Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Racism for Dummies

Update: As I have been accused of misquoting someone who I didn't even quote, here is the link to the post at Darps' Blog that started all this. See for yourself.

Original Post:
There has been great discussion recently regarding the topic of racism and, as Australians, our supposed predisposition toward it. It is a topic that is simply too complex to discuss back and forth in the comments section of someone’s blog, so I thought I would take a few moments to put my thoughts down in some sort of order.
To give you some context, I would like to explain a little about myself and my background. I am a fifth generation Australian (as far as I have traced so far), of basically British origins. I was born in 1962 and raised in Sydney’s Western Suburbs. Cabramatta, to be precise. That makes me a white male, 42years old and a westie. Prime racist material eh?
Cabramatta was then, and is now, a melting pot of many different races. We had wads of post-war immigrants of many different nationalities. I lived in a short cul-de-sac that had the migrant hostel at the bottom. The makeup of our street was roughly this: On our side it went Scottish, Russian, Italian, Aussies, Latvians, Serbs, Italians, Italians and Croatians. The other side went Italians, Italians, Italians, Serbs, Italians, Various, Aussies, Aussies, Ukrainians, Scots, Macedonians, and this was just my street. As you know, we then had a large influx of Asian refugees starting in the 70’s. In short, if you were racist, you didn’t have any friends. This community was remarkably harmonious. People just plain got along. Sure, there were people you didn’t like but it was usually something more substantial than their racial background. I will have more to say in a future post about why I think that this community was as successful as it was, but it serves to show you some of my background and why I get so upset when people say I am a racist because I am a white male or because I vote for John Howard. It is simply not true. It is a concept that I reject out of hand. This is not to say that Australians are not racist or that I have never been a racist. I am simply stating that we are no more racist than anyone else. I believe that all races use this “evil power” whenever it suits them.
It is not something that white people do to brown people. It is not something Aussies do to wogs. It is something people do to each other.

Let me explain it like this:
I support Parramatta in the football. I go along to games or watch ‘em on the TV and I get all worked up. When my team plays your team, I don’t like your team. Say we are playing against Newcastle, then that Andrew Johns is a mongrel bastard who must be stopped at all costs. Phoooey on him. Kick him in the nuts, pull his hair, whatever. Just beat them. But… when State of Origin time comes around, Andrew Johns no longer is a mongrel bastard who plays for Newcastle. He’s the bloody captain of NSW and a top bloke. Skillful, wiley, just a brilliant player. Great to see my man Nathan Hindmarsh in the same team as the great Andrew Johns. On the other hand, that Shane Webke is a prick eh? Bloody fridge on legs. I don’t like him at all! Smash him boys!!! Bloody Queenslander.
But… when the Aussie team gets picked to go and wallop the Poms, that bloody Webke. Top bloke! Never stops trying. Proud to have him in the side. Go Shane, smash those Poms.

That, my friends is exactly how racism works. It is all about the current perspective and what suits you at the time.
When it suits we are citizens of the world.
When it suits we are Aussies.
When it suits we are part of Asia.
When it suits we are of British descent.
When it suits we are ANZACS
When it suits we are a multicultural paradise.

I have never met a specific race or culture who is not capable of pulling out the race card whenever it suits. The problem is that it stifles genuine debate and the possibility of actually fixing some of our countries serious problems. If you shout down every argument that is not yours as racist, then you are not helping. Some examples of “Aussies inherent racism” were given to me at Darps’ blog today. One fellow said that he had never seen an Aboriginal married to a white person in Australia so therefore we must all be racist. Mate, I lived next door to an Aboriginal chap and his white wife for many years. It is not as uncommon as you think. Another person said that by my treating all races as equal, I was being ethnocentric and therefore was a racist. What the fuck? One person even said that I must be a racist because voted for “the right”. Just what we need mate, sensible debate.
I know it has become fashionable in some circles to be a self flagellator but don’t include me in your guilt trip. The we had the call for an "indigenous" blogger to come in and tell us once more how racist we are because only black people know. IE Black person says white person is racist. Ipso facto... white peole are racist. QED.
While we are talking about Aboriginals. Don’t think that they aren’t as bad as anyone else at this stuff. Many of the tribes are openly hostile to each other for no more reason than their “race” IE My tribe is better than yours. I have personally witnessed the unbelievable amount of diplomacy it takes to get some of these people to just be in the same room as each other, let along carry out a meaningful dialog. This is not a put-down. This just proves they are human like the rest of us. By segregating them into a sub-group of our society that is treated inherently different is racist beyond belief as just does not help. If every problem is looked at through the lens of “it must be whitey’s fault”, then you are missing many opportunities to fix things.
If someone in this country is living in sub-human conditions due to genuine neglect then that is a tragedy and should be fixed. The problem is not a worse one because the victim is black. When you are constantly told that your circumstances are not your fault, then life becomes easy. Any problem you have must be caused by someone else’s actions. Therefore, it is not your responsibility to fix. It might even surprise you to learn that not Aboriginals live under a piece of corrugated tin in Bumfuqnowhere. Not all of them are drug addled fuckwits from Redfern. The vast majority of them lead happy, fulfilled, quiet lives in suburbia, far from the hue and cry of the racist politics of the left. They even marry white folks sometimes Davo! By categorizing them as all being disadvantaged because they are black is racist in the extreme.

