Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Indian bashing in Australia

Is the Indian media overdoing the incidence of racial attacks in Australia? There is something about the sheer power of repetition on TV, the same visuals being played by different channels throughout the day and for days together. I tell you, the effect can be inflammatory.

I have no means of knowing what the situation on the ground is. Most cities, including New York and London, have their share of lumpen elements who will bash up or rob anybody who looks vulnerable. Indians must appear as soft targets because of their build but that doesn't quite explain why the Chinese are not similar targets. Colour must be a factor.

The question is how big is the racial issue in Australia. I was there in 2007, visiting Sydney and Canberra. I came back and declared that if there was one white country that was not hostile to brownies, it was Australia. It was friendliness all the way. Of course, these fleeting impressions can be deceptive and it's only when you live somewhere that you get a feel for the place.

But, I have found that the acid test is the immigration counter. There you can sense the hostility or the lack of it. For the first time in my visit to a white country, I encountered a very warm welcome. Very different from what you would experience in, say, New York where, at immigration, every South Asian is presumed to be a terrorist unless proved otherwise.

Another test is the country's airlines. Both on Quantas and the domestic airlines, I experienced a total lack of hostility. Again, these could be misleading. Or it may be well be that the changed economic environment has caused a certain souring of moods.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say your view is 1 data point.

Being a professor did you take into consideration that the circle you will be roaming in is different from that the student goes.

Secondly a student and tourist visa difference.

blackadder said...

I completely disagree with your perception. In my experience, it is the USA which is the least racist country in the world, those people may be blunt and at times abrasive, but their behaviour does not change based on the race of the person facing them. Australia on the other hand, is perhaps the most under-rated racist nation in the world, which till 1970, had a 'White Australia' policy. I had a colleague in my firm who went to a bar in Australia, where he was told that 'his kind' were not allowed in. On enquiring what 'his kind' were like, the bouncer pulled up his sleeve and pointed to his skin. If that's not racist, I don't know what is. In contrast, my own experience in the US, which goes beyond the Immigration counter, consists of 3 months spent on a university campus and the surrounding town, and not once was a single racist slur passed against me. The fact remains that Australia has a long long long way to go before it can claim to be as hospitable to outsiders as the USA.

Wanderer said...

I have lived for a year in New York and I have experienced no racism of any kind whatsoever. I think your "immigration center" yardstick is flawed.

gaddeswarup said...

"Most cities, including New York and London, have their share of lumpen elements who will bash up or rob anybody who looks vulnerable. Indians must appear as soft targets because of their build but that doesn't quite explain why the Chinese are not similar targets. Colour must be a factor."
It may be along those lines. Chinese have been here much longer and probably have better information about spots. I lived i USA for 6 years and Melbourne for over 20 years. I do find some racism ( not alway sclear; 'race' may help identify easy targets) here but not much worse than many other places. In any place where I go: either Delhi, New York, or Sydney I would not venture at all times to all places. Many Indian students work part time and live in poor localities with high petty crime rates. Those without cars coming back home at odd times are vulnerable. A bit more of my experiences in my blog:
http://gaddeswarup.blogspot.com/2009/05/indian-students-in-melbourne.html
The courses that Indians take here are not great; my impression is that many come here because it is cheaper and it is easier to get visas later on. Bright Australian students usually go to USA or Europe for higher studies. I think that all the hype may not be useful for the students' larger purposes.

zuko said...

I strongly feel whatever situation is there Down Under, the current irresponsible portrayal by the media is just going to make things much more difficult to manage with the passage of time.
We have certainly grown economically as a nation, and the current reactions to the Aussie mishaps shows the much evident Capitalist India in it's real form.
With success comes power, and a greater degree of responsibility.
India no doubt needs to protect it's citizens Down Under, but being blind to the greater degree of discrimination and castism as it prevails inside India, sends a wrong message not only to the aliens, but also to the citizens of India.
I hope calmness prevails, and media gets some other spicy stuff to make news out of it.

mr. cappy said...

