Is Australia Racist - Australia Essay Example

Summary: With the Australian history of penal colonization, the racism-provoking policies and the most recent riots, it is undeniable that Australia was, and still is, a racist country - Is Australia Racist introduction. And in the aftermath of Hansonism and now Cronulla, all John Howard concerned about is our denigrated image in the region and the world. Answer this simple question: is Australia a racist country??Yes or no? With two-thirds of Australians believing that there is underlying racism in this nation, the answer is, indeed, rather disturbing.

Racism has always been the controversial subject in our society. Unfortunately, it is inevitable to admit racial discrimination is alive and well in Australia today. The racist violence that exploded in the Sydney suburb of Cronulla on December 11 has sparked furious debates on this issue amongst us and, has forced us to reflect on the notorious reputation of our beloved country??s racist history, ultimately leading us into the present situation of racism in our society. The ill-treatment of the Australian aboriginal population in the past is a documented fact of history.


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Prior to the arrival of European settlers, Australia was inhabited by more than five hundred different tribes of Aboriginal peoples. Many of these tribal groups, their ancient culture, and their distinctive dialects have been decimated by white settlement. Population rate decreased dramatically and white violence was mainly responsible for this appalling death rate. The original inhabitants were dispossessed of their land and were discriminated against by the first British and European settlers.

However, this is merely a diminutive fraction of Australia??s racist history. The taking of the land from its original Aboriginal occupants, the ?®terra nullius?? concept that appeared to deny their legal existence, the prejudice displayed against Chinese immigrants to Australia and against successive waves of migrants of non-Anglo-Saxon origin, together with a long-standing fear of Asia invasion from the north all demonstrate a deep-rooted racism within Australian culture.

Fear of ?®Asian hordes??, intent upon invading the great southern continent and who threatened to ?®pollute?? the ?®superior white race?? was used as a means of promoting a sense of ?®national identity?? and an ?®Australian way of life??. Racism is not only inextricably linked to the history of colonisation and racial prejudice, it is also associated with this country??s governmental policies. A renewed wave of racism reared its ugly head in Australia in 1988 with the rise of Pauline Hanson??s One Nation party, targeting Aboriginal people, Asian immigrants and refugees.

The second phase of this wave of discrimination began in August 2001 with the Coalition government??s decision to stop the Norwegian freighter Tampa from offloading at Christmas Island a boatload of 400, mostly Afghan, asylum seekers the Tampa had rescued. The Coalition government used this incident to whip up a xenophobic nationalist hysteria about the Third World asylum seekers ?®flooding?? Australia??s shores. Now we have phase three: Canberra has used the post September eleventh ?®war on terror?? to cast a pall of suspicion over all Middle Easter immigrants, painting them as potential terrorists.

It is this most recent campaign that has been more successful in sowing fear and hostility than any of the previous racist attacks in the past decade. It has been claimed that he Howard Government has encouraged racism in this country. According to Duncan Kerr, the Federal member for Denison in Tasmania and a former Federal Attorney General and Minister for Justice in the Keating government, the Howard Government has contributed to the ?®inflammation of prejudices?? ignited by the terrorist attacks of 2001 on several accounts.

Howard??s infamous declaration that ?®we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come?? in 2001 was perceived to be directed at people from certain backgrounds, namely people from predominantly Muslim countries in South Asia. The incidence of Cronulla riots is yet another evidence that Australia is a racist country. The eruption of racist violence on Sydney??s beaches is the cancerous expression of the extreme tensions being generated in our society.

Sufficient evidences have shown the world-wide population that the violence occurred was racially motivated, as demonstrated by the slogans the rioters chanted and the placards they carries. After the attack on the lifesavers on Cronulla a mobile text message was circulated urging retaliation for the earlier assault of a number of lifesavers. The text message encourages ?®Aussies?? to take revenge against ?®Lebs and Wogs?? and said ?®Bring your mates and let??s show them that this is our beach and they are never welcome??.

It was widely reported that the attacking gangs chanted ?®No more Lebs?? and ?®Aussie, Aussie, Aussie?­ Oi, Oi, Oi??, assaulted anyone who looked of Middle East appearance. Labor Senator Stephen Smith has stated, the Cronulla riots were ?®the most disturbing scenes of racism on our streets. What we saw was racist slogans??. For those who have been hypnotized into thinking that racism doesn??t exist in Australia should have a better understanding of our country??s past ?C bigotry against the indigenous people — and the present circumstance, for instance the abuse of Arabians and Muslim Australians.

As for the history of accepting and accommodating many waves of migration, right up until the late 1960s, Labor and conservative governments maintained an openly racist immigration policy that barred Asians and blacks from entering the country. As early as 1985, Howard began utilising his ?°dog whistle?± politics, encouraging anti-Asian prejudice by calling for cutbacks to immigration from Asia. Need you to be reminded of what just occurred six months ago? The Cronulla riots?

The incidence was purely the product of racial prejudice and the participants came ?®from far and wide??, according to the area??s Mayor, Kevin Schreiber. The riots were the latest incarnations of the bigotry that includes discrimination against Aborigines at the time of white settlement and the migrants from decades ago. The lawbreaking in Sydney??s southern suburbs have informed us and the world that it is a manifestation of the deeply implanted racism in the Australian psyche.

This racism, historically enshrined in the ?®White Australia?? policy, has been reinvigorated by John Howard as part of his campaign to conscript lower-class voters to the Liberal cause. As a consequence, racism is escalating, while support for multicultural tolerance is declining. With the Australian history of penal colonization, the racism-provoking policies and the most recent riots, it is undeniable that Australia was, and still is, a racist country. And in the aftermath of Hansonism and now Cronulla, all John Howard concerned about is our denigrated image in the region and the world?

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