Australian Racism

19 years ago I became a Canadian citizen. I was sworn in by a Sikh Canadian wearing a turban. It was one of the proudest moments in my life. Canada isn’t perfect, but I have never once heard a Sikh called a “rag head” – which I was shocked to hear when I was last in Australia, only 2 years ago. 

Racism in Australia is nasty. It’s everywhere. Implicitly and explicitly. If you are white in Australia you experience white privilege every day, whether you know it or not.

Racism in Australia is deep, widespread and affects everyone who is not white anglosaxon. Yes seriously, “Real Australians” are better than anyone who:-

  • Speaks with any kind of non-English accent
  • Uses a non-English language ‘in public’ – even a native Australian language for god sake.
  • Is not from a “white” country (Australia, South Africa, UK, Canada, USA)
  • is from non-English speaking European countries.
  • Has non-white skin or features. 
  • Doesn’t follow a Christian religion
  • Has special needs like autism, downs syndrome or cerebral palsy
  • Came to Australia escaping fascism, war or persecution etc.
  • if they were forced to escape on a boat thats even worse.
  • Even if they’ve lived in Australia for 60,000 years – not good enough, and actually – thats the worst.

As an immigrant in Canada I had it easy. I came from a “white” country – Australia. I saw what happened to other immigrants to Canada with more experience and qualifications than me but not lucky enough to be white. I experienced white privilege and I know how lucky I am. But no matter how bad it is in Canada – Australia is worse.

Australian racism is tiered. It is worse for some than for others. If you are from Europe but have white skin, you are almost ok, especially if you learn to drop your accent. Darker skinned Europeans are worse but still not too bad. Asians are probably next- and black skinned people are probably almost ok if they come from the USA, but less ok if they are from Africa or PNG or New Zealand.

But everyone in Australia knows – the Aboriginal people of Australia are at the bottom. Those who came first, who lived in Australia for 60,000 years before the whites arrived, who have their own “Australian” languages and culture, and who had their lives and land taken so that “real Australians” could have a place to live, they are looked down on by everyone else.

All Australians know; white, European, Asian, African, Middle Eastern – they all know they have someone else to put down. Australian indigenous people are at the bottom of the pile. They are abused, tortured and killed by police with impunity. They are treated with disdain, ignored, insulted, manipulated and used. They are ridiculed in public but more in private by people who should know better.

It’s Australia’s shame. I’m ashamed of it. It’s really way past time to start doing something about all tiers of racism in Australia, but especially when it comes to first Australians. 

Why not start with the most meaningful thing that needs to be fixed? Make the change first that will matter the most. 

Indigenous Australian lives matter!

101 Street at 111 Avenue

Update: The city has fixed this! WOW! Sometime in early 2012 it changed (I was away so I don’t know when), I have to give kudos for fixing the problem, but the messages still has to be – think about this in the first place, please!

If you drive north or south on 101 Street through the 111 Avenue intersection you will know what I mean.

Not that I’m saying it’s happening, but is it possible that someone might design an intersection like this to cause fender bender’s? Hypothetically it might be someone who knew someone who worked for an insurance company! Not that I’m saying that’s what’s happening of course, but just trying to figure out any kind of logical explanation for the design (I’ll try to describe it below), it just seems like it’s only purpose is to cause accidents, but not serious ones. I’m just saying …

So imagine if you will, driving in the left lane down the road. The right lane as usual has cars parked, so you usually can’t drive there except during peak hour, normal Edmonton stuff. You approach 111th avenue going South. You’re going downtown. As you approach, slow down, light is red. Ooops – whats going on … this lane doesn’t go ‘straight through’ suddenly you realize that this lane has become a left turn lane. What? Damn! Ok – and a bunch of other people have the same problem – ok now everyone is trying to merge – lotsa unexpected merging. How many fender benders here? Insurance companies- kaching!!! But wait – thats not all!

