Racism exist more or less in most societies including Australia. As a minority living, studying and working in this lovely country over a period of almost 20 years (1986—1989, then 1994 till now), I believe that I am qualify to claim that vase majority of the Australian people are good people despite incidents of racist attacks or racist policies throughout the history - past and present.
Only a small number of the population are true racists. And among these small group of ‘racists’, my observation is that, many have been mislead by their media and right wing politicians about other cultures. Once you greeted them with a smile, initiate conversation, follow by a few more contacts, the hostility will eventually disappear.
It is very easy to brand a culture or country as racist if we use small stories, past history or individual incidents as and when they occurred to fuel fear and bigotry. For example, the recent incident of a schoolboy claimed he was bullied by Muslim over his salami sandwich (Daily Telegraph, 13 Nov 2009) may be a classic example of racial profiling by the Australia media over a common social phenomenon - School Bullying.
School Bullying is a common problem in the Western World including Australia:
The following statistics may provide you some idea of how serious and common the problem of school bulling are:
Facts and statistics on School bullying in USA: http://www.safeyouth.org/scripts/topics/school.asp
Facts and statistic on school bullying in Australia: http://www.bullying.com.au/school-bullying/index.php
Recent incidents of school bullying reported by the media in Australia under the following heading:
Parents failing as bully epidemic worsens, Courier Mail 22 Sept 2009
As you may observe from the above heading, non of the bullying incidents reported by the Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph highlighted the ethnicity of the bullied. However, when a Muslim kid is involved in the incident, let look at how the heading being highlighted by the respective newspapers (Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph):
Racial profiling by the Australia Media:
Muslim kids bullied my son over salami sandwich during Ramadan, family claims, Daily Telegraph 13 Nov 2009
Schoolboy claims he was attacked by Muslim mob over salami sandwich, Herald Sun 13 Nov 2009
The above Muslim Kid bullying incident also reported by Channel 9, morning show’s TODAY at 7.30am on 13 Nov 2009 using Daily Telegraph heading as highlight.
One should note that Herald Sun went to the extent to called them “Muslim Mob” in its News’s heading.
If the above examples are not strong enough evidence to claim that “Australia Media fueling racism against minorities”, lets examine a few more earlier example using the report of Racist Assault against the Indian Students.
More Evidence of Australia Media Fuelling Racism Against Minorities
Over the last 12 to 18 months, there were more than 150 cases of assault against Indian Students in Australia. In fact, there were also more then 50 cases of foreigners murdered in Australia, mostly Chinese according to the Migrants Mirror News Weekly a couple of months ago.
Note: Migrants Mirror (a Chinese Weekly in Queensland) reported the above news in a small session of the newspaper without sensationalize the whole issue. This should be the way in a multi-culture society. We should not use a number of incidents to create bigotry and Xenophobia in the society.
In fact, the mainstream media in Australia have been mostly silence about the more then 150 cases of racist assaults against the Indian students. They only begin to report them after the Indian students took to the street, and the Indian Media begin to highlight the issues, and the Australian government fearful of the adverse effect to the billion dollars education industry.
I would like to put a special note here is that, many Chinese students also experience racist assault or insult in Australia, but the Chinese media in China and government did not use it to demonise Australia or create a grand standing approach like Kevin Rudd did on Stern Hu case. China embassy in Canberra issue a statement to the Australian government in June, “demanding that Australia provides better protection for foreign students” Telegraph (UK), 4 June 2009.
Below are links to a number of report by the Australia Media on the issues of assault on Indian students:
Indians rally as suburb seethes, Sydney Morning Herald 10 June 2009
Man jailed over racist killing of university researcher, The Age 29 July 2009
As you may observe from the above news heading, there were no sensational highlight such as “More then 150 Racist assaults against Indian students in 12 months” or “Indian student claimed he was Attacked by Caucasian mob”.
However, when there arise a case of attacked against the Indian students from people with “Middle Eastern appearance”, even though that is one case against more then 150 previous cases of assault by someone else, our media industry became so excited that, an article with the title “Brutal truth about attacks” receiving unbelievable attention and multiple publication like a tidal wave.
For example, a few minute search on the Internet using Yahoo, Google then NineMSN return with the following result:
Article Title: “Brutal truth about attacks” on 10 June 2009 cover by the following media:
I can assure you that, if you have time to search through more search engines or simply the respective newspaper archive, You are going to find a lot more newspapers across Australia using that article “Brutal truth about attacks”.
This prompt Joseph Wakim (a former multicultural affairs commissioner and the founder of the Australian Arabic Council) response with an article on the Sydney Morning Herald 10 June 2009: Let's not fight racism with more racism. Check for yourself, did this article received as much attention!?
In fact, the news with images of Hindu burning Kevin Rudd effigies also receive a massive coverage by virtually all newspapers and TV channels across Australia.
The Australian (2 June 2009) had the worst News heading: Hindu extremists burn Kevin Rudd effigies.
It is unfortunate that our politicians and media industry not only fail to educate the public to create a harmonise multi-culture society, they have in fact, using their special position and power to fuel racism in the society.
Issue of Social Integration
Our media and politicians always talk about social integration, but, did they ever thought of the issue of integrating themselves with the aboriginal culture when Captain Cook arrived in Australia? The world should learn to accept each other differences, and the issue of social integration should be a multi -way traffic. The right wing politicians and media industry in Australia should learn to integrate themselves with the world, and the First Australian - our indigenous population.
If the media industry across the world begin to learn from the West, using small stories to demonise one another, I wonder what the world will look like then……… It is time for the Western Media to do a bit of self reflection, and apologise to the countries and cultures they relentlessly abused over the years.
Written on 15 Nov 2009
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