you feel black you are black even when blue eyed and fair skinned is crazy.I agree that dark skinned people should be offended by this and they are being rorted out of grants by people of Srilankian South sea island and the like races.There was a case were a Srilankian man named Appo passed himself of as aboriginal and was instructing mining companies on sacred sights and their treatment.Sam your people are lucky the Brits got here first because if the Dutch or French had I doubt you would even be thought of and there would not be any current Aboriginal Industry

Annabel Candy May 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Thank you Sam for sharing your thoughts.

Steve August 5, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Sam. I am a strong believer in equality. Each and every Australian, irrespective of skin colour or ethnicity, must have exactly the same rights and privileges as the Australian standing beside him or her. No one should be treated differently. Either we are all Australians, or we are not.
When I see an Aboriginal Australian, I see a man or a woman who is no different from me. I give him or her as much or as little respect as her or she deserves. If a new Australian of oh say Indian or Asian descent can man the 7/11 stores at 0400hrs in the morning, so can an Australian of Aboriginal descent. If you think they don’t face racism or discrimination, you’re mistaken but they’re out there despite the odds and the hardship, learning to speak English (you have an advantage here), getting an education and earning their keep.
Tell other aboriginals never to ask for money that the rest of the community does not get. Advocate for the closure of Aboriginal only residences. No aboriginal only land titles. Buy your own houses. Show the rest of the world and all of Australia that Aboriginals can and will earn their own keep and can stand on their own feet without hand outs. Be proud, not proud with a hand out.
We are all Australians EQUALLY.

Nancy July 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Annabel, your meaty subjects are the best! You’re my sister in cross-cultural immersion and champion of the underdog. There is so much more to learn when we look beyond the generalities. There truly is no such thing as “they.” It all comes down to individuals. So even categorizing “Australians” as racist could be kind of a lump-sum statement in itself, couldn’t it? We all generalize and stereotype at times, no matter how conscious we are. But thanks for being so balanced in your perspective, and attempting to raise the bar a bit.

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Laurence July 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Interesting listening to the views of new people to our shores. I am sure the perception of Australians is about 75% media beat-up just like our perception of many overseas countries, i.e. loud obnoxious Americans, whinging Poms, sexist women denigrating middle east, all asians know karate. I could go on and on.
When I was growing up I found it very interesting visiting my italian and greek mates and their parents and their perceptions of Australians.
Their parnets left their own country to bring their children up in what they considered a better place and they love it here! Their children on the other hand kept on saying how wonderful their home country was even though many of them were born in Australia and had never been there and lived through the hardships that their parents had, nor could they even begin to understand why their parents made the heart wrenching decision to leave everything they knew so their children could have more opportunities than they did, yet a lot of my mates still rattled on about the home country much to the dismay of their parents.
The real funny thing is the more things change the more they stay the same.
That was 30 years ago and when I talk to my 17 year old sons mates and parents it is still the same just from different countries now than when I was a teenager.
I guess the perceptions of Australians is much like the statistics the media throw around, they just make stuff sound the way it needs to at the moment of the writing.
As for me I find the majority of people who call themselves Australian I have met on my travels are very easy going and laid back and the only time they make reference to other people in derogatory terms, whether it be race, religion or politics is when someone is trying to force their ideals onto others. That is a guaranteed way of getting an Aussie fired up everytime.
Great article Annabel ‘keep em comin’ :)
DG’s comments are very good and fairly close to the mark, as I work in remote aboriginal communities with many different clans I could make some fairly strong comments but I won’t as at this time it serves no purpose, maybe another time :)

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Teresa July 1, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Oh I learn a little more every time I visit your blog :)
Keep up the great work!

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fish.01 July 3, 2009 at 9:51 am

Hi. I am an Australian. I think the view of Australia portrayed in the mass media in the UK is often a caricature.

Some British migrants bring this caricature with them and judge everything from that starting point.

I think Australia is racist, but I don’t have any evidence that it is more racist than any other country. And surely it is that relativity between countries that we are talking about when we say “racist country” as all countries are racist to a degree.

For example, when I lived in the UK I witnessed the relations between different races and heard the comments from the white British (some British people didn’t mind saying it in front of me because I’m white). From what I saw I could easily infer that Britain is a racist country. Obviously the UK has also had huge problems with nationalism and the Northern Irish which thankfully are getting better but in parts of the UK it is still an alarming issue. The BNP have just won European seats.

But given all of that I still have no evidence that the UK is more racist than anywhere else. Each country has different issues to deal with.

