Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Multicultural experiences / Are you multicultural or are you Australian?

Topic: Are you multicultural or are you Australian?

  1. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    26 March 2018

    I’ve been pondering for a while about the whole ‘multicultural’ notion.


    We often hear ‘multicultural people’ or ‘multicultural experiences’ etc but what exactly does that mean?


    I am from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, (was born and raised in a non-English speaking country), like the 46% of our population. However, I never think of my self as ‘diverse’ or ‘multicultural’. This is a term other people have created to describe me and my experiences. I am me. A human being like everyone else.


    The term ‘multicultural’ often implies ‘different’ or ‘diverse’, but different from what or whom? Well, clearly, from the white-Anglo Australians.


    So, my experience has been that in Australia today we have the dominant or mainstream White-Anglo culture and the ‘multicultural’ culture - anything and anyone who doesn’t fit in the white-Anglo category.


    The reality of course is that the white-Anglo segment of the population is also part of the whole ‘multicultural’ society, even if it’s the dominant one.


    This is never viewed in my opinion, its proper light, perhaps for political reasons and the hidden racism that still lurks in the background of today’s mainstream culture.


    Interestingly enough, even non white-Anglo Australians have come to accept this white propaganda and every time I hear them refer to ‘Australians’ they connote ‘anglo’. They usually say I’m Greek or Turkish or Maltese etc. - and any reference to ‘Australians’ seems to indicate ‘the others’, ‘the whites’.


    This of course has created an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality which stems from the remnants of the ‘white australia’ policy and the ‘melting pot’ days.


    So, who is really an Australian? What makes you true blue Aussie? Is the woman covered in burqa from head to toe who’s been naturalized three decades ago an Australian? And if so, equal like the fifth or sixth generation white-Anglo neighbors of hers?


    Often, you’ll find that this is not the case. I propose that it’s time to scrap the labels, erase the terms and start treating all people of Australia with equity despite their looks, skin color, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion etc


    How does that sound?

    5 people found this helpful
  2. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    26 March 2018 in reply to white knight

    Thank you White Knight,

    I believe this represents a big number of people. Of course a 5th or 6th generation Anglo-Australian is also the descendant of migrants like everybody else. Being here longer doesn't necessarily make one more 'Australian'. All, apart from the Aboriginals are migrants. All Australians originate elsewhere. The fact that one group is bigger in numbers or has been here longer doesn't exempt them from the whole 'multicultural' society. English is one part of the many (200+ ethnicities and more than 135 religions - All Australian).

    Many soldiers from diverse backgrounds have fought in the various wars and defended Australia. Our army, like our police force and our doctors, politicians, judges, teachers etc is made up of many diverse people from various backgrounds - ethnic and religious.

    When you say 'Regardless, we still on the whole welcome migrants', who do you mean? Who is 'We'? Your ancestors also choose Australia for their new home fleeing persecution from England, so I don't really see much difference here. For the Aboriginals the English are the 'boat people'.

    Did the English assimilate when they arrived in this continent or did they bring their own customs, lifestyle, gods and traditions etc with them? Did they respect the hundreds of existing nations in this continent?

    Lions, Rotary, Scouts and Bunnings sausage sizzles are great community groups and provide social connectedness for many, however, I know of numerous anglo-Australians who have never participated in these. This can also be a generational thing. Also, a Greek coffee shop, a mosque, a tai chi or soccer game etc are equally Australian; as equally as the Lions, Rotary, Scouts and Bunnings sausage sizzles.

    When I cook pasta, I don't think that I am eating 'foreign' food...

    You talk about 'the traditional way of life here'. The only traditional way of life would be the aboriginal way of life. Anything else is an add on...no matter when exactly it became 'part' of Australian society.

    All I'm trying to pin point here is the ridiculousness of this 'Us' and 'Them' notion. No one is doing a favour to anybody else by accepting them in this country.People work very hard and make their own living, like thousands upon thousands of others, no matter what background they're from, simultaneously offering lots as well.

    Not sure how people prove their allegiance to this continent. I'm sure though that if we ask an Aboriginal, the story we will hear will be very different.

    5 people found this helpful
  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9366 posts
    26 March 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi Donte

    Very interesting discussion.

    I would like more involvement if migrants into our anglo based society. Its been ok the last 60 years but could be better.

    Similar I'd like greater acceptance by anglo based sectors in encouraging migrants into our lives.

