Category Archives: Racism

Serena Williams has lost and we should all rejoice

When Serena Williams loses, we should all rejoice. And more so when the loss comes as she is heading for a major achievement.

Serena is so wrapped up in herself that she was describing the calendar Grand Slam which she was trying to achieve as a “Serena Slam”. Can anyone be more egotistical?

Thankfully for all humanity, an Italian player by the name of Flavia Pennetta got in the way of Serena’s ambitions and dumped her from the US Open.

We should be all the more grateful to Pennetta because if she had not thrashed Serena, then the latter would have equalled the record of the great Steffi Graf. And that should never happen.

Williams is an obnoxious individual, as bad as the Australian Nick Kyrgios.

On the other hand, it would be difficult to find a more gracious champion than Graf. For years the German dominated women’s tennis but never behaved as though winning was her right.

In 1988, Graf thrashed Russian Natasha Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in the final of the French Open in 34 minutes – the shortest and most one-side Grand Slam final on record. And Zvereva had beaten Martina Navratilova en route to the final!

Yet Graf was low-key at the presentation. She did not laud it over Zvereva, she did not indulge in triumphalism. One shudders to think of the way Serena would have carried on in such a situation.

Serena is often said to be one of the better women’s tennis players of the modern era. That may well be true. But she is also an ugly example of American arrogance, someone who can never be wrong, someone who carries a chip on her shoulder that is even bigger than her behind (and the latter does take some beating).

In 2011, when Williams met Australian Samantha Stosur in the final of the US Open, she was soundly beaten – but made her own news by behaving like a buffoon.

When she was rightly penalised for shouting during a point, Williams unleashed a tirade of abuse against the referee.

She has form in this regard. In 2009, she abused a Chinese lineswoman in racial terms. She was on the losing end that time too.

Whenever she is asked about her ugly behaviour, Williams always has the same excuse – she was in the “zone”. Whatever that is. She claims that she cannot remember what she did. It serves as an excuse for the vilest displays of bad behaviour.

But American officials always go easy on her. Perhaps they are scared that she will play the race card if she is levied a fine that is proportional to her stupid outbursts. For her outburst in 2009, she was fined a pathetic $US10,500. In 2011, she was asked to pay $US2000.

Such fines are not a deterrent. Williams earned $US1.4 million from the US Open in 2011. When officialdom reacts in this way, it is practically inviting her to behave in a similar fashion in the future.

Abbott ratchets up the fear factor to boost poll standings

When a prime minister has discovered that only one tactic — ratcheting up the fear factor — helps to boost his poll numbers, and his poll standing is desperately low, what does he do?

Tony Abbott has made a profession of demonising asylum-seekers and Muslims and pretending that the world faces an existential threat from the terrorist Islamic State group.

In recent times Abbott has gone back to similar tactics. First, he engineered a “request” from the US, for Australia to join in air strikes on Syria.

It was trumpeted as the US asking Australia to join. Not as it really happened.

This is a disgraceful thing to do, showing clearly that Abbott does not mind sacrificing young lives – the men and women of the armed forces – in order to prolong his political life.

And then the farce of the Australian Border Force informing all and sundry that it would be taking what amounts to Stasi tactics on the streets of Melbourne to detect visa evaders and violators added another dose of fear too.

Of course, Abbott denies he was involved in this exercise. So too does the immigration minister, Peter Dutton. The whole thing is put down to a badly written press release.

One needs to keep in mind that Abbott is on the record with an extremely reliable politician, Tony Windsor, as saying that he (Abbott) would do anything but sell his arse to become prime minister. This memorable quote was made to Windsor during the time when neither Labor nor the Coalition had the numbers to form government in 2010 and the support of three independents, Windsor among them, was desperately being sought.

If he was willing to do anything to gain the prime ministership, is it any wonder that Abbott is now trying anything and everything to avoid defeat in the next federal election?

Australia still feels guilty about stealing the country from the Aborigines

More than 200 years after white people stole the Australian continent from its Aboriginal owners, they still feel threatened when there is a public display of black culture.

Nothing else can account for the reaction of people after Aboriginal Australian Rules footballer Adam Goodes broke out into a war dance after kicking a goal last Friday. The dance came during one of the games in the so-called Indigenous Round, when the Australian Football League celebrates the contribution that Indigenous players have made to the game.