I think if laws are in place to discriminate then a country can be proven to be racist. But Australia doesn’t have that like it did in the past – in fact the governments have spent decades and zillions trying to solve these issues. But I don’t think failure in Aboriginal health and welfare is evidence that Australia is more racist than anywhere else.

The UK does not have a nomadic tribal people with a totally different culture settled over vast distances in remote towns and missions (from past racism). If they did and they had produced far better outcomes than I would agree.

The UK struggles with the people from central Asian who are not that different in culture to themselves (when considering the gulf between Europeans and Aboriginals) – so why do they think they would do a great job if they had British Aboriginals?

I think “some” new migrants from Britain (for example) who often just assume that they would do it better are instead portraying their own inherit bias – which is ironic given that it is “bias” that they are accusing others of.

Whilst the UK has a core of PC people who believe they are not racist, so does Australia. While the UK has a group of people who are openly racist, so does Australia. And both countries have everything in between.

Australians have been debating Aboriginal issues for decades. Many things have been tried, some have worked a lot have failed. There are still no clear answers on how to improve things. I agree with another comment here that Aboriginals are not all the same. Like any other group of people they have disparate lives, wishes and beliefs.

Any migrant to Australia who brings passion, ideas and good faith to the Aboriginal cause are more than welcome. The migrants who just use the issue to give themselves a feeling of superiority over Australians are probably not the type who are going to help Aboriginals anyway, (Not accusing any here of that)

Not all media in the UK takes the simplistic view. The BBC world service has just broadcast a series on “New Australians”. I have not listened to it yet but they have selected a disparate group of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and India and asked their opinions on being a new immigrant in Australia (issues/racism etc). It is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/090624_outlook_newaustralians.shtml

While this may sound like a bit of a Brit bash it is not meant that way. The same comments could be made in reverse and between other countries – it is just the way of the world – all struggling to understand each other. Thanks Annabel for your great blog – I have enjoyed reading it over the last few months and keep learning about Aboriginal issues – the more people who care the better.

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Annabel Candy July 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Thanks so much for your excellent, thoughtful and informative comments. It’s brilliant that you took the time to share them with us. I’ll follow that link and check it out. I have to agree with all you say and you are quite welcome to have a Brit bash if you fell like it! Thanks again.

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gcmouli July 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Not meaning to add controversy to your meaty subject, you should not ignore the recent racist attacks on Indian students in Australian soil. I think some government officials (finally!) admitted that, there could be racial causes.

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Annabel Candy July 3, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Thanks for commenting again! This is getting interesting. I wonder what they do consider themselves to be? I think when it comes down to it this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. It’s unfortunate and embarrassing that it’s taking place in Australia, but these kind of racist attacks do take place all over the world. Indeed, what’s going on in with Indian students being beaten up here is nothing when compared to the Israeli’s treatment of Palestinians or Lao’s attitude to the Hmong hill tribes. There are too many other terrible examples to mention here.

What is true is that people who do bad things do give others a bad name, like my example of the British football hooligans. So all Brits are tarred with the same brush, just as all Australians have been. I suppose that’s why all the normal, well-balanced folk in the world have a duty to try to make things change and stamp racism out. It won’t happen overnight, but, if all kids can be educated about cultural differences and be taught to appreciate and enjoy them then surely it will all come to an end one day.

Incidentally, I have noticed that my children have been learning about Aboriginal culture at school and in childcare so certainly it seems as if the Australian education system is making steps to stamp out racism and create a tolerant, multi-cultural society. Bring it on! I’m excited to be a part of that.

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Sharon (thesunlitdesk) July 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

Hi Annabel
I’m Australian, but I’ve also lived in New Zealand and spent some time in the US. Is Australia a racist country? No more than any other place I’ve been. Is racism a problem in Australia. Of course, as with any multicultural nation. I’m shocked by the attitudes and deliberate typecasting by non-Australians, especially those who have either only visited or never even been here and whose own countries have committed past atrocities against native people. Spend two weeks in a nation and you’re an expert. It’s a bit of a double standard to sit in judgement and call an entire nation prejudice.
In fact, most of Australians are proud of their multicultural status. More importantly most Australians would be the first to agree that conditions for Aboriginal Australians in rural areas are appalling. It’s true that Aboriginal people have the poorest health statistics of any indigenous people and it’s not something that any of us is proud of. That’s why we support government and charity organisations. That’s why we celebrate reconciliation day, why we demanded it along side Aboriginal people, why Kevin Rudd (a so-called racist) was the first prime minister to acknowledge the atrocities of past government actions. To those international poo-poers I say look to your own backyard before you disperse criticism and mind that you don’t come off sounding ignorant yourself.
Thanks Annabel for raising this issue. Anti-racism is a personal crusade for me, but what I hate more is ignorance and typecasting in general.