That was not one incident there were 500 registered cases in 4 years on indian bashing. Even a famous Indian cricketers nephew was kill for no reason. Aussies cricketers make more money in India then in their own country, yet the aussie coach of an IPL team gives aussies first batting rights and then everyone else. When ever an Indian player in his team makes a mistake, he says "listen you indian..." He even requested more aussies in a indian team. Aussies made vulgar excuses for attacking indians. The fans yell out "brown shit" when indian players go to australia. I was there. Cops say its the indians fault for being too soft. Pretty soon I hope there will be kangaro Bashing against the culprits who instigate Curry bashing.

Anonymous said...

It's odd when you talk about Australia being racist.
1- Go into Melbourne and see for yourself that it's no longer a white city but rather East Asian.
2- Understand that it might be something to do with scurrilous people like Giant Patel etc being big news.
3- Teenagers will be teenagers wherever you go. (including young twenties in there as well)
4- India booted out the whites in 1946.
5- During WW2 India's brave Commonwealth troops stood beside allied forces in the Asian theatre of war and perhaps you should spend time letting young Aussies learn that. I mean the suffering of POW's under the cruel hand of the Japanese was shared by Aussies and Indians alike. Let that be known.
5- 'When in Rome' do as the Romans do", are the Indians fault free in their activities within the city?
6- Organise 'Curry days' where you put on public cooking events open to the public. Not something extravagant, where you throw coloured paint over each other, but something 'as a friendly open hand'. Everyone here likes curry.
7- White society worldwide is under threat because of immigrations etc. What white nations resembles anything like a cohesive structure as it did 50 years ago? Not one. You can't expect there not to be convultions. Especially since the foreigners have made great progress in retaining, even reinforcing, their racial structures in their own countries.
8- White Australia is sort of dying, therefore, have respect.
9- Outsourcing. Not many Aussies are happy with having to speak with Indians and Philipinos everytime they need to call a Utility company. It's seen as rudely intrusive somehow and further evidence of a massive cultural decline/sellout.

Anonymous said...

The attitude of these immigrants should be humble and courteus, but their's are more pride and arrogant that's sow the hatred among the native that seems like thte native rights been take over by these immigrant.... The immigrant should do soul-searching rather than point finger.

dalinean said...

The Latest news is that the Indian students are largely being assaulted by other indians.
Front page on the 'Australian' newspaper on thursday 29 july 09 was thet the undercover agent used by the ABC 'four corneres' program was assaulted by an indian, maybe a Sikh!
The wearing of turbans is rare within the general Australian population!
My question is 'Why the big beat up in the Indian press' with insuficcient information.

dalinean said...

the indian bashings have been done largely within the indian community within australia.

The 'four corners' undercover repertor was assaulted by an Indian Man! Perhaps a Sikh.

The reportage of these incidents within the Indian press suggests some sort of connection between the profiteers from these students who are being preyed upon. Perhaps by their indian agents. Someone with connections within the media.

melbourneboy said...

Its always hard to fully understand the workings of a foreign country/city when you've only spent a short period of time there and much of that times is either in class or working a tough job to pay your bills. However, being a Melbourne boy, I'm sorry to say my city has had a culture of drunken violence for far too long and I think i'd even go so far as to say that drunken saturday night brawls have become the norm.

While us drunken convicts may have a history of getting pissed and practicing fisticuffs, there has also been a noted upsurge of assaults and violent crimes recently.It was for this very reason that all our bars and night clubs were forced to implement a lockout after two years back, however there is little statistical evidence to support the notion that 'desis' have been getting singled out. Many of the attacks on indian students were not even perpetrated by groups or goras as reported but but people of mixed ethnic backgrounds.

Rather than labelling all Aussies "racist" (in a country where around 50% of the population was born overseas) it may be a better idea for us all to look at why the problem has gotten so out of hand? -there has been a dramatic change in the way Vitoria Police carry out their duties and in the last few years have decided to work on reducing crime figures, not reducing actual crime. In more basic terms, this has meant that cops no longer police set beats in the way they used to and this may explain why police are almost never seen on our trains, patrolling dangerous areas or doing anything other than attempting to boost revenue. They are also said to have adopted an approach of not recording crimes unless a victim wishes to press charges and in the odd case going so far as to dissuade potential complaitants from pressing charges.

anyone genuinely interested may like to read this article: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/racism-cry-is-the-only-weapon-20090603-bvmf.html?page=1

Anonymous said...

