Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Is Australia Racist?
The question above by SBS is absurdly broad. Of course there are some racists in Australia but who are they and how many of them are there? And what do they do? Do they attack minorities or do they just abuse them? And is it only some groups that get abused? But the story below is just a media stunt so none of those questions are posed let alone answered.
There is however no doubt about the group from whom most racism in Australia emanates: The political Left. They are obsessed with race. See their complaints about "white privilege" and their support for "affirmative action" of various sorts. Both those obsessions single out people for discriminatory treatment solely because of their race. Some people call that positive discrimination but there is no such thing. If you give something to one group, you take it away from another group.
There does appear to have been some attempt at science below -- in that a survey of 6,000 people is referred to -- but were those people a representative sample of any definable population? The research desciption is here and it shows that the research is the sort of lazy rubbish that is all too common these days. It is an online survey. In other words, it got answers from computer-savvy people only and even then it heard only from those who were interested in the topic and could be bothered to answer the questions.
And there have been various occasions when such surveys gave very different answers to more labour-intensive surveys. How representative the survey was is therefore unknown. Its figures cannot be relied on.
And they did not in fact sample racist incidents. All they did was ask what people thought. And ever since the work of La Piere in the 1930's we have known that what people think may not be expressed in action at all.
The survey does however draw one conclusion which rings true: Most of the antipathy was towards Muslims and African blacks. There was no data given on (say) attitudes to our large Chinese minority. Since the Chinese don't wage jihad towards up or break into our homes, I am guessing that there was very little antipathy to the Chinese. In short, people have got good reasons to disapprove of the hostile behaviour that emerges from the African and Muslim populations. If people would like to see all Muslims and Africans begone, that is a perfectly rational fear for their own safety.
The basic premise underlying the story below is that we should not illtreat individuals because they come from a problem population. But we do not. A few exceptional white Australians may say critical things towards various minority members but official policy is not to discrimiate at all against members of any minority. But minority members are unreasonable if they expect people to ignore the bad behaviour of the group to which they belong. People are right to be wary of them. In the absence of a mind-reading machine, there is no way to know whether they are one of the hostiles or not.
And because there is no way of knowing that, the only way to protect ourselves from the outrages emanating from these groups is to deport the lot of them, which is Pauline Hanson's policy. There seems little likelihood that it will soon become official policy, though. Australians generally seem to be willing to tolerate attacks on themselves in order to avoid unfair treatment of innocent minority group members. The rise of Mr. Trump may however suggest that the patience concerned is wearing thin.
One notes that there is no mention below of the appalling behavior emanating from the two minority groups concerned: No mention of what may lie behind suspicion of the group-members concerned. One is apparently supposed to assume that Muslims and Africans are disliked purely because of the evil racist nature of mainstream Australians. Such an assumption is itself grossly offensive -- particlarly considering the large number of genuine refugees that Australia has taken in from all over the world
"Where's your f---ing face? What are you hiding from? F---ing Allah?"
These questions were among the abuse caught on shocking hidden-camera footage of a random hate-filled attack on a young Muslim woman by herself in a shopping centre.
A 50-something white male is seen launching into an angry tirade of abuse against the woman, in a prime example of the extent of the bigotry and hate endured by the Muslim community on a daily basis.
Research has found that a staggering 77 per cent of Muslim women in Australia have experienced racism on public transport or in the street.
The hidden-camera footage is one of many incidents featured in Is Australia Racist?, which aired Sunday night and is an hour-long documentary exposing the random, everyday bigotry and racism endured by ethnic groups across the nation.
The documentary kicks off SBS's Face Up To Racism week, which features a series of special programming putting the spotlight on prejudice in Australia today.
The woman in this incident is targeted because she's wearing a niqab – a veil which covers the head and face but not the eyes – in an attack triggered only by the fact she had the misfortune to happen to cross paths with the abusive man.
Unbeknown to her abuser, however, she's a volunteer for the documentary, which follows a number of people of different ethnicities with hidden cameras to reveal the ugly truth of racism on the streets.
It's the experience of the Muslim woman, Afghan refugee Rahila Haidary, that is the most shocking example in the program and a blunt insight into the vitriolic levels of Islamophobia in current society.
The man is seen approaching Haidary, telling her, "You're in my face like that", before launching into an intimidating attack.
"You're in our country because we helped save you from where you came from, from where you've been persecuted and you wear things like that," he shouts.
She responds by asking what should she do, to which he says she should dress like other Australians and become part of the culture.
She asks how Australians dress, to which the man explodes with rage at his lone, diminutive female target.
"They dress with a f---ing face," he says, gesticulating angrily. "Where's your f---ing face? What are you hiding from? F---ing Allah?"