    Tony WK

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    26 March 2018 in reply to white knight

    Yes White Knight,

    I agree.

    There's lot of potential for integration and interculturalism. It takes time. It's a process. And not everyone will love footie etc. tastes vary and involvement in community life is dependent on many variables. Hopefully, forums like this one help to get the ball rolling...

    4 people found this helpful
  5. blueskye
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Hong Kong
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blueskye avatar
    67 posts
    30 March 2018 in reply to Donte'

    I was born in Australia so I am an Australian legal-wise.

    However, I feel like a multicultural person because of some racist remarks since growing up here.

    My partner is a white Australian and he has never experienced racist remarks like I have. No one has ever told him to "go back to your country!"

    I have also been mistaken as an international student several times.

    Personally, I prefer the word "ethnicity" compared to "race".

    With "race", I feel alienated. What race am I? I'm human, just like you.

    I hope that one day, I can celebrate Australia day feeling like an Australian.

    6 people found this helpful
  6. Quercus
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Quercus avatar
    3544 posts
    30 March 2018 in reply to blueskye

    Wow what a debate.

    Don't worry Blueskye. I don't celebrate Australia Day like everyone else either. Because the whole idea of flags and fireworks and debate over whether it is disrespect to Aboriginal People makes me feel like it has lost it's meaning altogether.

    I am who knows how many generations Australian (probably came here on a convict boat I suspect). And yet I don't see how getting drunk and wearing the flag is celebrating our country.

    On Australia Day we take the kids out to the bush. Or for a family picnic. To celebrate the fact that as Australians we have that luxury. We are safe and lucky compared to a lot of the world.

    I think Tony's worries are common to white anglo Aussies because many don't want Australia to change. It is FEAR. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown.

    My view is a lot of this fear exists because we are losing the sense of community. How many of us don't know our neighbours?

    When you take the time to meet and talk to people in your community you begin to see they aren't so different at all. Everyone just wants to be safe and free and to give their kids a good life.

    My neighbours have probably been told to "go back home" many times. And they are so incredibly hard working! The husband works non-stop to give his kids better than he had. At Christmas their house is the highlight of our street. Best of all is seeing the kids set up tents in the front yard to camp out. Or walking the dog and beong asked how the house sale is going. This family are a benefit to our community regardless of how anyone judges them.

    One day Blueskye. One day I hope you realise you belong here too.

    4 people found this helpful
  7. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    30 March 2018 in reply to blueskye

    Hi Blueskye,

    Indeed! There is only ONE race. The human race. And of course we are ALL Australian in this continent. And we are ALL multicultural. ALL of us: white-Anglo people who have been here for generations, European people, Asian people, African people, Indian people, Aboriginal people etc etc...

    The 200+ ethnicities who call Australian home, (including the white-Anglo people who are not excluded from the rest), together with the hundreds of Aboriginal nations make up the PEOPLE of Australia: the Australians.

    Interestingly enough, for the Aboriginals, we are all ‘foreigners’ and migrants. We are all ‘boat people’. So any sense of entitlement of course is not based on reality.

    For Political reasons of course, the notion that the white-Anglo children of migrants are different to the rest of the migrants has been perpetuated for decades to maintain that sense of white superiority and emphasize the dominant culture. Nevertheless, the fact remains: white-Anglo Australian are part of the whole multicultural fabric that makes up the Australian society today. Even if they are a Big part, the biggest part; they’re still A PART.

    I emphasize this because the notion that the ‘multicultural people’ are different to the white-Anglo people is a very damaging and destructive one and leads to discrimination, marginalization, racism and disadvantage. It is an undercurrent of racism that stillpetmeates every level of our society in Australia.

    Until the local mosque, the synagogue, the Hindu temple, the Aboriginal sacred site, the Orthodox Church etc is seen equally as the city Catholic orAnglican cathedral and an integral part of our culture, there will be this ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mentality.

    We have been so brainwashed for years that even culturally and linguistically diverse Australians have come to believe that they’re not as equally Australian as the white-Anglo counterparts.

    I believe it’s time for multiculturalism to move towards interculturalism - where each cultural group (including the white) learns and shares and integrates with each other and towards each other. I’m talking about ‘glueing’ the puzzle pieces together until they become ONE picture. It will take a few more centuries I know, but it will happen for sure.

