Deeply affecting TED talk about the dangers of being a refugee from North Korea, by Hyeonseo Lee. She speaks of going through an identity crisis, of learning three languages to help her move between countries, and the perilous journey she made twice - once to leave as a child, and a second time moving through China and Laos to help her family escape North Korea. She ends by reflecting on the power of kindness from the international community.
The man Lee references in her talk is Australian Dick Stolp, with whom she was later reunited by the SBS show Insight.
Video Source: TEDtalksDirector
- Source: youtube.com
Below is a great post by sunili on “casual racism” in a recent advertising campaign that has thankfully been banned by tv networks. To situate it for non-Australian readers, here’s the background. There is an electronics entrepreneur in Australia called Dick Smith. His company is Australian-owned and his advertising campaigns often rest on notions of patriotism. His latest ad was an attempt to cash in on Australia Day, coming up on the 26th of January. It has caused tremendous controversy because it is based upon sexist and racist “jokes.” The ad features cringe-worthy dick jokes as well as asylum seekers literally arriving on Australian shores. A stereotypical Afghan/Islamic man is handed a Dick Smith’s food product, as Smith says “And the taste is a beauty, why else would thousands be trying to get here?” The “asylum seeker” looks to the camera and says “I love Mr Dickssss.”
Dick Smith has defended the sexism and racism in his ads to the Sydney Morning Herald, saying:
one of the reasons that asylum seekers come here [to Australia] is because we have good food. So I can’t see what’s really wrong with that.
Guess what? Asylum seekers come to Australia for asylum, to escape prosecution and political turmoil, not to eat Australian food specifically and certainly not to help Dick Smith reduce their plight into a racist skit.
The entire ad campaign is offensive and ridiculous, but the asylum seeker angle is socially irresponsible, given that Australia has an ongoing debate about asylum seekers, which are based on fear and racism. Negative stereotypes, including those perpetuated by “jokes,” have a real consequence on the lives of refugees in Australia, including on their employment prospects. Media that replicates race and gender-based “jokes” actually rest on racist and sexist notions, as the humour is a direct interaction with cultural stereotypes.
Sunili has written to the ad director, who defended the Dick Smith ad saying it was not meant to be racist. As Sunili points out, racism, whether intended or not, whether as a joke or as malice, is still racism:
There are two huge problems with casual racism and racist jokes:
jokes that are based on racist stereotypes and the normalisation of casual racism trivialises the huge problem of what you describe “malicious” racism and the harm that that racism causes because people go “oh c’mon it’s just a joke love, get over it!” when the basis of that joke is something that is deeply not funny and terribly hurtful; and
making jokes and then defending jokes that are based on racist stereotypes normalise a harmful practice that has and continues to effect a lot of your fellow Australians, and it gives the really vocal, nasty, malicious element of the community the ammunition it wants to make racist jokes in a nasty, malicious way.
I have discussed the sociology of “unintentional racism” with respect to history and music on my other blog. I noted that the reason why non-white people, particularly those in positions of privilege, are able to claim that they fail to see racism in their words or actions is because racism is institutionalised. It is so firmly entrenched in society, that people claim not to be aware of it, even when they participate in it. This is why whiteness studies are so important: people who belong to a dominant white group have trouble owning up to racist discourses. As Dick Smith says, “I can’t see what’s really wrong” with his unintentional racism.
Check out Ruth Frankenberg’s work on white American women and Margaret Wetherell and Jonathan Potter’s work on racist discourses in New Zealand. These studies show that ordinary folk who see themselves as highly tolerant and forward- thinking citizens actually use racist language and they replicate racist ideologies without being able to discuss this as racism.
You should also read Sunili’s post in full.
Dick Smith is a bit of a tool but he made this ad for his food products for Straya Day and it’s awful and racist and you can google it if you want but I sure as hell will not be linking to it.
I contacted the director of the ad via Twitter and engaged in a bit of discussion about how problematic it was. He responded, firstly by calling me “Sunil”, EPIC AWKWARD TURTLE, but then saying that the ad wasn’t racist because there was no malicious intent to be racist.
This was my response to him.
HT @26pgt for the link to sunili’s post.
- Reblogged from sunili
Last month, 400 asylum seekers were released from detention centres in Darwin, Australia, on “bridging visas.” An estimated 200 of them came to Melbourne. Under the Government’s “no advantage” mandate, these asylum seekers must now find their own accommodation. Many of them have moved into aged care homes, former convents and student flats. Those lucky enough to already have family in Australia can stay with family members. The precariousness of these asylum seekers’ lives is compounded not just by their temporary and restrictive visas and their temporary lodgings, but also by the fact that they are not allowed to work. Instead, they must live off basic welfare payments. This might go on for years, while their applications for permanent residency are under review.