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Sam August 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Its not in the governments intrest to “fix” the Aborignal problem, in a capitalist society there needs to be people in poverty so the rich can have a bigger share, 4 years of the Aborignal budget would pay compensation but then we would have an unemployment crisis, imagine all the government workers who would be out of a job if their was a tiny improvement, it would sky rocket to 10% unemployment in this nation, thats the REAL Aborignal industry, why would you consult the people your policys are targeting, oh, thats right, it may work and show (I cant believe im saying this in 2012) the government doesnt know whats best for the usless blacks, Im over it and cant stand the moving of the goal posts everytime my people gain some understanding, so im all out of caring how it may effect others, im just going to get my own justice and satisfation, Im going to give an open invitation to all my people across the nation to train and practice on my property (unofficial shooting range) and we can make our own army to protect ourselfs as most aussies are devoid of a heart and soul, all talk and no action seems to be the aussie mission statement, aussies are playing a dangerous game that will put inocent people at risk, the evil should stand and be counted or take responsablity for the innocent victims due to the unrelenting racism and bigotry

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Annabel Candy July 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I’m so lucky – what a wonderful bunch of intelligent, thoughtful and well-informed readers I have. Thanks for adding another great comment.

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Phillip Charlier August 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Growing up in an immigrant family in Australia, I felt Australia was racist. Living as an Australian in Asia, I’ve changed my view completely. Yes, there is some racism, but less than the norm in other countries. Here in a mainly Chinese country (Taiwan), in Japan and other countries in Asia, I am a hairy barbarian, a steep-nose, a foreign devil, a red haired demon and other names which are considered normal ‘traditional names’ with no offense intended.

Good friends have good-naturedly assured me that westerners are closer to apes because we are hairier and many venues in Japan have ‘no foreigners’ signs at the entrance. Try getting away with any of that kind of behaviour in Australia!

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Annabel Candy August 6, 2009 at 9:11 am

So you’ve experienced racism from both sides. I’ve traveled heaps and heard all kinds of ridiculous stories about Westerners too. The sad part is the ignorance of it all and that’s frustrating when you live with it on a daily basis, but I have to admit I find the names foreign devil and steep-nose are hilarious. Thanks so much for adding this to the discussion.

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Randall November 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I am american. In my country we are viewed as a rascist country. When I travel I see that we are less racist than most! Not to build up my country, I make my comments to say that we all could look at life and relationships through a different lens. In Singapore there is institutional rascism. It is a great country but it has a long way to go. We all could learn a lesson from this article. I believe the explosion of information could do more to end do more to end tired belief systems and really change the world. Thank God for the internet and social media!

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Joe C. November 17, 2009 at 4:14 am

Hi – I don’t comment on many blogs but had to on yours. It’s very well-done! I really like how you write – very to the point, unlike a lot of other blogs. Thanks for having this site. I don’t have time to read all the articles right now, I found this site when looking for something else on about.com, but I’ve bookmarked your homepage and will check back soon to see the latest updates. I really appreciate you having this site. As someone who has fought an addiction myself, I have started a site devoted to resources about it. Please check out my site when you have a few minutes. Keep up the great work!

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Bruce Tritton December 2, 2009 at 11:06 am

I find it amazing how many ‘Poms’ criticize Australia as racist. Perhaps it is time for a reality check.

England built the largest empire the world has ever or will ever see. How? By butchering the natives, taking their lands and enslaving them. And they call us racist?

I lived in England for 12 months and one thing stood out and that is that they hate everyone. This is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

When a group of people bring their culture to our country along with their belief systems, expect us to change to suit their culture, gang rape our women, whine and complain about racism even though they would never leave this country of course it creates ill will. The simple fact is that much of the racism in Australia is bought here with immigration.

And somehow it is white people’s fault that ‘some’ Aboriginal communities suffer alcoholism, child abuse? They do not suffer poor health care. That is what the media tells us. They have completely free medical care and many choose not to use it.

I have worked with ‘real’ aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and they are wonderful. They have their own communities where alcohol is banned and child abuse is never an issue.