I’ll say it one more time for the dummies. It is not something that white people do to brown people. It is not something Aussies do to wogs. It is something people do to each other. If you think that it is an Aussie thing then you simply don’t mix with a wide enough group of people. Go out and make friends with some wogs. Most of them are nice people, just like everyone else. Most of them are capable of being racist pigs when it suits, just like everyone else. You might even enjoy the food. Better than chops, peas and potatoes anyday.


dreamonblackgirl said...

I think it'd be best if you provided a link to the comments left on darp's page and allow your readers to judge for themselves exactly what this Indigenous Australian had to say to you, instead of your warped version of what I wrote.

Also, I think using quotation marks around the word Indigenous shows your complete lack of understanding of what the word means. Here's a dictionary meaning for you.

Gibbo said...

The comment was about the call for an indigenous blogger, not about what you said. I have made no reference whatsoever to your comments. In my haste to get this poste out, I missed a link. Big deal. Does it alter the content or context of the post? No.
Frankly all you have done so far is offer a few lazy quotes straight out of the excuse book and lots of whinging. Your comments simply weren't worth linking to. I could link to the Green Left Weekly if I wanted cliches.
I checked out your blog and it is more of the same. Lots of excuses and whinging. Not a positive word in sight. No solutions, only problems.
I'm starting to think you are a "glass half empty" kind of person!
All of the comments that I left were along the lines that racism is wrong and wasn't helpful in any situation. Somehow this equates to me being a racist! Give me a break. You are so used to labelling everyone who doesn't prostrate themselves in front of your holiness as a racist, that you have automatically done this to me.

I used to teach music. From time to time I would get a kid just like you. Potential but no enthusiasm. I would say to them that to improve, they would have to take some responsibility and do some practice. Some would take the advice. Some would list all the excuses in the world. "I can't practice cause my Mum yells at me/ cause I'm busy/ cause we went out/ cause I played playstation/ cause I was watching TV/etc etc" No matter what encouragement you give a person like that, they always have an excuse. Guess what? They very rarely learn to play their instrument. Potential with out effort is just potential.
A very wise person once said to me, "Gibbo, you can make a life or you can make excuses, but if you make excuses, make 'em good ones. They will have to last you a lifetime."
You can get as angry at me as you like but in the end, if nothing changes then nothing changes.
Lose the excuse book and live a life that makes your enemys envious. Comment here as much as you like, but leave out the whinging.

Gibbo said...

By the way, I checked your reference to the word indigenous and I am now glad I used quotation marks as there is no such thing as an idigenous race in Australia. Your mob came here from overseas like the rest of us. Just because it was a long time ago doesn't change the meaning. Your species did not originate on this continent. If you are going to use a reference you might want to read it first.

Anonymous said...

that darp how person is a cunt. dont even bother going there; you'll just be dragged into a major shitfight.

Gibbo said...

Anonymous, if that is the best you can do then leave it at home. I don't agree with many things on Darps site but cunt is a bit strong.
Feel free to leave a sensible comment but this one adds nothing to the debate.

Darp said...



Anonymous said...

what else can you call someone who sets off stinkbombs in a church then laughs about it on his website? enjoy your new asio file dar.

Anonymous said...

Australia is not a racist country.

Some of those “coons” might think it … and even some of the “wogs” as well, but whatever their perception is, it is a result of their own values and thought processes. Especially those who do not consider themselves ...“Australian ?” … but rather “any other race, that is not white Australian” and refer to their ancestral culture as their race. Despite the fact that they may have been born in Australia and lived here all their life, raised a family and enjoyed the benefits of living in a democratic, multicultural, “economically sound” country and continue to. Including access to support systems like Centrelink, … yeah they all love Centrelink. Even the unemployable, over opinionated, vegetarian, tree hugging, trouble making, progress inhibiting, self appointed representatives of the youthful majority (which they are not!) of this country, love the fact that this country does and will always, support their right to exist equally and have access to the “common – wealth” of this great country.
Let them have their opinions, they are entitled to them! – After all … It has been paid for by the loss of many lives from all races.
Only … they would enjoy their lives a lot more, if they embraced the opportunities granted them in this great country rather than complaining about what "they see" as wrong about it. “Go grab a kebab” – I say, “and watch the cricket”! …you wankers!
THE Nite Man.

dreamonblackgirl said...

Goodness me, you really ARE a silly old bastard.

Gibbo said...

Thanks again for your intelligent input Liv. Not whinging again are we?