White Australia: We Grew Here, You Flew Here

Controversy has erupted over an incident on the Australian version of Big Brother, in which contestants threw goo-filled bags at the Mexican flag. The Mexican government complained that the use of the Mexican flag was offensive and complained to Australia’s media regulator.

As anyone who knows me well can attest, I don’t like Australia. My hostility towards that Godforsaken sandpit, a dry, crusty scab on the ass of planet Earth, knows no bounds. Or, more accurately, my intense dislike for the occupiers of Her Majesty’s colony of Australia - let’s not forget that only around 1% of the continent’s population (yes, one percent) are native Aboriginal. The European invaders successfully wiped out most of the aboriginal populace, and the “White Australia Policy” restricted non-European immigration - and successfully persecuted the remaining black inhabitants (including forcibly removing newborn babies from black mothers, who weren’t considered fit to care for them) - until it’s abolition in 1975. Yes, that’s right, racism was officially sanctioned in Australia until 1975.

I had the misfortune to live in Australia from 1990, when I was ten years old, until 2002, and my experiences in that country were largely negative. Australians have successfully marketed themselves as happy-go-lucky, honest, fair-minded, non-discriminatory folk, but in truth are exactly the opposite of that. Xenophobia and racism, dressed up in an obsessive national patriotism that’s drummed into school children Nazi-style, is the order of the day. As an immigrant child I suffered racist bullying - taunted about my accent, my nationality (oh, the jokes about stupid Irish people and the IRA had me rolling in the aisles), and even my skin colour (I’m Irish, so too white for the perfectly tanned Aussies). Teachers were too busy singing the national anthem, or waving the Aussie flag to notice, and the truth is that in Australia, anyone who doesn’t look or sound “true blue Aussie” is ripe for victimisation. When I was seventeen, I started dating boys; my first boyfriend was Aboriginal, and simply being at his side I was given the dubious honour of seeing how our true blue Aussies view the black population - with suspicion, fear and disgust. The racism that Sean endured was, in turns, blatant and subtle, but always present.

I recall one occasion when a group of drunk Aussie Blokes threw a drunk Aboriginal woman off the last train of the night in Perth, whilst various authority figures turned a blind eye. On another occasion, an Asian woman with a toddler, having the gall to speak in her own language, provoked a fellow (Aussie) traveller, who was seething with anger, to remark spitefully as he left the train that she should “use English, [she] doesn’t know what country she’s in.” The woman didn’t bat an eyelid, suggesting that incidents of this kind were frequent enough.

Since I’ve lived in London, I haven’t managed to escape the Aussie curse. They’re everywhere. Despite proclaiming at every opportunity that Australia is the best country in the world, they can’t seem to spend enough time elsewhere. London’s a particular draw for the Aussie pest - in parts of West London you’re more likely to hear an Australian accent than any other - that, or be forced to step over an inebriated Aussie backpacker vomiting into the gutter. They even have their own pubs in the capital, where all the Aussies who flock to London congregate with other Aussies, or white South Africans (another subject in itself). Despite insisting that immigrants assimilate and take on the Aussie way of life in their own country, they stick to their own kind when overseas.

On 11th December 2005, the racial tensions bubbling away under the carefully crafted façade of tolerance in Australia, finally erupted into race riots. White Australian men attacked and assaulted two Middle Eastern men in separate incidents. At least three far-right organisations were involved, with slogans like “We Grew Here, You Flew Here", "Wog Free Zone", "Aussie Pride", and "Ethnic Clensing Unit". Towards the end of the year, drive-by shootings were occurring and a church next to an Islamic centre was set on fire.

As an aside, one only has to look to popular culture for proof of Australia’s dislike of the unlike. Despite Australia claiming to be a racial melting pot, the nation’s two long-running national soaps, Neighbours and Home And Away, both of which have been on since the mid-1980s, have never had a non-white face as a series regular. That’s right, in twenty years the country’s telenovellas haven’t notched up one single Aboriginal or Asian face. From my own experience, non-white faces on Australian television were rare. But it isn’t all doom and gloom, with broadcaster SBS devoted to “the multicultural voice of Australia” - and a good job it does too. I discovered the work of Tsai Ming Liang through the network, a sitcom from Singapore and Glenroe, a telenovella from Ireland, and films from every corner of the globe. But no one in Australia watches SBS - viewing figures are so low they often can‘t be measured.