Randall is correct. Australia is one of the least racist countries on earth.

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Robert February 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I left Australia because there is too much discrimination and racism. I feel sorry for the people who has to live over there against their will. No job, No money, no future, No house only hardship

Good luck with your land

Robert

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Australian Sites March 14, 2010 at 12:37 am

Firstly – wonderful blog (I have subscribed – and I hope you don’t mind I’ll be adding your site to my directory)

Secondly – A wonderful, thought provoking post !

It saddens me the negative image Australia is getting overseas for being racist.

I do believe a large number of Australians are racist to a certain degree but the same can be said for just about every developed country in the world.
Be it a case of one country having a hatred or rivalry with its neighbour, out right persecution of a particular race or simply a nations belief that it is superior to others, racism is seen in varying degrees throughout the world and mostly the cause is fear and ignorance.

Every nation has work to do when it comes to all “isms” not just racism and not just Australia.

Australia became my home 27 years ago and I instantly fell in love this the place. The biggest challenge to me though was the Australian language. No I did not have to learn English, I came from England … but Australian English was the cause of much confusion (and frustration) for a long time :)

Thanks for a great post

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MUAFOR November 22, 2011 at 12:13 am

WTF!!
I HATE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY ARE RACIST

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Rachel December 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I can only speak from my own personal experience. I immigrated to Australia with my parents when I was 9, and have lived there until I was 21. I am of Chinese descent. Since I arrived, feelings of inferiority and unworth crept up on me, to a large extent due to racial abuse and general aggressiveness. I had a huge rock thrown at my head when I was only 9, from older school boys who muttered ‘chinese’ derogatorily as they did it, laughing away. I was also victim of random verbal attacks, and sometimes physical intimidation by strangers. And believe me there is no way of misunderstanding these due to cultural differences nor could I attribute them to Australians just being aussies and having a laugh. I have lived in the diverse inner west of Sydney and the vibrant but anglo-dominated Eastern suburbs, but was still subject to hateful and contempuous attitudes. On the other hand, a lot of Australians I’ve come across are very warm and personable. People seem to be of extremes. I moved to the UK and during the past 5 years I received not a single physical or verbal attack, save for some minor staring at times. I have never felt safer since leaving China.

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samuel welsh December 10, 2011 at 3:45 am

hold your ground there ,get the cops on those idots enjoy chinese and aussie culture
racists have no voice they need serious councling and punishment,
you are a citizen you can get those fools sorted , they have no support .

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Lara July 28, 2012 at 12:13 am

Oh I completely agree! I was born in Australia and have brown skin.
There is a level of accepted racism that is in Australian culture that cannot be changed – like you might go past someone calling you a “rag-head” or “chink” and you’re supposed to shake it off and not make a big deal. I think the racism is so ingrained that it’s hard for future generations to think differently. I have been told to “shut my curry mouth” by a co-worker in the Department of Health and Ageing.

Of course, the most popular “go back to where you came from”. Unfortunately, I don’t know where else to go, but I am determined, like you to move to another country – perhaps one with less racial undertones. I don’t know where you can go to escape racism though.

Annabel Candy July 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

Very sorry to hear that Lara.

Steve August 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Lara. An Aussie of Chinese descent was told to “go back to where you came from” by a client and he said “Springvale?”. Lol

Rachel December 9, 2011 at 12:00 am

I can only speak from my own personal experience. I immigrated to Australia with my parents when I was 9, and have lived there until I was 21. I am of Chinese descent. Since I arrived, feelings of inferiority and unworth crept up on me, to a large extent due to racial abuse and general aggressiveness. I had a huge rock thrown at my head when I was only 9, from older school boys who muttered ‘chinese’ derogatorily as they did it, laughing away. I was also victim of random verbal attacks, and sometimes physical intimidation by strangers. And believe me there is no way of misunderstanding these due to cultural differences nor could I attribute them to Australians just being aussies and having a laugh. I have lived in the diverse inner west of Sydney and the vibrant but anglo-dominated Eastern suburbs, but was still subject to hateful and contempuous attitudes. On the other hand, a lot of Australians I’ve come across are very warm and personable. People seem to be of extremes. I moved to the UK and during the past 5 years I received not a single physical or verbal attack, save for some minor staring at times. I have never felt safer since leaving China.

Also I think if you are not one of the ethnic minoririties then you don’t have personal experience of obvious as well as subtle racial abuse..you don’t have much evidence to speak from.

