As Their ABC and the mainstream media have told us many times, Australians are racist xenophobes with a sub-civilised booze culture and little refinement in the things that really matter. Beer, BBQ’s, beach and bogan ball games are the lower classes’ only interests, meaning they are unable to tell a Sauvignon Blanc from a Chardonnay. No class, no civilised grasp of the cultural relativism their elitist betters have long professed to recognise as key to a happy and untroubled society. That the evidence contradicts this shiny vision bothers its advocates not at all.
Fifty years ago, I was drawn to Australia by the sun, the sand, job prospects, home ownership (an unlikely prospect in my homeland) and the opportunity to be whatever I aspired to be, provided I worked for it. This was exactly what I found in a manly culture (PC: Red Alert!) where ‘having a go’ was all the go. Australia was a land of opportunity, although also wary of foreigners. This latter wariness did not and does not make Australia racist or xenophobic, not by my definition.
These days, admitting to not liking someone who is not white or was not born in Australia immediately draws all the standard and instant accusations — racism, xenophobia etc etc. So, how do we define ‘racism’? Let me start by saying what it is not: Racism is not rudeness or ignorance. I have heard people called nigger, coon, blackie, Jacky, wog, slope, noggie, nig-nog greaser, Itie, Yid, Leb, raghead, Chink, Yank, Pom, Taffy, Ranga, Paki, Jock, Canuck, Spud, Balt, boony, ape, etc, etc. These terms are all related to ethnicity in one way or other, though often obscurely. I have also heard people call the users of such terms ‘racists’, which might be correct in some rare instances but, for the most part, is not the case. Rather, what they are is rude, uncouth and ignorant, or they simply can’t be bothered mastering the strange and inconsistent code that determines if a tag is acceptable or beyond the Pale.
For instance, the English are ‘Poms’ and were referred to as such for many, many years. Recently, however, cricket’s authorities decided that the term is offensive and must not longer be uttered. Most Scots wearily accept that they are ‘Jocks’ and take no great offence, if any at all. But what about Paki or Leb or Jap, three contractions and none of which is these days regarded as acceptable? Why then is Brit OK (even allowing that Pom is not)? Is it racist to contract one nationality but not others? How is man in the street to know?
I read recently that President Obama deployed his executive powers to prosecute a transport company that fired two Muslims who refused to deliver beer, even though they knew when they were hired that it was part of the job.[i] Although Islam is not a race but a political philosophy garbed as a creed, this set me to thinking. Suppose, just for argument’s sake, I had a business and wished to recruit fresh workers. Also suppose that I had considered adding Muslims to the payroll, but ultimately decided against it. They might take time off to pray and inhibit my outfit’s productivity. Males might object to shaking hands with my female customers, perhaps even refuse to interact with them at all. They might demand their own refrigerator in the lunchroom, lest their lunches be contaminated by close proximity to kufar sandwiches. By Obama’s interpretation, none of those reasons would justify placing Muslims at the bottom of my candidates’ list. Yet my problem would be with the complications Muslim beliefs might cause me and my existing workforce, not with Muslims themselves. It is a subtle distinction, but one only professional promoters of multiculturalism will fail to recognise at a glance.
If you are in private enterprise and ignore all of this sensible “bigotry” in your selection processes and hire a devout Muslim anyway, then complications, workplace discord and additional overhead may well be your reward. Were they to be hired and then take issue with some or other “discriminatory” practice — a refusal to install that second lunchroom fridge, for instance — how to explain that to the inevitable inquisitors from this or that equal-rights bureaucracy? No matter how cogent your explanation, chances are it wouldn’t wash. If devout Muslims choose to set themselves apart from the broader society in which they live, is it “bigotry” to recognise the barriers they have themselves erected and, as a consequence, to decide the best policy is avoid them altogether? I think not.
