Monday, 1 June 2009

Just Because I'm a Native English Speaker...

I think Australians forget sometimes that I'm a foreigner too. For some reason, people here don't seem to think it's inappropriate to talk about the things they don't like about immigrants in front of me. Over the past week, I've heard the following negative things about immigrants from various cultural backgrounds:
  • They can't speak properly
  • They're lazy and/or unintelligent
  • They move too slow
  • They smell

It reminds me of being back in the US, and being in a group of whiteys who thought it was ok to make black jokes, although I almost find it more insensitive in this situation, as if I was black and people are making black jokes in front of me...or something to that extent. I speak up sometimes, but it gets real tiresome.


Laine Moore said...

at the Drag party on Saturday some lady was talking about how crap America was (to me) and how the swine flu is our fault, etc. etc. So I said loudly, "I know I freaking hate Americans." You can imagine the look she gave me when she realized I was American lol.

Russ has this to say (happened last week): I was talking about traveling and going to America and this guy at work goes, "I don't know what it is but I just can't stand Americans."

Then another coworker said, "you know Russell's married to an American." made me laugh

Muddiah said...

Yeah, I'd say tolerance is a trait lacking in many. Guess being subjected to intolerance should fortify the quality in yourself; and that's a good thing!

A Free Man said...

Australians are scarily racist. Have you been hearing the news about the Indian students in Melbourne? I'm not surprised by that, I've overheard and been in conversations with dozens of Aussies about 'foreigners'. The melting pot is at a simmer here.

Anonymous said...

Just as a lot of Americans in Australia like to generalise about Australians, Australians like to generalise about other cultures. It's not necessarily racism, but it definitely is prejudice towards other cultures. Have you not noticed that Americans and Brits also come in for criticism, that includes all the white ones as well? As for discrimination based on that sort of prejudice, you'll find very little. The only people who really have a hard go of it in this country are Indigenous Australians, and even there the intermarriage rate between them and the rest of the community is extremely high, which would suggest it's not all that straightforward.

Suzer said...

Anonymous, it is racism, plain and simple. There is no such thing as excusable racism simply because you'd rather call it stereotyping or prejudice. And yes, I do hear comments about Yanks and Poms. There is definitely discrimination in Australia based on where one os from, how one looks and speaks, and while indigenous Australians do have an extremely hard go of it, shockingly so, they aren't the only ones.

As to the other anonymous commenter whose opinion I happily oppressed, if you haven't got anything useful to say, don't bother in the future.

Suzer said...

I think I accidentally rejected rather than published Arizaphile's comment:

Yea sorry, I just don't get this. There are just as many inarticulate, lazy, slow and smelly Australians as there are immigrants with these qualities :-). Sometimes I think Australians only count people from Eastern Europe and Asia as immigrants ie you aren't really an immigrant because you're American.Who knows. Avoid these bigots anyway.

Muddiah said...

When it comes right down to it, I think intolerance is a sign of ignorance and fear. You really have to get to know a person in order to form an opinion, and when you do, you can accept or reject said person based on personal qualities and not some external trait.