It's a confronting scene as the man, who is much taller than Haidary, continues his verbal abuse.
"Your f---ing Muhammad? You know he's a paedophile," he tells her.
It's at this point that two women passers-by stop and realise what's happening and start to move in to intervene. The man storms off, adding "f--- off"as he goes.
The whole incident is little more than 40 seconds but its impact highlights the damage that can be done in just a matter of moments.
Haidary, who doesn't usually wear a niqab, is visibly shaken by the experience.
"It's shocking to see that sort of hate," she says. "I can't imagine how those women who dress up like that would get along every day."
It is clear the man did not know he was being filmed. Legally, it's permitted to film people without their permission provided it's in a public space where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.
An SBS spokesman said: "All filming featured in Is Australia Racist? was captured in public spaces and all relevant filming laws have been adhered to, along with SBS's own Codes of Practice, in the making of the documentary.
"The program shines a light on racism and prejudice in Australia today through a series of social experiments capturing racism and the reactions of people witnessing it, through the eyes of those who experience it."
Out of all the poisonous threads of racism featured in the program, Islamophobia appears to be top of the list in current times. The program notes that in 1998, 3 per cent of the population had negative views towards Muslims, now that proportion is 32 per cent.
Worse, as seen in the on-screen incident, the bullying targets women, with 77 per cent of Muslim women in Australia experiencing bigotry in a public place.
Of the 6000 people questioned, it found that one in five people have experienced racism in the past 12 months, with 35 per cent of those surveyed saying they had experienced racism on public transport or on the street.
There are glimmers of hope, however. On many occasions, the hidden footage shows bystanders instinctively intervening when volunteers are targeted in hate attacks.
There's also evidence that the younger generation have much greater support for cultural diversity.
"There are things to be done," says Martin at the show's conclusion. "But it's not all gloomy."
Australians aren’t as Islamophobic as we’re led to believe, says Muslim researcher
It depends what you mean by "Islamophobia". The report by Riaz Hussein below is a reasonable bit of orthodox survey work. He even claims to have used a random sample, though he does not say how it was gathered. At any event, this is the most credible work on the question so far.
His innovation over earlier work is to use five different questions describing five different situations in which a Muslim may be encountered and asking how respondents felt about each one. He combimned the answers into what psychometricians call a "Likert" scale and found that, overall, Australians were not very wary of Muslims. They were wary in some situations but not in most.
There are some things I could quibble about in the work (I would have liked to see more Bogardus-type questions included, for instance) but, overall, it is an orthodox psychological approach and certainly shows that few Australians are really bitter and twisted about Islam. They can be bothered but are not easily bothered. There is certainly no basis for claiming that Australians generally have a "phobia" (irrational anxiety) about Muslims. So Prof. Hussein's work is certainly an authoritative rebuff to the SBS circus.
The big omission of the survey is that questions concerning immigration were not asked. So previous findings that show high levels of opposition to Muslim immigration remain standing. Combining that information with Prof. Hussein's study leaves us, then, with the summary that few Australians are "Islamophobic" but around half of Australians would nonetheless like to see Muslims begone. Muslims really have blotted their copybooks in Australia. They are their own worst enemies
Over the last few months, several reports have indicated a significant number of Australians hold anti-Muslim attitudes. In September 2016, The Australian newspaper reported an Essential poll showing 49% of people surveyed were in favour of a ban against Muslims entering Australia – compared to 40% opposed.
More recently, another Essential poll found 41% of those surveyed supported a Donald-Trump-style ban on people from Muslim countries entering Australia. Another 46% opposed a ban and 14% didn’t know.
Meanwhile, a Newspoll found 44% of respondents believed Australia should take similar measures to Trump’s executive order while 45% opposed doing so. Add this to the increasing support for the anti-Muslim One Nation and it’s no wonder some Muslims may feel unwelcome in Australia.
Anti-Muslim and anti-Islam attitudes displayed in these surveys are largely the result of increasing migration from Muslim-majority countries and fear of terrorism. All this has given rise to a new field of study relating to Islamophobia. Research in the US and Europe shows Islamophobia is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, which is not captured in single-item surveys.
For instance, another recent survey by the Pew Research Centre in the US found Australians welcomed diversity as much as Americans, despite some uncertainty over Muslim integration.
In a survey conducted in late 2015 and early 2016, we used a battery of questions to ascertain Australians’ attitudes towards Muslims and Islam. It is the first study that explored the multidimensionality of Islamophobia in Australia.
The resulting nuanced and comprehensive profile of Islamophobia in Australia actually showed few Australians are truly afraid of those of Muslim faith.
What is Islamophobia?
