Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Bloody Christmas!

Well, it's that time of year again when us public servants all wind down & take a little time off. I can't wait for the knock off bell actually!

In the spirit of the season I would like to leave you all with the following message (an oldy but a goody):

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice( with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others or their choice not to practice such traditions at all).

* Furthermore, I offer my (non-binding) best wishes for the onset of the generally accepted calendar year of 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make Australia great. (Which is not to imply that Australia is greater than any other country.) These wishes are offered without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

* This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no others, is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish expires within one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

Have a great Christmas folks and we will see you all here bright and early in 2006.

Love and kisses, Gibbo.

Repost: Racism for dummies.

I wrote this last year around this time but it seems as relevant as ever these days. here it is again for your singing and dancing pleasure...

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.