I lived and worked in the UK for 6 years and have come across a lot of Ozzies, I would call them anything but racists. They are the most friendly nationals I have come across.

But it appears to be that a very insignificant minority of them and that too those among the youth seem to have problem with the Indians! It would be interesting to know what is the impression of India to them and where did they get it from.

Looks as if the reality TV programs telecasted (Blood, sweat & T Shirt etc)about the poverty and the poor suburbs in India on channels like Australia Network is having an impact on these hostile Ozzies.

One suggestion to the Australian government would be to review the picture they are painting about India in their Mass media! India is not all about poverty and being poor is not a crime either!

In the previous spell of attacks in May'09 I think the then Australian envoy accused the Indian media blowing it out of proportion, may be this time one of the India channels could conduct a dispatches session about this issue to ascertain the facts.






n I have been following the Australian news coverage of the racist attacks on Indians and I must admit it seems that it is not taken seriously by Australia. I am sure a majority of Australians are not racists but

Anonymous said...

I lived in Australia for two years and honestly did not see much racism in Australia, occasionally some racism existed but it was fairly tame, and if you stand up to the racist, they usually will look away and ignore you. Compared to a lot of countries Australia is not so bad, I think its better than the UK, definitely better than many parts of the US. In fact, some local Indians I knew who grew up there said they would feel unsafe in America post 9-11. I think the issue of India bashing is highly overrated, and most of attackers are not white Aussies but mostly Lebanese and other ethnic minorities.

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juliaroberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I do not think that your opinion is correct. I am Australian, born here, live here. It is one of the safest places in the world.
Maybe some attacks are to do with racism? NOT colour. That is one tiny element of the big picture. You obviously cannot see anyone elses perspective but your own, so this piece is falsely titled. YOU, my friend, are racist.
My suggestion is to wait until you get bashed up. If you're all so scared of a bunch of aussies, mate. And obviously, the chinese are perfectly safe, they own the martial arts. Go learn some Tai-Chi.
Sincerely, Anon.

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Anonymous said...

I laugh when people complain of racism abroad, that too Punjabi, Haryanvi guys who think that they are racially the next thing to a German. But the fact is that the best they could be nearer (racially) to is a Pakistani or Afghani, not much further.
These Punjabi and Haryanvi guys considering themselves to be at the top of racial pecking order in India therefore tend to behave in very snotty, irresponsible, uncultured manner. They get away in India but once abroad e.g. Australia, they meet their superiors, because of their upbringing till then they still try to act as in India.
Soon they find that they meet their masters in racism and their mannerisms are rewarded with the same impunity which they are so accustomed of giving to others in India. But I guess what goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

I laugh when people complain of racism abroad, that too Punjabi, Haryanvi guys who think that they are racially the next best thing to a German. But the fact is that the best they could be nearer (racially) to is a Pakistani or Afghani, not much further.

These Punjabi and Haryanvi guys considering themselves to be at the top of racial pecking order in India therefore tend to behave in very snotty, irresponsible, uncultured manner. They get away in India but once abroad e.g. Australia, they meet their superiors, because of their upbringing till then they still try to act as in India.

Soon they find that they meet their masters in racism and their mannerisms are rewarded with the same impunity which they are so accustomed of giving to others in India. But I guess what goes around comes around.

melbourneboy said...

Dude, I think you'll find that 'Pakistani' and 'Afghani' are not races but rather nationalities.

In the subcontinent (i.e. India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc), these people are generally regared as either 'Aryan' or 'Deccan'. The Aryan people have Mughlai (Persian) geneology tracing back to their Central Asian anscestors who invaded much of the north. (This is also why they tend to have a lighter skin tone than their southern counterparts).

I'm sure you will also be interested to learn that that hitler largely stole this term and and corrupted it to mean something else? Funnily enough, he also did this with the swastika.. Which has traditionally been used as a Hindu and Buddhist symbol and is commonly diplayed throughout the region.

Maybe youre right about the Punjabi's in melbourne and maybe they shouldnt act like a warrior caste if theyre going to cry on the news after every bar brawl. The sad fact is, many of these people that were 'bashed' were actually Telugu's (south indians).

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