    Like eating pasta today is not considered ‘un-Australian’, I’m liking forward to the day when a woman prime-minister in burqa, who’s also a lesbian or transgender with a disability will be considered a normal Australian person. :)

    5 people found this helpful
  8. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9366 posts
    30 March 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi all,

    Donte, you said "I’m liking forward to the day when a woman prime-minister in burqa"

    I'm sorry, I cant agree with this. Am I racist? I don't feel so. Fear isnt racism its fear only. But I have expressed in the recent past that there is an imbalance in our multicultural society in that there is clear intention of many cultures that arrive here to congregate among themselves and not assimilate.

    Can we imagine what would happen if I, a 5th-6th generation white anglo aussie arrived in any Arab country and ran for prime minister? How many meals would I sell from my café in Tehran...my Aussie food café? How easy would it be for a bunch of Aussie's to arrive in Athens and declare a new housing estate is for Australian Christians only? Would it not appear that a part of Greece has become a mini Australian country within Greece? Back in Oz where we are now seeing "Islamic" housing estates popping up complete with mosque in the centre how at home will I feel if I built a house there? Are we building a Yugoslavia that with Croatians and Serbian neighbours that never ever worked?

    Why aren't muslims assimilating? There is some good news. Many of us unfairly condemned Vietnamese "boat people" in the 1980's for not assimilating. Yet they have!! and none of my friends now look at Asian appearance as unAustralian, not at all. In fact we are intrigued as to their contribution towards this country by way of food, education and appreciation.

    So, hopefully muslims will eventually assimilate and I assume they will. My concern is the radical element within that religion.

    I understand the idealistic drive to be so wholly multicultural to marvel at a Islamic prime minister just as USA did with their first black president. But an Islamic prime minister is different to an aborigine prime minister or Prime minister of Asian extraction or Kiwi. I think my fears are justified due to the situation of conflict and tension in the Middle East. There, it has never fixed itself. The greatest mediators in the world haven't found peace. I think its optimistic to suggest a few centuries before a muslim prime minister comes along here. I don't think it will happen ever and if it does it will be a sad day for this country unless...hopefully... Aussie muslims have developed a far more integrating and appreciation for multiculture than their home country residents.

    Until then I live with my fear...of the radicals, not the non radicals.

    Tony WK

    3 people found this helpful
  9. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    30 March 2018 in reply to blueskye

    Hello Blueskye,

    I arrived in Australia at 18. I’m now almost 50. Had most of my life here. Have all my career here. My home. Fell in love here. Grew old here. Got married here. Had my daughter here. This is home for me and I love it. I have only been back to my country of origin twice in those 30+ years and very briefly. And I am not homesick or ever wanting to return.

    I feel Australian. I am Australian. Only I get called Wog and ‘what’s with the accent?’ and reminded by others that I’m different; but different from whom? Different from what? Who’s the ideal Australian benchmark? Surely not the white Anglo-Australians.

    To me this is important topic because it impacts on identity and contributes to mental health issues as a result of discrimination and marginalization. Exclusivity and superiority has no base in reality and is as harmful and damaging as ethnocentricity and nationalism or religious fanaticism.

    Personally, I often laugh when I hear some remarks people make about me. But it hurts sometimes, after all these decades, and reminds me of the hostility that still exists in a society made up of 200+ ethnic groups and more than 135 religions.

    If some people feel superior or more authentic Australians because they are not migrants themselves, but rather, offsprings of migrants, and if the length of time and number of generations makes you truer or better Australian, then no one beats the Aboriginals. They are the ones who have been here for thousands of years.

    4 people found this helpful
  10. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    30 March 2018 in reply to white knight

    Hello WhiteKnight,

    Fear is a terrible thing. Not a good way to live and definitely doesn’t contribute positive to our wellbeing. Many people are afraid. Afraid of change. Afraid of something different than them.

    When the first white people started arriving in Australia, there must have been a lot of fear that the Aboriginals felt.

    Indeed, the white invasion, and the genocide that followed altered their lives, their culture, their land permanently.

    Since then, people have never stopped arriving. Lots of different people. And many people who have arrived before them now feel threatened and are afraid of the unknown cultures and groups.

    There’s nothing new about this. Just different times, different groups, same fears.

    The natural thing to do when one goes to a new place (even for a holiday or temporarily) is to find others who speak the same language and have similar belief systems; not out of lack of interest to integrate or stubbornness, but rather as a comforting, natural thing which makes them feel not so alone and vulnerable.

