“Australia is not a racist country.” After apologizing for the government’s stealing aboriginal children, after the Cronulla riots, the Palm Island riots, even after two sober assessments by the Indian ambassador and former Telstra chief Sol Trujillo, it is still denied. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd initially dismissed it as “ridiculous” rather than acknowledging that Australia does have longstanding problems with racism.
After still more violent attacks on Indians in Melbourne I feel that I have to write something. What offends me most is not the violent outer-suburban racists but the network of tacit support that they receive from other parts of mainstream Australian culture. The support and cover from politicians that denies that Australia is a racist country. The support and encouragement from all aspects of Australian nationalism, for it is nationalist pride that leads to the denials in the first place.
Australia is a racist country, it was established as a racist colonial program and since then racism has been institutionalised in Australian culture. Australia has conducted the most successful program of genocides in the modern world against the aboriginal peoples of Australia, especially the Tasmanian aborigines. Australia’s white immigration policy may have ended but the political sentiment that supported it remains and is now expressed in anti-refugee detention policies and the Aboriginal intervention policy in the NT.
You have to be mentally blinkered to not see the racism in Australian culture. In one of the shared houses that I lived in we had a set of old kitchen chairs that were made in Australia and labelled: “Product of European labour only”. If you don’t believe that there is racist hatred of Indians in Melbourne then let me show you the racist graffiti against Indians scratched in the concrete footpath of Coburg.
There needs to be more action taken on the serious cultural problems, like racism, in Australia rather than denials and public relations management. To deny and mentally repress Australian racism is not the solution and will only create more and new problems. The Australian and Victorian government need to recognize that they are part of the problem rather than deny the existence of the problem. Don’t believe the equivocations, the empty apologies and denials that Australian’s make about racism – look at their actions and inactions.