Originally Posted by Katie Bugs Mama
Ms. Apricot -- That's interesting. My friend insists that there's no racism aimed at people of African descent in Australia. When she admits that there is racism there, she says that it's completely different than in the US. I've never been to Australia so I don't know.
Also, she's only visited Australia for short stays (at most 6 weeks at a time) since she married an African-American man and had her daughter. I wonder if her opinion would be different if she were actually raising her biracial child there.
Hmmm....well, I'm not African descent, so perhaps I can't really comment on attitudes toward one particular group. I'd be pretty surprised if they have some exemption though.
The official White Australia policy that restricted immigration to the preferred European settlers was only abandoned in the 1970's (it was targeted at Asian immigrants, but I'm sure Africans were included) - right about the time the government stopped kidnapping aboriginal children and "re-educating" them into white culture - some say this was part of a policy aimed at eliminating aboriginal culture completely. More recently, Muslims and Middle Eastern people have been the targets of racism - e.g. the Cronulla race riots of 2005 in Sydney were an anti-Lebanese event (still lots of derogatory comments about the "lebos") and last year in Camden (a Sydney suburb), the council refused to allow a Muslim school on specious grounds (supported by a lot of anti-Muslim protest rallies), but shortly after approved a Catholic school. The Chinese government has expressed it's concerns about the safety of it's citizens in Australia - Chinese international students are a lucrative source of income for Australian schools, but there are questions about whether they are targets of crime in Australia, and how much concern the Austrailian authorities have for investigating those crimes.
Please understand - I know there are race problems everywhere including my home country of Canada - which has an equally long list of race-related incidents. I love Australia and I find Australians to be warm, friendly, wonderful people, but there is a thick, ugly current of racism that will not go away by pretending it doesn't exist or being wilfully blind to it. In some ways I find the racism here much more overt than in North America - people are quite comfortable saying things that they just couldn't get away with in North America, and use terms, e.g. "lebos", without pause. I was astonished the first time I walked into a market and found "Jap pumpkins" for sale - and even more so when I read that term in cookbooks written by a celebrity chef and published by a leading company.