    Muslims make 0.02% of Australia's polulation, hardly the dominant culture. In Greece, where I come from, there are two whole states in the northern region where the population is Muslim and speaks Turkish. Only, they are Greek citizens. We also have mosques built in various parts of the country.

    Christianity, Judaism and Islam are quiet frankly the three religions with the exact same root! - Abraham.

    Christianity took over the world with holy wars and crusades etc in order to establish itself as a dominant religion and that wasn’t any different to Islam or Judaism.

    Bottom line, change is inevitable. No religion is better than another. No ethnic group is better than another. Even if it is the dominant. Even if it invaded this continent much earlier.

    Muslims may not ‘assimilate’ - integrate is a better word - simply because they haven’t been here long enough.

    Why don’t we all learn aboriginal and make it our national language? Change our flag? Become a republic? Etc etc the questions and the reasons are endless.

    Did the white-Anglo Australians ‘assimilate’ to the aboriginal culture or did they try to exterminate it? No difference.

    As for the ‘radical element’ of Islam, I don’t think it’s very different to fundamental Christianity and let’s say KKK. But we don’t blame the grandma down the street who goes to mass for radicalization.

    We indeed have a long way to go. Only I don’t choose to live in fear until we get there.

    4 people found this helpful
  11. Quercus
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Quercus avatar
    3544 posts
    31 March 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hello everyone,

    Donte' I couldn't help but wonder... When someone calls you a W... (I don't like that word) does it feel as horrible as being called a "Non Indigenous Australian"?

    I only started encountering that phrase in the last 5 years or so and it makes me feel really rubbish.

    Australia is my home. I was born here. I don't have citizenship anywhere else. And this is the country am connected to spiritually and emotionally. So being called a term which implies I don't belong here hurts just as I'm sure being called a W hurts you.

    I wonder if the expectations and needs of all Australians are just so wildly different that it makes it impossible to agree on this topic. For example as I understand it there are many different languages/dialects within the Aboriginal culture. So English makes sense to me as our national language regardless of the Aboriginal People being recognised as the First Australians.

    Could you maybe explain how you want this thread to progress? I can see the topic here becoming very distressing given all the valid but different points of view. Do you want us to relate our responses to a mental illness point of view?

    Thanks 😊

    Nat

    1 person found this helpful
  12. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15552 posts
    31 March 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Nat, a great point you make and well said.

    Best Wishes.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  13. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    31 March 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello Nat,

    Thank you for bringing our attention back to mental illness and wellbeing.

    This is a very big topic and open to various interpretations. It’s great to hear all the different points of view.

    We all learn from what we share. Ultimately, if something stimulates our thinking process and help us analyze a point of view, it is beneficial for all, as we learn to see something with different lenses. The main aim of course is to explore how all this - identity, labels, ethnicity, nationalism, religion, politics, media, education, attitudes, propaganda, history, upbringing etc impacts on individuals and groups, affecting mental health and/or perpetuate negative notions that are not helpful to our recovery.

    I think if we all keep in mind this core aim of the thread it will help us to explore within those parameters and navigate our thinking processes accordingly as appropriate.

    Looking forward to more views. This is great input.

    Thank you all

    4 people found this helpful
  14. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1612 posts
    2 April 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hello all

    Interesting thread. My view, simply put: from a mental health perspective we all need a sense of belonging in our country to be healthy.

    You can't get up everyday to live your life feeling like you don't belong in Australia. To feel as though the deck is stacked against you every time you apply for a job, housing or attempt to make a social connection, is no way to live. To feel judged and rejected in the wider community is soul-destroying.

    If people feel this way, regardless of where they originate from, we shouldn't be surprised when this causes mental health conditions or worse, crime and social issues within our communities. Nobody wins.

    The horse has already bolted. Our wonderful country is multi-cultural and we have to make it work or we will all pay a heavy price.

    6 people found this helpful
  15. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
    • beyondblue Connect is a FREE service that puts people living in Victoria's Greater Dandenong community, in touch with mentors. They can support your wellbeing and help you achieve your goals.
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    3 April 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello everyone,

    Wow! what a discussion to be having.
    Donte' thank you, so eloquently and correctly explained in all of your posts.
    At the end of the day it is as Donte' so rightly expressed 'the human race' and this means that we are all of the same fabric and consciousness.

