Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thoughtless implicit racism

The continuing scandal over the Olympic games and the farce which is the torch relay (with all the naive comments over sport being separated from politics) was overshadowed for me by a comment made in Canberra. The relay attendance was dominated by pro-China (an interesting way in putting it given Tibet was a separate country before invasion so any chants of 'one China' are meaningless in this context) and pro-Tibet.

One 16 year old "Australia" made the comment (from ABC website)

Spectator James Taylor, 16, was surprised by the lack of Australians cheering the flame on.

"I think they were lazy and were watching it on TV," he said.

"It's like playing spot the Aussie here."

Spot the Aussie?! He means spot the Anglo. Having dated an ABC (Australian Born Chinese) at University, I never thought of her as anything but Australian because she was born here (though obviously partly culturally Chinese, but obviously less so than the Singaporian and Malaysian Chinese I knew). No doubt her parents had a right to claim the same since they moved here.

Out of the mouth of babes - if you ain't white, you ain't Aussie. Leah from Play School not so long ago lamented always either being told to go home or asked where she came from because one of her parents was Sri Lankan.

Does this country have a long way to go? Looks like it.

1 comment:

Ariane said...

But we all know that everyone that doesn't look anglo is not an Aussie, well, unless we know them.

It disturbs me a lot that there were more pro-Chinese demonstrators than pro-Tibet ones.

I suspect the guy's comments about watching it on the telly were more telling than "spot the aussie". Australian racism, at least pre-Howard, is non-standard. I am utterly disgusted that the pro-Chinese outweighed the pro-Tibet though. Where was big Kev, backing the good guys?

I've been asked often where I am from, and I couldn't look more anglo. Apparently my Syd Uni accent has added an overtone of pom. Be careful what you conclude. But you know that. Sorry, don't mean to be condescending...