A 1997 report described Islamophobia as a shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam and unfounded prejudice and hostility towards Islam and Muslims. This included practical consequences of hostility such as discrimination and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political and social affairs.
In 2011, influential political scientist Erik Bleich defined Islamophobia as “indiscriminate negative attitudes or emotions directed at Islam or Muslims”.
Indiscriminate and negative attitudes and emotions encompass a wide range. This includes aversion, jealousy, suspicion, disdain, anxiety, rejection, contempt, fear, disgust, anger and hostility. They also cover the “phobic” dimension, which implies a persistent and irrational fear of a specific object, activity or situation which is excessive and unreasonable.
Multidimensionality makes Islamophobia a graded phenomenon with levels ranging low to high. Islamophobia scales have been developed to measure its prevalence in society.
How Islamophobic are Australians?
The scale we used to measure Islamophobia consisted of seven statements. These were:
Just to be safe it is important to stay away from places where Muslims could be.
I would feel comfortable speaking with a Muslim.
I would support any policy that will stop the building of a new mosque.
If I could, I would avoid contact with Muslims.
I would live in a place where there are Muslims.
Muslims should be allowed to work in places where many Australians gather such as airports.
If possible, I would avoid going to places where Muslims would be.
We randomly selected a sample of 1,000 adult Australians. The respondents were asked how they felt about each of the statements. The five options were: strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree.
To obtain a single summary score, strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree were given scores of one, two, three, four and five respectively.
In questions one, three, four and seven, “strongly agree” and “agree” reflect anti-Islam attitudes. In the other three questions, the same responses reflect the opposite. We reversed the scores for items one, two, four and seven in order to compute the values ranging from one to five. One represents low levels of Islamophobia, while five is high.
These findings are reported in the table below.
Our findings show almost 70% of Australians appeared to have a very low level of Islamophobic attitudes.
But the individual item responses provide a nuanced understanding of the intensity of such feelings and attitudes. We found 20% were undecided about how they truly felt. Less than 10% fell into the highly Islamophobic category.
Pockets of Islamophobia
We performed further analysis to ascertain levels of Islamophobia by state, capital city, gender, age, educational attainment, labour-force status, occupation, political affiliation and contact with Muslims and religious affiliations.
Our results showed Islamophobia increased with age and declined with level of education. On average, residents of Victoria were less Islamophobic than their New South Wale counterparts. There wasn’t much difference in the other states.
Those from non-English-speaking background were more likely to be Islamophobic compared to those born in Australia and those from English-speaking backgrounds. Respondents not in the labour force were also more likely to score higher on Islamophobia.
Capital-city and non-capital-city residence, gender and employment status had no effect. Liberal and National party supporters were more likely to be Islamophobic than Labor and Greens voters, and people with no political affiliations.
Australians who regularly come in contact with Muslims and those who believe immigrants make important contribution to society are significantly less Islamophobic.
So while there are pockets of antipathy towards Muslims, an overwhelming majority of Australians don’t share that antipathy.
An outspoken Chinese man gets away with stating a racial preference
HE’S loud, proud and is a man who definitely knows what he wants when it comes to dating. And Alexander Montgomery makes no apology for what he considers to be the ultimate deal-breaker in any prospective partner — they must be white.
The man who calls himself the ultimate potato queen told news.com.au he refuses to date any other race and will only see caucasian men. “To me white people are the epitome of class and the gold standard of desirability,” he said. “I really feel the white race is the superior one today. I only date white men.”
He said caucasians ruled the global economy and spoke the dominant language. Naturally he believes white men are also more physically attractive.
The Melbourne man insists his view on this is not unique and that he also knows plenty of Asian men who only date white. “I know a lot of Asian guys who are like me,” he said.
“How often do you see Asian guys and white guys together in public?” They’re everywhere.”
The entrepreneur and True Confessions of a Potato Queen author said he knows his views are controversial, and even considered racist by some, but he was entitled to an opinion. “Yes my view is controversial however this is my standard (for dating) and I stand behind my opinions,” he said.
Not only does he believe “white people are superior” but he also thinks “they are kinder and more sympathetic” which is one of the reasons the country has “the refugee problems it does.”
The 42-year-old features in Date My Race, which airs on SBS tonight. The show aims to challenge what we think about what drives their own romantic attraction and connections.
However Mr Montgomery said he didn’t believe his views were racist. “The definition of racism is someone who believes their race is superior,” he said. “I don’t think other races are inferior to me — only that the white race is superior to me.
“Besides it’s not racism, it’s a preference, I am attracted to white guys. “Do you call someone who doesn’t date tall people heightist?”
The show will also ask if racial preferences amount to racism when looking for love and follows Mr Montgomery, three others and show host Santilla Chingaipe on their dating experiences.
