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Forums / Multicultural experiences / How do You Respond to Racist Remarks?

Topic: How do You Respond to Racist Remarks?

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. blueskye
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    67 posts
    6 January 2018

    I never understood that people were being racist to me when I was younger. I remember going into the car when my Mum picked me up from Primary School, and I was singing "Ching Chong China".

    My Mum told me to stop singing and told me it was racist. What's racist? Not too long after, I learnt what it was.

    ** How do You Respond to Racist Remarks? ** a third party watching it unfold in front of you? or having it happen to you?

    As a third party, I feel awful. I can see the victim's crushed face and I know exactly how he/she is feeling... because I have had it happen to me.

    I have retaliated before and shouted back at the bully to shut their mouth, but it was useless and seemed to add fuel to the flames.
    I have tried to think of something mean back... but I couldn't think of anything about Western people.

    When racist remarks are said to me, I feel utterly awful and ashamed of who I am.

    But then I remember that the bully is the awful one and there is nothing wrong with me.

    Some example of racist remarks that have been said to me:

    - Go back to where you came from! You don't belong here! It's our land.
    - Your eyes are Ching Chong. Can you even see?
    - You Asian people are taking our jobs and land. You need to go back.
    - Asian girls are submissive! That's why I like them!
    - There are too many of you Asians. You guys need to die out.

    3 people found this helpful
  2. Ggrand
    Community Champion
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    9803 posts
    6 January 2018 in reply to blueskye

    Hello Bluesky,

    It saddens me that this once again is starting up again , I am well a mature aged person. When I was in primary school it was a large school it would have been mid 60s, our school only had Lets just say "Western people" Approaching high school we had a quite a few European students, we were actually in awe of them we didn't tease call names etc to these students, we actually embraced them, we had someone from another part of the world here in Australia we befriended each other and we learnt off them their culture, food, etc.

    Fast forward to over 30 years, I'm now working in a factory with 3 different nationalities working there, we the westerners got on well with both the other nationalities, without a problem,

    It was my job to teach the new girls were how to operate the machinery safely, to my amazement most of the girls/women that had been recently employed by the company I worked for couldn't even speak a word of English...This made it difficult for me so my first goal was to teach them English and then the machines, I enjoyed teaching these people to learn and had a lot of fun with laughs along the way..

    Ok The other Nationality not Aussies started to be mean and hurtful to the other nationality , because they had English speaking friends who need work badly, They thought it wrong to give a non English speaking person a job. The company couldn't do nothing in the way of dismissing anyone because of the anti discrimination laws.

    Over time the problem makers all left, in the end I was the only "Aussie" left in the factory with over 25 workers all from some part of Asia. I had so much fun and made some great friends.

    I think imo that it's only recent times around 10 years that this is starting to become a problem, with so much unrest in the political world. It's sad really as we are all different with different ways of living we can learn so much and we really already have with the different types of restaurants, clothes, foods ect. About time all people lived in unity.

    kind thoughts


    1 person found this helpful
  3. J.M.12345
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    46 posts
    7 January 2018 in reply to blueskye

    Hey blueskye!

    Thanks for raising such an important issue. I'm so sorry you've had experience with racism and bullying. Unfortunately, it is a growing problem in Australia and around the world too. I agree with GG that it's most likely worsened due to political unrest and tension. Following 9/11 the world became scared to embrace new nationalities. In the media, racial profiling when reporting crimes makes it worse. Our inherent fear of the unknown may be the root cause.

    How do we deal with it?

    I firmly believe in the "show them what you've got" approach - channel that anger into studies, into sports, hobbies, art etc. Write about it, talk about it, succeed in life.

    In saying that, if you are consistently having to deal with racist remarks in a job environment for example or from the same person, it's crucial to show them that it's not okay by reporting it to the relevant institution e.g. HR at a job. Stand up to yourself by telling them to "STOP", clearly and assertively, and that you will not tolerate these remarks. Bullying and racism is very detrimental to one's health. If it comes from a friend who wouldn't stop after being told that you will not tolerate, dump the friend. They're not a friend.

    These are the sort of steps I'd take if confronted with racism.

    Unfortunately a lot of racism can be under the surface though and not direct. For example, an indigenous man X sits on a bus near a non-indigenous person Y. Y gets up and leaves, with a disgusted facial expression. This is racism at its worst, but you can't exactly point it out and confront them directly.

    In those cases, I'd go back to the "show them what you've got approach". Also remember that it's not a reflection of you but more so a reflection of them - of their intolerance and closed minds.

