Melbourne – racist?
Riding past a park in the trashier side of Port Melbourne this weekend with a friend, we pass a group of kids playing with some adults. A kid around five yells out, ‘Hello, hobboe!’
The adults just stare. They do not look too apologetic, which hints that they are part of the problem here – probably thinking, ‘More foreigners… they’ll go by; who cares?’ (Very mildly – I give them much benefit of the doubt here.) Unfortunately, this one happens to be a Metblogs author about to publicly disgrace you.
I do not think racism is a major issue in Melbourne. The Indian community seem to disagree, of course.
Recent communication with the media from the community describe Australia as a generally racist country. The Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) made a statement earlier this month expressing their concern that ‘racist attacks were increasing’.
Gautum Gupta, from FISA, also offered a more rational analysis to The Age, and described the recent development of racism the result of the discomfort with an influx of Indians into the country, shifting the gaze away from the Chinese and on to the Indians.
Not everyone agrees that the recent incidences are racial, however, and the recent attacks involving Indian students can also be accounted to being race-neutral. The Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS), for example, accounts the attacks to bad timing and advises international students to take stronger safety precautions. Students are encouraged to seek AFIS for help shall they face difficulties during their stay in Australia.
AFIS is also organising a free event titled, ‘m²s² – Money, Migration, Safety, Study‘ on June 1st 2008, to address the most pressing issues facing current and fresh international students. The event will feature seminars from the Victorian Police, Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Victorian Tenancy Union amongst other presenters, and is heavily supported by the City of Melbourne.
A great effort has been committed to recognise Melbourne’s increasing professional immigrant workforce and international student market.
No, I personally believe that Melbourne is not entirely racist. Tiny pockets of unfriendly people do exist (eg. trashy Port Melbourne family), but as a whole, we are generally doing very well – albeit milking our foreign students for all their worth.
To that particular family, I say: Up yours, bogans.