    I used to get called a Wog too, but that's ok because it is like everything else, things depend on your personal perception and how you view it from your eyes.
    The term to me distinguishes me as different in a good way because I choose how it should be viewed by creating my own experiences.
    I choose not to view 'Multiculturalism' or 'Australian' as separate and distinct thus creating antagonistic relations, I view them as being a rich part of history and culture to which one may identify with.

    I am Australian Lebanese, I love my country Australia and have lived, worked, educated and been raised and I raised a family in Australia however, I do have a background that I identify with and don't want to forget that I did come from somewhere else too.
    I also love the country of my origin, it is rich in art, culture and historical significance and I am proud that I have more than one language and am well versed in Australian and ethnic elements.

    It is important to start looking at everything as 'one' and not separate.
    Why are we so good at looking at the wholistic perspective of the individual and all other systems that can connect and move seamlessly so that our individual and complex systems operate in tandem and offer us health and wellbeing but somehow we don't think it applies when it comes to situations of background, race and identity.

    Hayfa

    3 people found this helpful
  16. Just Sara
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Just Sara avatar
    3398 posts
    3 April 2018

    I just want to clarify something; the term 'Aborigine' is no longer used and can be perceived as derogatory. 'Aboriginal' describes a person with an 'Indigenous' background pertaining to the original peoples of that land. In my area it's called Wiradjuri country.

    There's a difference between being 'invaded' and legal immigration. Let's be frank ok. England's attempts to 'migrate' into Tasmania was an absolute holocaust!

    Please, please respect and acknowledge the original owners of this country and their descendants as being separate from your points. Indigenous culture doesn't compare to migrant assimilation or multiculturalism; it isn't even remotely similar.

    As for mental health, indigenous Australians have the highest rate of MH disorders/illnesses in the country and a mortality rate we 'all' should be ashamed of.

    I've found this argumentative discussion really offensive. If my views seem shocking, it's because they are! Until we can effectively deal with what's happening on our own turf, immigration/migration needs to be thought about far better than what it is.

    In all these posts, not one person has identified what 'multiculturalism' is or their own interpretation.

    Indigenous sacred sites depict 'sacred stories' passed down thru generations to teach and keep alliance with the land; their Mother, and is in no way reflective of religion. It's their cultural heritage of successful survival in a harsh land, not a statement to white's and others.

    In line with this argument, if you come onto my property and disrespect me, my religion or my culture, I'll do my best to throw you out or call the authorities to help me. If you try to assert your views or culture onto me while there, you'll be told in no uncertain terms to leave. Isn't this what happened in the past and what's happening now?

    I don't speak for the whole country ok, and neither can you. So let's just keep on topic and discuss mental health as a priority.

    Respectfully;

    Sez

    5 people found this helpful
  17. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1612 posts
    3 April 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Hi Sez

    I like these types of threads because I enjoy the variety of views that are shared and the spirited debate--I don't always agree with others' views but I respect their right to say it and it's always interesting to learn more about why people think the way they do.

    I do not, however, enjoy upsetting people--far from it. I am sorry that you have taken offense to our discussion and I apologise for anything I said that caused you hurt.

    I really need to re-read the thread, whilst trying to put myself in your shoes, before making further comment. I have to go and cook dinner now but I will think about your question--my interpretation of multiculturalism--and your views and come back later.

    5 people found this helpful
  18. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    3 April 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Hello Sez,

    Thank you for the clarification and distinction made between migrants and aboriginals.

    This is the first time that I hear that the term aboriginal is offensive. I remember reading somewhere a while ago that we should not use the term ‘indigenous’ as this is a made up term from the government to describe aboriginals but mostly it is a universal term which doesn’t distinctively apply to Australian aboriginals.

    Apologies if I have offended or upset aboriginal people or anyone else. It wasn’t my intention. I love and respect the aboriginal cultures and have particular interest in the dream time.

    When it comes to ‘multiculturalism’, I view it as a mixture of the various of cultures including white Anglo-Australians (currently the dominant culture and the largest group numerically speaking), the rest of 200+ ethnicities living in Australia and the First Nation people who I wouldn’t wanna exclude from the rest.

    We all live here. We all call Australia home. We all migrated here at some point in history (including the aboriginal migration thousands of years ago according to many anthropologists). I see it as a timeline, where various groups have migrated to this continent and have made it their place.