This not only greatly disadvantages refugees economically, but it further delays their on-the-job skills training necessary to get stable employment later on. Community welfare and refugee advocates point out the injustice of this arrangement. Senior Manager of refugee programs at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Hutch Hussein, says:
That will pose some strain on our services. We hope that people will know the services to come to within the community. I know that the sector is bracing itself for that. It’s a difficult time but it also presents a challenge to the sector to demonstrate the need, and reinforce that, regardless of visa status, all our clients are humans who really want the dignity of work and the dignity of services.
Photo and Information Source: SBS News.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Whimsical street art on the corner of Swanston & Little Lonsdale Streets. #melbourne #Australia #streetart #graffiti #art
The Australian state of Tasmania is set to make history by specifically protecting intersex people from discrimination.
The proposed changes to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act will also benefit trans* people. Tasmania was the last Australian state to decriminalize homosexuality, but it is considered the first state in the world to specifically protect intersex people.
Under existing laws if transgender and intersex people experience discrimination in Tasmania they can only take a case under the limited term ‘transsexuality’ which is labelled a ‘sexual orientation’ rather than a gender identity.
In the proposed amendments to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act ‘transsexuality’ will be grouped with the new term ‘transgender’ as ‘gender identities’ while ‘intersex’ will become an entirely new grounds for discrimination.
Zam. Trans* and intersex followers, what say you? Is this a good model?
Just in time for Intersex Awareness Day!
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister of Australia kicking ass and taking names (mostly Tony Abbott’s).
never lost faith in you, all hail Julia queen of the ghetto.
I’m so glad this speech is getting the attention it deserves, Gillard you are a legend!
SBS News features Mark Gonzales, a Muslim revert. He is a Mexican-American who converted to Islam from Catholicism. He is a poet and Professor at Stanford University. He’s in Sydney conducting a series on “leveraging social power. This is an interesting interview, although the reporter indulges in a religious slur, calling Gonzales a “radical” - a term that journalists generally use to put down activists and which has a specifically negative connotation for Muslims. Nevertheless, Gonzales’ story is engaging.
Via: SBS News.
- Source: zeezeescorner
The New South Wales Community Relations Commission has released this video, ”My Muslim Mates Are,” to promote community harmony between Australian-Muslims and non-Muslim Aussies. It was produced in response to the Sydney riots two weeks a go. SBS News reported that 300 Muslims protested against the American-produced anti-Islam short film which sparked outrage around the world. Most of the protesters were peaceful - praying, chanting or holding up signs; but some of the protesters held up signs vilifying the USA and they retaliated violently against the 100 police officers who oversaw the event. SBS News further reported that eight people were arrested, two people were hospitalised after being bitten by police dogs while another 17 were treated in hospital after they were capsicum sprayed, and six police officers were injured. Since then, Islamic organisations were inundated with hate messages. The Australian media reported that text messages were being relayed amongst Muslim youth calling for more protests in Melbourne and Sydney, and amongst Anglo-Australian youth who were seeking to fight Muslims.
The My Muslim Mates Are video has been released just as the Australian Defence Force investigates a series of Facebook messages where a retired Australian soldier and his friends espouse extremist views of violence towards Muslims.
The Muslim Mates video focuses on the fact that Muslims are ordinary, funny, peaceful and compassionate Australians, who are neighbours, friends, colleagues and community members.
Video link via SBS.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Castlemaine Gaol. Built in the mid-1800s to imprison offenders during Victoria’s goldrush, it staged 10 documented executions, the last held in 1876. It was decomissioned as a jail in 1990, having since undergone several transformations: as a hotel, tourist attraction, school camp, conference centre, and most recently as a community radio station. Although it is a Heritage Australia site, the Mount Alexander Council recently sold it, and parts of the gaol will apparently undergo residential development. The location is lovely, but can you picture yourself living in an ex-jail? (Taken with Instagram)
- Source: zeezeescorner
Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim and State Premier Lara Giddings embrace Gay Rights activists Rodney Croome and Matt Hastings after historic same-sex marriage laws passed the Lower House last night.
Activist Rodney Croome said: ”This is a wonderful result, not just for same-sex couples and their families but also for Tasmania… Tasmania is now a beacon of hope to same-sex partners and their families across Australia and to all Australians who support equality and social inclusion.”
- Reblogged from octopusrabies-deactivated201212
Truganinni (1812 - 1876). Often referred to as the last full-blood Aboriginal woman. Treated as a living museum exhibit, Truganinni lived away from country for most of her life, due to Europeans putting her on show. Her and her husband “King Billy” were not treated as human by European peoples, rather as animals to be put on show.