I love a racist country …

… a land of sweeping generalisations about people with different coloured skin, different cultures and backgrounds, and different language groups. And a willingness to condemn/bash these people for being different.

cronulla_bashing

I was at the Queen Victoria Markets, a cultural icon in Melbourne, doing the usual thing and going about my shopping when I came across a t-shirt stall selling amongst other offensive items, one black t-shirt with the instructions;

“If you can’t speak English, don’t dribble shit to me?.

Real nice — an assertion of the superiority of those that speak English and a complete devaluation those that don’t. 

Following the outbreaks of mob violence and repugnant nationalism (does that imply that there are displays of nationalism that are not repugnant?) on Cronulla beach, December 2005*, there was a lot of ‘soul searching’ amongst Australian politicians, and the media about whether we are, in fact a ‘racist country’. Whatever that means. 

I didn’t start writing this to consider whether or not we are a racist country — I think that is a rather pointless topic. We are a widely varied culture that has a history of racial and cultural discrimination, and elements of that persist today. No questions about that. And there are also no questions about whether or not such cultural tendencies should be condemned outright. 

I was very disappointed and offended to find this t-shirt in the QV markets, which for me are a fine example of the benefits of multiculturalism. So many of the people that work at the markets are of a diverse migrant background, and without the migrant community in Australia you would have no boreks, bratwursts, and the deli section would be seriously tedious. 

* This was a good opportunity to find the stunning pictures of the Cronulla violence. The one above was the one that struck me the most. That is mob violence: circling a single man and kicking the shit out of him. The SMH gallery is worth looking at, and there are a fantastic set of photos at Flickr, posted by Warren Hudson. In passing, the role of the Australian flag and the association of Australian nationalist sentiment with this struggle against the ‘invasion’ by the ‘Lebs’ is one of the (many) things that bothers me about all this. My little brother has an Australian flag. I dont know why, or where he got it from.

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