    In regards to mental health, we all respond and react very differently to the issues depending on our viewpoint, our spirituality, ethnic background, age group, sexual orientation, social status, finances, employment, education, environment - the suburb we live in etc.

    Misplacement, migration, isolation, the feeling of being different and not belonging are universal experiences that impact on all, whether you are a stolen generation or a migrant or a refugee.

    This is of course only my view and as I’m aloud to hold it so is everyone else who may see things in a different light.

    We all learn and grow and evolve as we share.

    The aboriginal people are under the nine special needs groups and a government priority like the LGBTI people, the culturally and linguistically diverse people, the homeless, the veterans, the remote and isolated people, the disable etc

    We all have certain needs and are vulnerable and/or disadvantaged in some way and one size doesn’t fit all.

    So in terms of equity, and in terms of accessing services and supports that are relevant to our needs in regards to mental health everyone in this multicultural society needs to be able to seek help and find appropriate supports that are relevant linguistically, culturally, spiritually etc

    5 people found this helpful
  19. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1612 posts
    3 April 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Sez

    For me, multi-cultural Australia is a place where no citizen or group of citizens is other than Australian and all should be treated fairly.

    Multi-culturalism is about an Australia where you respect other people and they respect you. Where we all cherish Australia and make it our very own place, home. It’s about a country where people can bring their skills, energy, hard work, laughter and dreams—and leave behind their scars. It’s about understanding that no matter how long we have lived here, if we originated elsewhere, we are all newcomers. It’s about reading our history and understanding the sadness of Indigenous people.

    In short: multi-culturalism is the freedom to be ourselves.

    To my mind, it includes everyone in our great land. Critically, it goes hand in hand with human rights. The effect on our mental health when our human rights are violated may vary but we all suffer. I think this is why Donte started the thread and I applaud her courage to initiate the discussion.

    These are just my views and I'm no expert, so I'm happy to keep the discussion going and to learn from others.


    4 people found this helpful
  20. Just Sara
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Just Sara avatar
    3398 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer;

    I meant no disrespect to you or your views. Your post (to me) seemed in a different light to those above which felt as though a'them and us' flavour was developing.

    Yes, healthy debate can be insightful. The problem is, that people on this site are combating disorders that can be triggered thru conflicting views; my own included.

    I should've addressed my concerns to specific individuals. I apologise...

    Sez

    4 people found this helpful
  21. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    So beautifully said!

    I just want to say that I believe we should also share our scars because they have made us who we are and there’s no shame in having them; on the contrary we should be proud of them. X

    1 person found this helpful
  22. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 April 2018

    As stated on this website under ‘Our work within multicultural commubities’ - ‘beyondblue acknowledges and respects the diversity of communities across Australia, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Australians.

    beyondblue also recognises the complexities of identity and that people may identify with more than one community.

    Our task is to strengthen understanding, capacity and practice to reduce the impact of depression, anxiety and suicide among multicultural/cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. We will do this through tailored and collaborative approaches.’


    1 person found this helpful
  23. Just Sara
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Just Sara avatar
    3398 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Thankyou Donte' for your reply;

    Asking people to distinguish between multiculturalism and being Australian is separatist thinking. It can't realistically be one or the other. I really feel you should've explained things better in your original post.The name of the thread alone is conflicting.

    To address your last post to me; the term I referred to is 'aborigine', not 'aboriginal', the former being a noun and the latter an adjective or proper noun. And yes, all indigenous cultures worldwide are indeed aboriginal.

    It's more an archaeological determination than a nationalistic one as they were deemed part of the flora/fauna when discovered by Europeans who had no pluralistic goals in mind.

    Your opinions about original Australians migrating here being similar in nature to legal immigration is imo misinformed. Australia was only made a Federation 200 yrs ago; Aboriginal Australians migrated here 60,000 yrs ago. They are the oldest surviving culture in the known world and have done so 'despite' our presence.

    You wrote;

    "The aboriginal people are under the nine special needs groups and a government priority like the LGBTI people, the culturally and linguistically diverse people, the homeless, the veterans, the remote and isolated people, the disable etc" This statement took my breath.(Like LGBTI people?)

    Many Aboriginal Australians suffer these very same issues as part of their culture! Homelessness, substance abuse, child sexual assault, suicide, remote rural/isolated communities, some of which are linguistically diverse in their own right and their numbers of mentally disabled are rising dramatically.

