Sunday, 20 February 2011

Racism in Australia

So I was walking down Oxford St last night when some random guy blurted out "Konichiwa" at me.

I instantly turned and shouted "Fuck you dickhead!" as he was walking away.

Now I'm really not sure whether this was the right thing to do or even helpful at all. I was allowing someone to get a rise out of me with just a simple, ignorant, off handed remark, and in my haste and anger I had a go at him. I got home fine, that was the end of the encounter, but what if he'd taken serious offense to that and I'd ended up bleeding in a gutter?

And if it's my aim to try to educate people that racial slurs etc are not acceptable in our society, yelling out swear words at people in the street surely isn't the right way to go about it. Is it just because I'm racially Chinese and I've grown up in Australia? Have I become over sensitive to racism because of Australian society's entrenched racism? (I can just point at the Liberal Party's abhorrent stance on the recent boat accidents and funerals, or point at any talk back radio fear mongering . . . or the fact that pretty much all mass market media in our country is 100% white dominated).

I'm not that sure what to think or what to do on this matter . . . A little vision on the back of my head remembers Inglourious Basterds, where a crazy American soldier carves swastikas into Nazis heads so that they'll never be able to live it down . . . but that's absolutely crazy. Surely people who are simply ignorant of the pain they cause can be educated . . . they can be shown that people are people . . . regardless of what they look like or where they came from. Surely . . .


  1. Actually, I think "Fuck you dickhead" was entirely appropriate. Just the right level. He probably thought you didn't speak English. Then to hear it said in an obviously Aussie accident was probably more than enough. I have trouble believing he was from Sydney.


  2. I don't cope racism on Oxford Street - but I do cop plenty of verbal abuse for being gay. It share the dilemma; you want to get home safe and a witty retort isn't going to educate someone or open their mind, but maybe next time they'll think twice about whether or not the person they're trying to intimidate is really going to be scared of them.