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anonymous April 6, 2015 at 11:15 pm

I am sorry to hear that you had such a racial experience in Australia in your young age. I was almost crying reading your text coz i had same experiences in Australia as immigrant. Now i am really worry about my two daughters coz they will face same experience soon. Skin color will not be changed. I wish people have same skin colour and language so they don’t discriminate by race.
I am bit worrying that i have now depression symptom due by racism and discrimination.

Rachel, i have been Europe some countries as UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Eastern Europe…Europe is far better place to live considering economy, culture and anti racism. Try staying in Europe and Do not come back to Australia. You know what People does Not change especially Isolated Bloody Aussie.

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Anne March 11, 2012 at 5:33 am

Australia is not a racist country and it is a real shame that we continue to be viewed through a prism of racism overseas. I have lived in the US, UK and Australia, and I really believe that Australia is a very egalitarian society where people have immense opportunities regardless of gender or race. We have an integrated society, the highest rate of mixed-marriage in the world, the second highest rate of people born overseas (after Switzerland) and class divides do not exist by race. In Britain and the US, non-whites are poor and exist in their own enclaves whereas in Australia, non-whites are often doing better than whites and there is a noticeable difference in the level of integration of people (my boyfriend is of Asian decent, as are many of my friends and their boyfriends/girlfriends). Australia is the only country in the world where the children of migrants outperform locally-born children in school. I think Australians are extremely privileged and live in the best society in the world. Where is better? The Scandinavian countries seem to have created a fair and just society, but with their backward economics and socialism, they are an accident waiting to happen. Australia has managed to become a fair and equitable society without resorting to intrusive and overbearing government control.

Aboriginal people need some tough love. They need to start looking after themselves and integrating themselves into mainstream society, like all the other races in Australia have done. In the modern world, they cannot live in remote, isolated areas and expect the same opportunities in work and health as these do not exist in remote Australia. Migrate to the cities, get an education, get a job, get off the alcohol and stop raping your children. If people of Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and African descent can do it, then so can the Aborigines. They need to take advantage of the opportunities they have in Australia.

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Steve August 5, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Anne. Agree. Tony Abbott was actually right when he said that Aboriginals who chose to live in remote communities were actually making a lifestyle choice. Unfortunately, he was pilloried by the pc press.

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Cedar Wilde November 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I have lived here in Australia for 30 years and have had to listen to anti-English abuse almost every day. Before you ask why I didn’t leave consider how easy it is to leave when it means giving up your children or not having enough money to look after them properly when your spouse is happy to live in the “lucky” country. Luckier if Aussies didn’t lie to themselves about how wonderful they consider themselves to be. (In Australia we don’t have racism, sexism, or paedophilia, and we have a culture of “mateship” unlike other countries!) What rot, if people didn’t have good mates in other countries they wouldn’t survive because we are ALL naturally caring, it’s only when we get brain-washed into believing garbage about other people that we start to destroy our world. How often do we see racism being used in advertising. They don’t care who they destroy as long as the money keeps rolling in from the inadequates. Channel 9 who record their “Hot Seat” leave the racism in though if it was anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim or anti-black they would not get away with it (quite rightly too, but they shouldn’t get away with it when it’s anti-English or any other nationality either.)

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bella January 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm

No matter how white I act and how many australian things I try to do to fit in.It doesn’t matter how long I have lived here or that the fact my folks adn siblings are all white. I am always harrassed and bullied for the tone of my skin more so on Australia Day. There is a storng while male blokeyness of spitting and swearing and expectation that you wear feminine attire.There is this whole partriotic licence to stare and comment on your existence in the world.And everytime something in the world goes wrong there is an assmption that you must be like that too so lets get in ahead and austracise you as much as feel entitled to. The harrasment,the bullying the assumption that you should owe austrlia something. It makes me not want to leave my home to avoid the name calling and staring adn ignorance that ‘we are taking over’.

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Annabel Candy January 26, 2013 at 8:48 am

I just wanted to jump in again and let you know that I’m reading all these comments. I feel so sad about the suffering and rejections people are suffering here in Australia but happy that you are all sharing your stories here.

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shorty February 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I am a true blue Australian and called shorty which I don’t mind by my friends but find it very hard to be called white man or white c**t by certain people I find it very racist.
.

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Sydney February 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Bet it was those who think that the opposite colour to white is racist

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Catherine White March 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Mine is a unique experience, as when we first immigrated to Australia as ten pound poms, we moved to a suburb in Melbourne with a colourful history. Literally and news-wise.