In an interview ahead of the program going to air, Mr Montgomery said he believes white privilege is a myth.
He also said while One Nation’s Pauline Hanson’s views on immigration was extreme to some, he was glad “people were speaking out to protect this great country of ours.”
During the show, Date My Race host and journalist Santilla Chingaipe embarks on her own colourblind dating experiment using three participants who all have expressed racial bias when dating.
The results are surprising and when Mr Montgomery is set up with another Asian man as part of an online blind test, the experiment goes exactly as you’d expect. He communicated with another man online, but hadn’t seen his face, and admits there was chemistry.
But things were very different when they met face-to-face. “There was no attraction, as soon as I saw him,” he said. “Attraction plays a key role in any relationship.”
During the show his views put him at loggerheads with Chingaipe who he described as a friend and wonderful lady.
He said an Asian guy had approached him during filming and revealed he had been racially abused in Australia, something he said has never happened to him. “He told me he felt discriminated against and how he didn’t feel at home in Australia,” he said.
“Well you don’t like here, then leave.”
But Mr Montgomery said he learned a lot from going on the show and was constantly challenged by Chingaipe regarding his views.
And while he didn’t change his mind on his views, it did force him to do a lot of reflection about his dating preferences and why he was only attracted to white men.
He said growing up in Singapore and as part of an American-run church, white people were all around him and he looked up to them.
Having dated other races in the past, he said an 18-year relationship with a white man was his best experience and he couldn’t go back on that. “Once you go white, nothing else seems right,” he said.
He also said he is still looking for love and the only other thing he looked for in a potential relationship was someone who was easy going and confident in himself.
[The] refugee deal between Australia and the US has stalled under Donald Trump’s executive order to review America’s migrant vetting processes
No asylum seekers on Manus Island or Nauru have been vetted by Homeland Security yet as officials have not been directed by the US Government to begin the process.
It’s thrown into doubt whether refugees in Australia’s offshore detention centres will be resettled in the US in “the next couple of months”, as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton claimed last week.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo has confirmed the US vetting process has not yet started.
Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo today confirmed the US vetting process was “poised” to begin but had not yet started.
Mr Pezzullo could not give a date of when the Trump Administration would direct Homeland Security officials to begin the vetting process but said it would be in “the foreseeable future”.
Mr Pezzullo rejected any suggestion the deal had “stalled” and reiterated that Homeland Security officials were “poised and ready” to begin vetting once the Trump Administration had reviewed its vetting processes.
It was expected there would be movement to begin vetting “in the next several months”, he said.
“It’s been made very clear and amply clear publicly that the US system has been directed by the US President to put in place revised vetting protocols and systems expeditiously, so I don’t
suppose it’s going to take a long time but that’s a matter for a foreign government of course,” Mr Pezzullo told the senate estimates hearing.
President Donald Trump wasn’t pleased with the ‘refugee swap’ deal in the first place. Picture: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Greens Senator Nick McKim questioned whether the US could simply take none of the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru under the as-yet-unknown US vetting threshold.
Mr Pezzullo responded: “I presume the US potentially could set their threshold so they take no refugees from anywhere in the world.”
“The President has indicated that they’re looking with this program here to take 50,000 refugees, so I assume they’ll have their settings at a rate that allows them to follow through on that commitment,” he said.
Mr Pezzullo said the Trump Administration had indicated it would take 1250 refugees, as announced by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, if they passed the vetting process.
Manus Island detention centre remains an ongoing issue for the Federal Government, now that a deal with the US appears to have fallen through. Picture: AAP/Eoin Blackwell
Earlier this month, President Trump tweeted he would look at the “dumb deal” which had been made between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former US President Barack Obama.
After days of uncertainty, the White House confirmed the US would honour the deal with its long-time ally.
Mr Neumann called on the Immigration Minister to release the details of the deal after Mr Pezzullo’s revealed vetting had not yet begun.
“Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said refugees from Manus Island and Nauru will begin resettling in America in the ‘next couple of months’ but today the department confirmed the vetting process was still on hold,” he said.
“Constant contradictions coming out of the Turnbull Government need to stop.
“The priority must be ensuring those refugees on Manus Island and Nauru who are eligible have the opportunity to resettle in America as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Senator McKim said outsourcing Australia’s responsibility for people who have sought asylum here to Donald Trump has “only created further uncertainty” and “put people’s lives in the hands of an unstable and chaotic American regime”.
“The easiest way to resolve this impasse is to close Australia’s detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru and to bring every man, woman and child here,” he said.
It was also revealed at the estimates’ hearing today that two people trying to claim asylum had been recently deported from the detention centres after having been found not to be refugees.
The two people were deported to Nepal.
Two others had been deported in previous years.
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