    Again, I have to completely disagree with you Donte'. Quoting statistics might seem advantageous, but it's analysing and interpreting those stat's that's important.

    Do you realise that Aboriginal Australians are at a 'much' higher risk for diabetes, dialysis and heart disease (independent of co-morbidity factors) than the rest of the population?

    And...

    'In 2008 sensus, nearly one-third (32%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 years and over had experienced high/very high levels of psychological distress, which was more than twice the rate for non-Indigenous people' per ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

    I think this says it all.

    Respect;

    Sez

    3 people found this helpful
  24. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Thank you Sez for the clarifications.

    Infeed, I am learning a lot from what you are saying.

    I particularly would like to say that you have highlighted very nicely the fact that people go across the various ‘Special needs’ categories as an aborigine can also be homeless, LGBTI, living in remote areas etc. This is something I have highlighted in a past thread.

    I had also written about ‘combination stigma’ and how it impacts on our mental health in another thread which may be worth reading.

    I also acknowledge that not all aborigines are vulnerable or disadvantaged. I have an aborigine friend who is a PHD professor and lecturer at various universities across the country who is by no means disadvantaged or vulnerable.

    Similarly with culturally and linguistically diverse people or LGBTI people; just because you identify with a certain group doesn’t necessarily make you disadvantaged or vulnerable.

    Please excuse me if I haven’t expressed my thoughts in a better manner. English is my third language and still often translate things in my mind.

    What I understand from your posts is that we cannot put aborigines in the same ‘boat’ with the rest of the special needs groups or the mainstream Australians. And that aborigines have higher risks associated with health and mental health and quality of life. If I have understood correctly, then I have to say that I don’t disagree with you.

    The title if my thread is endeavoring to bring attention to the fact that the dominant Anglo-Australian culture tends to view multiculturalism as ‘the otger’, excluding themselves from it. It is the Australians (white-Anglo) and the 46% of the population - the multicultural. In my view this is impacting on the mental health of the culturally and linguistically diverse populations and perpetuates stigma and racism.

    This section of the forums is dedicated to the ‘multicultural experiences’ but I believe aborigines are also part of the whole population and I don’t differentiate between white-Anglo Australians, migrant culturally and linguistically diverse Australians and aborigine Australians.

    My belief is that we are all Australians no matter if we were born here, or our ancestors have migrated 60,000 years ago, 200 years ago or 60 years ago or 5 years ago.

    This is something I formed through my experiences since I became Australian 30 years ago and is constantly morphing as my knowledge increases. Nothing is set in concrete.

    Thsnk you for contributing to my learnings. X

    3 people found this helpful
  25. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1612 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Hi Sez

    Thanks for your post and the reminder about triggers.

    I'm really appreciative of the way you have shared your knowledge throughout the discussion. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has learned something valuable from your posts. I just hope that you are okay and that the discussion didn't take too much of a toll on you.

    Warm thoughts to you

    5 people found this helpful
  26. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
    • beyondblue Connect is a FREE service that puts people living in Victoria's Greater Dandenong community, in touch with mentors. They can support your wellbeing and help you achieve your goals.
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello everyone,

    I want to say thank you to everyone for your amazing and valuable contributions to this discussion.
    As the project coordinator and contributor to the original design of this forum, I feel that this is an important discussion that should allow the different point of views.

    Apologies if some content may be distressing to some readers but this particular warning is also highlighted under the heading that introduces this forum space.
    The aim of the Multicultural Experiences forum is to engage in discussions on topics that are related to multicultural people, children of migrants and/or mixed cultural heritage. The topics that people will choose to talk about can be varied and interesting and ultimately the discussions will touch on well-being even if conversations about mental health are not at the forefront of conversations such as is the case in other places in the beyondblue online community.

    When creating the forum it was recognised that discussions about mental health issues may probably not be at the forefront of conversations since mental health literacy in most multicultural communities is not high, hence the decision for allowing discussions about a diverse range of experiences and opinions on those topics, and giving people a space to share about mental health impacts if they desire.

    I feel that there may be other occasions where certain threads may strike a chord with some people and I welcome you to please contribute and respond if you feel you need to.
    This discussion has taken place with respect and continues to do so. In order to learn more by understanding different views especially where they sit in the multicultural experience and Australian experience it is integral to allow for the different point of views.