So, what is racism? To my mind the definition is simplicity itself: when someone takes an unjustified action purely on the basis of skin colour, ethnic background, or some other, entirely subjective factor. Over the years I have known several couples who were cut off by their parents for marrying inter-racially. In one especially heartbreaking case, the grandparents have yet to meet their grandchildren, although I know the grandmother yearns desperately to do so. Her daughter has resisted all her mother’s overtures, demanding that both her parents, not just the mother, accept her husband as their grandchildren’s father. As the grandfather will not relent, the stand-off has gone on for over 15 years. Soon it will no longer matter, as the children are nearing adulthood. Being fully aware of the family history, it is most unlikely they would ever agree to meet the grandparents who have spurned their own family. Make no mistake, the grandfather is a bigot and the waves of his intolerance will spread for years to come.
Statistics demonstrate that Australians have one of the world’s highest rates of inter-ethnic marriage, which should put the lie to the claim that racism is in our DNA. Where this does not apply is in certain ethnic communities, a fact illustrated by a recent SBS talk show that saw a well educated, sophisticated Muslim doctor announce that, on the whole, he would prefer if his son married inside the culture, ideally to a first cousin the lad has never met and who currently resides in Belgium.
Of course, such an exclusionary attitude would never be described as bigotry, not by the officially endorsed definition which posits that the “oppressed” and the “alienated” can never be guilty of that offence because they lack the power to impose their will on others. In America, when a black man kills another black man or a white man, it is so commonplace as to be unworthy of mention in the media. But when a white man kills a black man, that is front-page news, and not merely because such events happen so rarely. Rather, those irregular events are presented as proof that white society has its heel on the black man’s throat and will grind away forever. It is the most utter nonsense, but that is the narrative to which university solons and setters of policy adhere. It is the elevation of theory, in other words, above and beyond fact.
Here we arrive at the hollowness of the multicultural myth. As our intermarriage rates demonstrate, Australia does multiracialism very well indeed. But that ain’t multiculturalism, which preaches a brand of warm and fuzzy separatism. We’re all part of the same society, you see, just locked into the boxes of each individual’s group-inherited and racially ordained identity. It would not be drawing a long bow to note that this same attitude was once widely denounced. Surely you recall the passionate protests against apartheid in South Africa? Yet in Australia, even as multiculturalism curses society with artificial and encouraged divisions, we are told that our version of ‘apartness’ is a force for good, that only bigots could ever oppose it.
Once again, the social engineers’ theories trump fact. Note how many women who have been genitally mutilated are treated every year at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital — enough to warrant a weekly clinic, but not enough to warrant more than the rare, the very rare, prosecution. Kid-glove treatment for an appalling crime because, well, it’s part of their culture. Or, to cite another example, recall how Croats and Serbs have duked it out at the Australian Tennis Open, honouring with their fists the generations-old feuds ‘back home’ — a home very few of those combatants have visited. I once watched a brawl in a factory between Greek and Turkish workers over the partition of Cyprus. Admittedly, they were all first-generation immigrants, but if citizens are supported by government policy to form their own enclaves, can there be hope of the next generation being any better?
I have a particular hobby that attracts me to some ethnic clubs, not of my own background. As a result, I have been granted associate membership of a Latvian Club, a Danish Club and the Hakoah (Jewish) Club. I have also visited other clubs and have always been welcome. This is good and well, because these clubs are a place where people of a common heritage can meet, speak their traditional language, eat their own special foods, talk of the old country and play games that other nationalities have no interest in. These clubs were all self-funded and it is unlikely that they will have much influence on a next generation which attends and is educated in secular Australian schools. This is how it used to be and why, back in the days of New Australians, so many children disappointed their parents by not marrying cousins from the village back home (or, these days, from Belgium).
Two things have gone wrong: Government intervention, supported by taxpayer money, promotes separateness, plus the truly bizarre idea that all cultures are equal, no matter how barbaric, backward, sexist, indolent or, generally speaking, appalling. Look no further than Aborigines in many remote communities, where hopelessness is state-subsidised and alcohol is the palliative for wasted lives. The next generation will face the same hopeless future, and the ones after that as well. What would happen to a genius born into such an environment, where learning is not encouraged? Victimhood as the pinnacle of ambition, that’s the real bigotry which patronising, soft expectations produces. What we get is not betterment but excuses and rationalisations, which is only to be expected when we judge others by lesser standards than we apply to ourselves.
Multiculturalism, that’s the real evil. A rational society would have strangled the idea at birth along with the people who dreamed it up and thought it was a good idea.