I never could find a job in Australia. I guess my face, or voice, appearance didn’t fit. I never had a friend or lover who was Australian. Chinese? Tick. Malaysian? Tick. Korean? Tick. Visiting African-Americans? Tick (a marine and someone touring with Mariah Carey, for the record).

The Australian Big Brother incident might have been blown out of proportion, but it’s absolutely indicative of Australia: it’s an ugly place. I’m glad I managed to get out.

5 comments:

COOKiE said...

Australia: "that Godforsaken sandpit, a dry, crusty scab on the ass of planet Earth, knows no bounds." Oh my ka-os I can feel the emotion coming out of that and don't feel bad... sometimes the truth hurts - LOL. I totally forgot about the fact that you were Irish until about a week ago. You know it's funny, in American society an Irish man is considered "white" like any other Caucasian. Many people give them shit while forgetting the fact that back in the 1800's, Irish people were treated just as shitty as any other black man! An interesting fact, so you've been at the receiving end of so much bullshit that so many will never quite understand. Of course, with me being African-American that doesn't apply. I always wanted to take a trip to Australia so badly and if it makes you feel any better you should be glad to know... that you've honestly turned me off from wanting to go LOL! Much love and two kudos dog!!

James

"One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason." Oscar Wilde

shaunoo said...

wot the hell r u 2 on about 1st of the riots in sydney were just ozyz that were feed up with the lebs raping and betting ozzy women just because they were ozzy these raps were never put 2 the press as racial crimes evan tho that they sead things like duz leb dick taste better than ozzy dick the stark was when a group of leb teens bashed some life gards the people that are ment 2 be helping them that is y the riots tolk place and as 4 racisum that ur on about i have no idea wot ur on about im kiwi and moved here when i was 15 and have not been discimnated agenst i think that australia is the best country in the wourld and i love it here would neva leave and as 4 the irish bloke it sound like u just carnt put up with a bit of ozzy humor its called taking the piss mate

az said...

Much of what you have said does have merit. I have lived in Australia my entire life and I come from a community with a high Indigenous population. Racism and Xenophibia is rife where I come from. I have been in a number of confrontations with small minded racist fools (not just caucasians by the way) who think that slaging on people because of their ethnicity or skin colour or cultural idiosyncrasies is acceptable and even funny. Nothing shits me more than malicious bigiots.

However your sweeping generalisations are not only misguided but quite frankly insulting. I am sorry that you experienced only the negative aspects of Austalian culture but there is a lot more to this country than the bullshit that is presented in the popular media. there are large sections of the community who are socially minded, decient, open and 'GOOD' people. There is to much hate in the world already and I hope that you come back to Australia one day find the positive side of this country. We are here. I apologise for those of my countrymen who embarass us on the international stage- but those Aussies who go to London and hang out in Walkabouts wearing the aussie flag and are dunk, loud, and overtly obnoxious are only the ones you notice. Not all of us are overly patrotic zelots.
Peace.

Anonymous said...

I have lived and worked in remote Australia all my life and I reckon about 10 percent of the abbo's out there are good cunts hey. I am not a racist man, every one deserves a go, but with some of these younger black kids coming up, they are a fucking menace to society and they get what they deserve. As for all the other bloody immigrants, if I was to go to Afghanistan, could I walk around and speak freely, fuck no. If they want to come here, I think they should embrace the freedom that we have. Dont even get me started on the fucking asian's, wogs, and every other fucker that comes over here, brings there shit with them, starts their gangs n shit over here, then beats up on some little old lady for crack money. THOSE ore the cunts that should fuck off. If you wanna come to a country and try and better yourself, come on in...you wanna start shit...either fuck off, or come to my place. i'll be waiting.

LIBERATOR | Émigré Éire said...

Thank you Anon - with your repugnant testimony, you've proven my point perfectly.

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