    Even if we are not at times stating anything implicit about mental health conditions, we are supporting people in their events that have given rise to any mental health impacts such as anxiety, stress or depression.
    There are other posts in this forum that are about mental health and many such as this one about particular topics. Sometimes being introduced to a different perspective can also be good and helpful to alleviate any anxiety, concerns or stress that may be currently held about a topic.

    Hayfa

    6 people found this helpful
  27. Just Sara
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Just Sara avatar
    3398 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi again Donte';

    I'm really sorry to harp about this, but I feel you're still missing my point about terminology. So I'll paste my original paragraph and highlight the word I'm talking about.

    "I just want to clarify something; the term 'Aborigine' is no longer used and can be perceived as derogatory. 'Aboriginal' describes a person with an 'Indigenous' background pertaining to the original peoples of that land. In my area it's called Wiradjuri country."

    In your last post to me you used 'Aborigine' many times. I understand you're being respectful, but still seem to misunderstand the information I posted. I'm sorry I didn't express myself clearer.

    Nationalistic topics can flare up sensitive issues for people of all cultural backgrounds including white Australians. What I found concerning was the 'air' of defensiveness this thread encouraged. Feeling as though we need to defend ourselves is really uncomfortable, especially when validation is a large part of recovering from MI.

    So for the sake of what this thread 'could' address, these are my views;

    Cultural identity for white Australians is a touchy topic. Our history as a nation is only 200 yrs old and laden with terms such as, Aussie Battler, Digger and Mate. We identify by a number of generations in this country, not by a particular set of cultural standards.

    We struggle to describe what being Australian really is too. Do you understand? We feel like displaced descendants of convicts! Especially when reading some of the comments above; it's like having it rubbed in my face.

    I personally don't have any connection to my great, great grandfathers homeland. It was never spoken about or referred to. Unlike other cultures, we're lost in a multicultural explosion of food, colour, fashion, language and familial tradition.

    When I was a little girl, I wanted to be like people on TV who 'knew' who they were. I didn't have a white Xmas or traditional clothing to wear at certain times of the yr; I felt bland.

    This affected me very deeply. I gravitated to boyfriends from other cultures to experience some semblance of integration; just to taste something other than meat and 3 veg.

    I hope this helps you understand me/us better.

    Respect;

    Sez

    4 people found this helpful
  28. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9366 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hi Donte

    I agree with Sez when you compare early UK settlement to migration of recent decades, there is no comparison. Its like you make such comparisons to justify your views.

    Re: you wrote

    "Many soldiers from diverse backgrounds have fought in the various wars and defended Australia. Our army, like our police force and our doctors, politicians, judges, teachers etc is made up of many diverse people from various backgrounds - ethnic and religious.
    When you say 'Regardless, we still on the whole welcome migrants', who do you mean? Who is 'We'? Your ancestors also choose Australia for their new home fleeing persecution from England, so I don't really see much difference here. For the Aboriginals the English are the 'boat people"

    "We" are the present occupiers of this country. You dont "see much difference"... I do and we all have different views on this topic which makes it divisive. I, like quercus, wonder what benefit this discussion has towards mental health. For it does contribute towards mental confusion and hurt.

    Tony WK

    4 people found this helpful
  29. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Thank you Sez,

    I actually understood the exact opposite from your previous post, i.e. that aboriginal is not used anymore and I should be using Aborigine. I'm so confused in the midst of all this political correctness that sweeps this country currently. Every second week there's a new term that groups come up with and the rest of the population has to be aware about it and catch up....sometimes I feel I have no time to breathe before a new change happens. Apologies, didn't mean to be rude but yes, I totally missed your point. Sometimes I'm so distressed myself that I feel like throwing in the towel quiet frankly....

    4 people found this helpful
  30. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 April 2018 in reply to white knight

    Hi White Knight,

    Thank you for your question,

    The benefit to this discussion is that views like the ones you have expressed have contributed to my personal mental demise and developing a mental illness as they still make me feel like an outsider; someone who still struggles to belong forty years later; but due to my skin color and accent I'm constantly reminded that I am not good enough;... not completely Australian and don't I dare compare myself to the white knights of this continent! So yeah, very hurtful indeed and divisive. This is the whole point of this thread that you seem to be missing still. :)

    4 people found this helpful

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up