Archive for the ‘racism’ Category

Taint misbehaving

August 29, 2012

Having a convict ancestor is quite the thing in Australia now. There’s even a society for descendants of the very first ones, the First Fleeters – the aristocracy of convicts. It’s a perverse kind of prestige.
When I was growing up in the 60s, through, it was nothing to be proud of. The index cards in the state library were regularly thinned-out by people who surreptitiously ripped out the card that proved their convict ancestry. Having a convict in the family was called “the taint”. There was even a suspicion that it might be a hereditary defect.
Kate Grenville Guardian 18 February 2006

This is an authenticity bid, isn’t it? Between the 60s and now whitey has had to admit he (and she) nicked the land. And have been joined by “waves” and “floods” etc of “foreigners”, that is to say, not white – or at least European – like us. So, being able to trace yourself back to the “real” lot becomes a mark of respectability. FFS.

Put out dirty old Flags!!!

July 1, 2011

Ha ha ha.

Mitchell read out the (foundation of the Northern Territory) proclamation: his wife tugged at the flagpole rope, and a less than pristine commonwealth flag was run up. A new one was available; it had been made for the occasion by Chinese tailors in town, but the White Australia activists of the North Australia League were so enraged by its provenance that they had threatened to boycott the event if it were used.
White Elephant Territory
Weekend Australian Review April 9-10 2011
Nicholas Rothwell

Racism schmracism

September 11, 2010

This, about Australian racism, is good-

Our tradition of fear and loathing on these shores began with the first European arrivals. Presently, in 1788, a British fleet ferried human refuse across several oceans to fulfil Jeremy Bentham’s vision of a thieves’ colony in the empire’s back yard. Enlightenment visionaries got their continental panopticon with its seas and wilderness in place of walls, and an uber-gaol in place of decommissioned battleships on the Thames scooping the overflow of full prisons.

Our forebears called Port Jackson a penal settlement. If founded today, it would be a ‘detention centre’.

And then this-

We enlightened Australians might like to think we left xenophobia behind with the days when we couldn’t buy bok choy at the supermarket.

Hanson and her heirs know otherwise. They know our fear of the Other. We heard Pauline’s bleating demands for quasi-parental explanation and her claims of Asian invasion by stealth. Could it be that Australian racist statements reflect fear and loathing in the soul: ghosts of our mongrel past and geographical illegitimacy? Lacking the midwifery of independence war myth-making, we were a foundling country, abandoned where we didn’t belong, and fearing the Other all around us: in the outback, the Pacific and Asia.

No wonder this essay was “Highly Commended by the judges of the 2010 Eureka Street/Reader’s Feast Award.”