    Let me know what you think of this and thanks for sharing this topic.

    xx Josette

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    10 January 2018 in reply to blueskye

    Hi Blueskye,

    I can't say that I have experienced racism the way you describe, however, even though it sound horrible I would stick with the comment you made:

    But then I remember that the bully is the awful one and there is nothing wrong with me.

    I always believed that if someone has a problem, it is indeed their problem and they'll need to deal with it. I can't change who I am. And if who I am, is an issue to them, then they'll need to develop strategies to cope with this. the only thing I can do is make sure I look after myself and be safe. Keep reminding this to yourself. :)

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
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    18 January 2018 in reply to blueskye

    Hi blueskye,

    What a very valid and important post!
    I am sorry to hear of your experience, I empathise because I have had that happen to me many times growing up here in Australia and a few times in my adulthood too.
    Upon migration in the 1970's, my parents went into small business and I remember moving around the State so many times in my childhood because my dad was constantly buying a new business after selling a current one. My siblings and I lived in the houses attached to the back of these shops and this is where we had many experiences that shaped our lives and who we would become, we made social and business connections, we learned about the commercial world and how to run a thriving business etc. Unfortunately, we also learned that we were not accepted by everyone wherever we went, my family and I endured many harsh racist remarks by customers in our business such as those you describe blueskye.
    I remember thinking in my teenage years that I would never have a future, that no organisation will accept me no matter how hard I worked or what credentials I had because I am a 'wog'. I use this term with pride actually because not long after my teenage years along came Nick Giannopolous with his remarkable 'wog' movies and stage shows, he said that ' we are taking the power to use that word out of their hands'.
    All of a sudden it became wonderful to be a wog and to belong and everyone who wasn't a wog wanted to be one because a certain air of prestige suddenly came into being.

    Look around, how many Asians, Europeans, Africans and Middle Easterners are in high esteemed and successful positions both here in Australia and around the globe. Who is contributing to keeping the economy here alive in the business sector and tourism sector just to name a few.
    We have great reason to be proud and to keep up our achievements, these are the reasons that some people view us with envy and suspicion thus expressing so with a racist remark.
    It's not your problem, it's their problem!
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger was a common phrase my late father used to say often to me. I started to use the racist remarks as part of my life goal strategy, it made me stop and re evaluate how to improve my life so it could be better and healthier for me and I knew that many around me wouldn't like to see me succeed so I made sure I did.
    Take those negatives and turn them into your positives.


    2 people found this helpful
  6. Donte'
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    18 January 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hi Hayfa,

    What you describe, even though not my experience, is something many children of post-war migrants have experienced from what I'm hearing.

    I often have heard of similar stories from Greek and Italian children growing up in Australia in the 60s and 70s.

    Personally, I arrived in Melbourne in the late 80's so I haven't experienced this as at the time of my migration it seemed that the Greek community was already well established and accepted/integrated into the mainstream.

    Other communities though from diverse backgrounds who followed in the migration waves have had similar experiences. I believe that it is a matter of time before a certain community becomes integrated and not seen as a 'threat' by the mainstream.

    Nowadays no one seems to worry that pizza or souvlaki or pasta are not Australian foods for example. It's true that by the time I arrived in this country, the negatives had turned into positives and being a 'wog' was looked upon like something exotic and desirable.

    This has been my experience mainly. People sometimes still comment on my accent or my looks but always on a positive manner it seems. I think I missed that era. I also arrived as an adult so didn't go through the school age years here. I can't say that I have ever being victimised but I understand that this has been the experience of many. This is terrible, no matter where it happens and no one should have to be subjected to harassment and discrimination. I only hope that well-established communities of migrants can help and support the newly-arrived communities nowadays to establish themselves in this country and not go through the same hardships.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    18 January 2018 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello Ggrand,

    Some beautiful points in your response.

    We are all part of what we call multiculturalism. The white-Anglo Australians included. Everyone has culture and contributes to the diversity of this society. We all have equal rights and responsibilities.

    We all migrated here at some point in the history of this continent, no matter if it was thousands of years ago like our aboriginal Australians or last month like the latest newly-arrived refugees or migrants. It is a timeline and this country wouldn't be what it is today if it wasn't for the waves of migration that made it the nation that we all love and enjoy being part of.

    Keep up the good work. Let's all pitch in to help each other out and further develop this beautiful nation of ours. :)

    1 person found this helpful

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