How racist is it in Australia? A perspective from people who have moved there would be useful...

(229 Posts)
netsuke Fri 08-Feb-13 10:08:34

We are a mixed-ethnicity family and we have been considering a move abroad for some time now (feels like we have been talking about it for years!). Because of DH's job prospects Australia is probably the best choice and it is also the one DH has his heart set on. I have always had misgivings about OZ mainly due to the treatment of the aboriginal people; I think things like that resonate in a country's psyche but DH is quite blase about it. He is the dark skinned one (and our sons) and I am worried he is not taking the threat of racism seriously. He thinks that because he has handled himself ok in UK all these years he can face anything but I have been reading different forums and getting a conflicting picture about the racism in Oz ...can anyone give me a idea of what it's like there please?

EspressoMonkey Tue 12-Feb-13 22:53:54

I spent 6 weeks in Australia ten years ago, with my then DP who is mixed race. We experienced quite a few racism incidents.

A couple of guys in a bar in Sydney cornered me when DP went to the loo and asked me why i was dating a "coffee boy".

Then our diving instructor joked that i was with DP "because black men have big di*ks".

Then when filling in a form for a hotel, DP was asked his profession was and put Dr (he was a junior Dr at the time) and was then told not to lie! When DP protested his innocence the guy replied, "not many black guys make Drs".

lisianthus Thu 14-Feb-13 08:20:54

"It is a bit absurd to think racism only exists if people openly admit to racist motives behind their actions."

Well, yes, that would be absurd, Flatbread. That's why that isn't the point that I was making. What I was trying to say, not clearly enough it appears, was that it wasn't at all clear to me that there was any racial motivation behind exoticfruits being waved through the line at the airport. The reasoning seemed to be that "the customs people were nice to me. I am white. Therefore they must be racists, because Australia is a racist country and the customs people are Australian."

This was a bit of an eye-opener for me, because as I said, I am part of a mixed-race family. We have traveled back and forth between the UK and OZ many times in the last decade, and never have the customs people been less than courteous and professional. The assumption of racism seemed a bit rough on what was quite possibly a decent person trying to do his or her job and go home.

And no, exoticfruits, I am sorry but I have no idea why you were waved through when other passengers weren't. You said you are young and able-bodied (without young accompanying children?) so it wasn't age or infirmity that drove the gesture of kindness. I wasn't there and I have never worked in that area so don't know how they make decisions. I'm not saying there definitely wasn't any racism there, just that on the facts given it's a bit of a leap unless you are assuming that they were racist purely because they were Australian.

lisianthus Thu 14-Feb-13 08:24:58

Hell, maybe he saw you coming along after he thought he'd sorted the last of the queue, thought "bugger this, I'm already going to miss the first half of the footy, I'm off home" and waved you through because of that. I have no idea what was going through his or her head. But neither does anyone else.

netsuke Mon 01-Apr-13 22:52:37

I am sorry I have not been back to this post. Had to deal with some things in RL. Thank you to everyone who gave me so many different and varied perspectives on this. It has been very useful to me.

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