Here were we family of seven naive Catholic kiddies, smack bang between a famous Aboriginal family of 12 children that was always raising hell. Their Uncle, now deceased was a famous Senator in the Victorian Parliament. On the other side were a rouse about family of nine Maltese children, who were also noteworthy for their frequent police cars visiting their house.

This was our hood… we were always in the news. Fights, claims of racism from our famous ‘privileged’ Aboriginal family, and many of the lads in jail.

Yes Australia is racist, however, unlike New York, where it’s blatant, Australian racism is polite and masked by political tolerance.

I’m a pom, therefore I’m considered to be one of the privileged, however I will say this. Australia is not an easy country to grow up in if you are from another country, or in any way different or unique. The tacit rule is you don’t stand out, otherwise you’re poppy will be lopped off. And it generally is.

There I too have said it, but if you ask any Sydney taxi driver, most of them of ethnic origin, they will tell you, Australia is racist.

There endeth the homily.

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Annabel Candy March 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Hi Catherine,

Great to hear your perspective on racism in Australia from growing up here and years of cultural experience. I’d love to know where this tall poppy syndrome comes from and how many generations it will take to end it!

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Trevor November 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I am a fifth generation South Australian originally of German extraction but after some thirty five years of service throughout Australia, and the outback, Yes there are solid pockets of racism here. Whilst racism based on aboriginality or colour remains the easy target over the decades it has also changed almost every eight years or so by country of origin for the recent arrivals. As a youth in the late 60’s Adelaide having a German surname I and the other students with German names were the subject of daily beatings and verbal abuse from the recently arrived English kids for a period of almost 4 years, sometimes with the English teachers watching or even urging the other kids on.

Over the decades I have had to defend various groups across Australia from race based assaults. I am fortunate enough that my work exposed me to many oppressed peoples from across the world. Unfortunately some wishing to settle here are escaping contentious issues. Worse still there are people here who take advantage of those issues to foment trouble into what I refer to as “topical racism”. Most Australians are not racist and racism is not consistent across Australia, but an unfortunate undercurrent does exists, and groups do exist that benefit from it, which may at times include some politicians and media.

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lydia December 2, 2013 at 5:43 pm

it depends on whom u meet and hang out with.Some Aussies are racist and others are not. It just depends what area you go to and who you hang with and meet. Just be nice and friendly and you be good. And you will have no problems.

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Hil January 1, 2014 at 8:26 pm

This is not media beat up…this is a fact in Australia. I am an African living in Australia. Came here on student visa but to Aussies I am a refugee. I am a thing of laughter or very disgusting to them. I am yet to come across a white Aussie whom is not dodgy! U know what I mean. They are rude, racist,arrogant and above all very ignorant. There is so much more happening here than the writer put up here. There is indeed an apartheid here. If u are now white with bogan mentality, u dont belong here and will always be the second best.

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aj May 9, 2014 at 8:05 am

There is no doubt that racism is definitely an on going, daily thing in Australia , its just that everyone wants to keep it subtle , and the most evident places that you can observe is when you go to job consultants or for an interview.Am sure so many of them wonder how they know more than us , or how can they be so intelligent OR how can they speak English with correct grammar , write so legibly

Time for change

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Steve August 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Is there racism in Australia? Sure but the situation is improving with each and every generation. There was a “senior” officer I came across. He was really funny and cracked jokes all day. The jokes he cracked were simply hilarious until we realized that the butt of his jokes were an Australian of Filipino descent, an Indian and an Asian, no one else….. all day. Suddenly, he wasn’t so funny anymore. It was a long day for all. Found out later he had been accused of racism in another section of the workplace by a “client”.
In conversation with another “senior” colleague of Sri Lankan extract, I heard that the Sri Lankan colleague’s son wanted to punch this racist “senior” in a shopping centre outside the workplace. This racist “senior” had chanced upon them at a local shopping centre when he said something to the Sri Lankan’s son. He didn’t elaborate but it must have been something terrible. The Sri Lankan “senior” told the racist “senior” never to speak to either him or his family ever again unless it was work related.

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agh February 25, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Belonging to a group of the human race that europeans in aussie call “ethnic” … i must say that reading these comments and the article(which doesnt really say much about anything) is a bit disheartening.

Most of what i read is quite juvenile and ignorant, i cant fathom the extent of racism in aussie. Mainly because from what i see europeans in aussie have absolutely no clue what racism even is.

Thats a damn shame.

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