Tuesday, 9 June 2009

An Argument for White Australia

And here we are ... baaaack to another racial commentary, brought to you by Maria.

I just had to get this in, I read it on a blog which was Muslim bashing. I can't quite figure out why it is that when we get to Muslims, the headlines always start going on about racial intolerance, because Islam's a religion, not a race. but they do. It's like this: Americans, Aussies, Japs, Greeks, and Muslims. Or something like that, go figure.

Anyhow, this was the one about the Muslim school in Camden which is now not going to be built.

Some guy made some weird comment in favour of a White Australia, and this was their not-so-comprehensible argument, let's see if you can figure it out, because I can't and maybe someone else can help me. The guy was called Jim T and obviously doesn't have the wit of TimT, fellow blogger of Will Type For Food, but did befuddle me, which TimT does, often. Just not in the good way.

Jim T started off by saying that he thought multiculturalism was a failure in Australia. It didn't work. He particularly was against Muslims. Why was it, he pondered, that every migrant group except Muslims could adapt to the country they migrated to? Except Muslims! And that's why we really shouldn't accommodate Muslims - worst of the lot!

Then Jim T started a new train of thought. Multiculturalism had gone really bad, and if you thought about it, lots of these migrants didn't adapt that well anyhow. Didn't fit in. So we should stop immigration for "other groups" anyhow, even if they weren't Muslims. Stop the Asians and the Lebanese and the Mediterraneans and ... oh, if you were caucasian, especially if you were British, then an exception was made, you would be allowed to migrate to Australia. Let's stop horsing around though and make sure that migrant groups other than whites did not come to this beautiful country.

Now, pardon me, but I have trouble figuring out Jim T's argument here.

He seems to have two points:

1. We value people who can adapt to whatever land/culture they migrate to, they are the type we should welcome.
2. We should stop welcoming anyone other than the whites, with special emphasis on British whites. Anglo-Saxons that is.

Now, if we're going to put "ability to adapt to land/culture they migrate to" as a group, down to past behaviour, the British Anglo-Saxons have shown themselves to be pone of the worst groups, and certainly one of the worst groups to land on the shores of Australia.

Other groups who have landed on these shores have done much better jobs of fitting in with the existing culture; the British way was to colonise and change the life to what they were used to back home. It's a bit funny when they then object to people being small mementoes and rituals of their life to comfort them when they brought a whole legal system and government structure with them because they couldn't hack it with the natives' way of life.

In fact, the Australian Aborigines who were here before the Britons have had to do much more trying to fit in with the British way of life than the Britons have had to with fitting in with the Aborigines, if you were really honest about it.

And then Jim T's argument is that the British are the ones we want to import more of, and leave the rest out.

Now I can understand he may be very pro-White-Australia - and sure, more English-speaking-Caucasians-used-to-a-Western-Way-of-life he may feel blend in better with the existing status quo once it's laid out for them. But let's get the reasons right - it's not because they're good at adapting to whatever society they go to. It's because they probably won't have to adapt much.

Other people who come out here from countries that are way different from ours often have to learn laws and social protocol and a new language, many have to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life that we have to combined with things like homesickness, and many also manage to do things like have a successful career, make new friends, start families, maintain homes and manage businesses. I think that's pretty remarkable when you consider juggling all that; often some of us are bummed out trying to manage one job and a relationship and can't get it together to get dinner right at the same time! I think a lot of credit has to be given to such people, they are doing it against the odds, and many make a very good fist of it. So they might screw up every so often and they have funny accents? Who the heck is perfect?

By the way, I read a great story recently this weekend in a collection called The Seeds of Time by John Wyndham. It's called Dumb Martian, and it's about a man who buys a Martian and considers her dumb because she doesn't know the language or certain basic skills and speaks strangely at first - can't pronounce certain consonants. And he abuses her. It's obvious as the story goes on that she is extremely bright and given the right stimulus she can learn heaps - it's just that he thinks of her as stupid because she started on the backfoot and she's not one of his kind - he keeps calling her "Dumb Mart". In the end of course, she outdoes him.

A lesson to us all.


JahTeh said...

It's not that long ago that Irish Catholics were on the same footing as Muslims are today. Anglo-Saxon meant white and protestant. Around 1914, being German was a no-go.

I was surrounded by a group of Jehovah's today who couldn't believe I wasn't interested in religion and were horrified that I believed it was the basis of every war ever fought.

Maria said...

Dear Jahteh, I don't know if there is a group that hasn't been vilified in some way - it's horrible that knowing this plenty still do it to others, seemingly blind to the fact that so soon "the shoe could be on the other foot".

Some of the arguments are ludicrous, and the self-righteous makes you want to puke.

I was reading today replies to someone who announced that she was glad her muslim daughter could learn about Islam at school because "now she could learn about her own culture."

People answered back that "this said it all", "what about Australian culture" "what about Australian culture which is based on Christian ethos".

The thing is, I don't see that learning about Islam and learning about Australian culture are mutually exclusive and both can be part of your identity. People who set up a cry of "What about Australian culture?" when someone says they want ot learn about their culture of Islam aren't helping Muslims integrate. You can hold both these cultures within you - cultural identity can be a range of things including nationality, racial background, religion, lifestyle, job, blah blah.

And then all these people who pipe up that Australia is based on Christian ethos as a defence, especially when it comes to Muslims wanting to do or say anything - well it really should be pointed out to them that Australia is a country that has no official religion. And that our cultural heritage comes from many different areas, is ever eveolving, and some of it has roots in or is aligned with Christian values. Some of those parts that you can align with Christian values can also be traced to other religions, superstitions, instincts or philosophical/economic etc principles such as capitalism, utilitarianism, hedonism etc. Whenever I hear someone go on about Christian ethos being the founder of this nation I would like to dong them one but I am too much a believer in basic social etiquette and against the legal and physical consequences for that ... hehe and I'm not religious. I have my own values!