Question: I have a question that was on my mind for a while. I’ve heard from several sources (Austrailians) in the past that Austrailia has a big issue with racism. I’m curious how truthful this is. Austrailia is one of the places I’ve thought about moving to in the past. I would like to hear your take on this, thanks.
Short answer: *Some* Australians are racist. I believe the vast majority are not.
Longer answer: Are there racist people in Australia? Certainly, although I feel, from my own personal experiences, that it is not a common or widely experienced problem. I don’t think that there is an underlying racist trend amongst Australians.
My own ethnic background is probably a good example of this – my father’s father lost 11 brothers and sisters in the holocaust, and my mother’s father served in the German navy. My grandparents all migrated to Australia, had children, who subsequently married. It’s a great example of how the vast majority of migrants to Australia (whether they be ethnically Anglo, Slavic, Germanic, etc.) left behind their “old-world” fights and made modern-day Australia. In late 2005, there were some so-called race-riots in Sydney. By comparison, at around the same time, France also had race-riots. The French riots consisted of weeks of burning cars, attacking police, fully armed riot police, to a point of virtual urban warfare. The Sydney “riots” consisted of a crowd of largely drunken men at the beach on the weekend.
I think that my belief is fairly consistent with Prime Minister John Howards comments at the time:
PRIME MINISTER:…there was a poll that said 81 per cent of people supported multiculturalism and a majority of people – or more people than not – thought that our present migrant intake was about right. Now if there is underlying racism in Australia, if there is, I find it had to believe that 81 per cent of the population would support multiculturalism – the two things don’t sit together.
Multiculturalism means a lot of things, different things to different people, but in its lowest common denominator it means that people believe in diversity and are therefore tolerant of racial and ethnic difference. So if 81 per cent of the population is tolerant and supportive of ethnic and racial difference, then you can’t simultaneously have underlying racism. … there are some people in the Australian community who are racist, but I do not believe the average Australian is a racist, I do not believe that the majority of Australians are racist. I mean why would we have accepted people so well? Why do we practice every day our tolerance and our respect for people?