Ok – you’re merged over, whew! Ok, light changes, into the next lane going south. WHOA what the? After you get through the intersection the lane does this weird wiggle back left to where it was, as if the ‘straight through’ you thought you were on kept going straight through. If you don’t wiggle you hit the guy in the right lane. Bang!, another fender bender, because of the cars parked along the right hand side even during peak hour. Wow – way to cause damage guys.  So – what is that for City Transportation Department? Saved some money? Can’t figure that? Traffic Flow? Dunno? Might have something to do with the buses? Definitely not safety for sure!

I just think the cost of insurance and accidents should be included when ‘costings’ of road decisions go to council!

Bill C-30 Section-34 without a Warrant

Copied and pasted direct from the bill, English and French – find the word “warrant” – anyone?

Paraphrasing:

“An inspector may enter any telecommunications service provider, examine any document or  information and take copies of anything they have without exception and without a warrant.”

Don’t beleive me? It’s right here – you can read it yourself if you don’t believe me – tell me that it doesn’t say pretty much exactly that? Find the word “warrant”? You won’t!  (You can find the entire bill here at the Government of Canada website if you want to check).

Really? And that’s ok with you?

If you don’t agree you might want to sign this petition:

OpenMedia Petition

34. (1) An inspector may, for a purpose related to verifying compliance with this Act, enter any place owned by, or under the control of, any telecommunications service provider in which the inspector has reasonable grounds to believe there is any document, information, transmission apparatus, telecommunications facility or any other thing to which this Act applies.
34. (1) L’inspecteur peut, à toute fin liée à la vérification du respect de la présente loi, entrer dans tout lieu appartenant à un télécommunicateur — ou placé sous sa responsabilité — s’il a des motifs raisonnables de croire que s’y trouvent des installations de télécommunication, des appareils de transmission, des documents, des renseignements ou des objets visés par la présente loi.
Accès au lieu
Powers on entry
(2) The inspector may, for that purpose,
(a) examine any document, information or thing found in the place and open or cause to be opened any container or other thing;
(b) examine or test or cause to be tested any telecommunications facility or transmission apparatus or related equipment found in the place;
(c) use, or cause to be used, any computer system in the place to search and examine any information contained in or available to the system;
(d) reproduce, or cause to be reproduced, any information in the form of a printout, or other intelligible output, and remove the printout, or other output, for examination or copying; or
(e) use, or cause to be used, any copying equipment or means of telecommunication at the place.
(2) Il peut, à cette même fin :
Autres pouvoirs
a) examiner les documents, les renseignements ou les objets se trouvant dans le lieu et ouvrir, directement ou indirectement, tout contenant ou autre objet;
b) examiner toute installation de télécommunication ou tout appareil de transmission ou matériel connexe s’y trouvant et lui faire subir, directement ou indirectement, des essais;
c) faire usage, directement ou indirectement, de tout système informatique s’y trouvant pour vérifier les données qu’il contient ou auxquelles il donne accès;
d) reproduire ou faire reproduire toute information sous forme d’imprimé ou toute autre forme intelligible qu’il peut emporter pour examen ou reproduction;
e) faire usage, directement ou indirectement, du matériel de reproduction et des moyens de télécommunication se trouvant dans le lieu.
Duty to assist
(3) The owner or person in charge of the place and every person in the place must give all assistance that is reasonably required to enable the inspector to perform their functions under this section and must provide any documents or information, and access to any data, that are reasonably required for that purpose.
(3) Le propriétaire ou le responsable du lieu, ainsi que quiconque s’y trouve, sont tenus de prêter à l’inspecteur toute l’assistance qu’il peut valablement exiger pour lui permettre d’exercer ses attributions au titre du présent article, et de lui fournir les documents, les renseignements et l’accès aux données qu’il peut valablement exiger à cette fin.
Assistance
Inspector may be accompanied
(4) The inspector may be accompanied by any other person that they believe is necessary to help them perform their functions under this section.
(4) L’inspecteur peut être accompagné des personnes qu’il estime nécessaires pour l’aider dans l’exercice de ses attributions au titre du présent article.