Leading the way in decrying Goodes’ wonderful gesture was Dermott Brereton, one of the great players of the past, but a man with a dubious record when it comes to racism on the field. Brereton said the celebration was outdated. “The significance of these war dances is they come from another era and they are significant in the fact that it’s between two tribes who do it before they go out and kill each other. Is it a great thing to have in this day and age? I don’t think so,” he said.

Of course, nobody highlighted the fact that the same Brereton has confessed to racially abusing Aboriginal player Chris Lewis in the 1991 grand final. This is where he is coming from. That he would not like such a dance is not surprising.

And then there was Eddie McGuire, one of the many closet racists who are in a position to spout their opinion. McGuire belongs to the “I am not a racist, but…” school of thought. His reaction to Goodes’ celebration was typical.

“We’ve never seen that (celebration) before and I don’t think we ever want to see it again to be perfectly honest, regardless of what it is,” McGuire said on air at half-time. Who exactly is McGuire to decide what people want or do not want?

There is a massive mantle of guilt still hanging over Australia and white people do not want to be reminded of the genocide which was indulged in when the country was occupied by the British on the pretext that it was terra nullius or empty space.

That fiction was exposed in 1992.

When Aborigines and others whose skin is not white stay out of sight and generally observe the white man’s norms and customs, it is all fine and dandy. But try stepping out of that chastity belt, and all hell erupts.

It speaks of a lack of education, of insularity, of closed-mindedness. And our neighbours, New Zealand, rub that in every time there is a sporting contest between the two countries, because New Zealand boldly proclaims that it is proud of its first peoples by singing the national anthem in their language first. When the New Zealand rugby team plays, they do a Maori war dance before the game.

Australia? Oh, the people still feel guilt about the theft of the continent. And when people like Goodes remind them of the fact that this is an Aboriginal country, they try to shout them down.

Death of a teenager: why were police not asked obvious questions?

THERE are obvious questions which should have been put to the police in the wake of the shooting of Numan Haider, an 18-year-old Muslim man, in the Melbourne suburb of Endeavour Hills on Tuesday (September 23) night.

But it’s doubtful that any reporter from the mainstream media – which appears to function more as a propaganda arm of government – will ask these queries.

Why did police ask a person whom they acknowledge was under surveillance to come in for an interview at night, and alone?

Why did police search this man’s house without a warrant the same evening? IF someone is suspected of doing something does that equate to guilt?

Why did police agree to come out and meet this man in the car park? Where the hell have they received training for dealing with people like the teenager?

Why did they not insist on meeting him in broad daylight, in the police station, along with a lawyer or someone else so that there would be witnesses to whatever happened?

Was the knife that Haider had on his person allowed under the prevailing laws in Melbourne? Or did it violate the existing laws?

And finally, why have journalists lost that one trait that should be a hallmark of their character – scepticism? Why do they swallow anything and everything that is dished out?

Mandela is dead – as was the Freedom Charter

NELSON Mandela died today. There is much emotion about the place, in countries around the globe, as many regarded him as the freedom fighter’s freedom fighter.

The public tale about him is one of a man who fought to bring equality to a country which had, as its official policy, the doctrine that white was superior to black.

That much is true. But that is only part of the story.
Continue reading Mandela is dead – as was the Freedom Charter

Suffer little children: Scott Morrison is an expert

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. – Gospel of St Matthew, Chapter 19, verse 14

NO DOUBT, this morning, two practising Christians will attend their respective churches and worship their God.

Tony Abbott, the prime minister of Australia, is a committed Catholic. Scott Morrison, his immigration minister, goes one step further – he is a committed Pentecostal born-again Christian.

Or so the pair claim.
Continue reading Suffer little children: Scott Morrison is an expert

Australia: Muslims not welcome here

THE brilliant American comedian Dave Chappelle often refers to himself as a connoisseur of racism. A keen observer of the way in which people of colour are discriminated against in the US, Chappelle is quick to use his observations in his stand-up routines.

He would certainly find plenty of material in Australia. The rich vein of racism that flows through the country is for the most part unnoticed. It is considered normal, a part of everyday life. But from time to time, we are reassured that when it comes to racism, Australia is in the front ranks.

A day back, Australia’s first Muslim member of federal parliament, Ed Husic, was promoted to the front bench. He, naturally, took his oath of office on the book of his faith, the Quran. Only a rank idiot would expect him to swear on the Bible, or the Gita or the Torah, given that these texts have no significance to him.
Continue reading Australia: Muslims not welcome here

In Australia, justice can be black and white

IN February 2010, Andrew Lovett, an Australian rules football player, was charged with one count of rape over an incident in December 2009.

Lovett had been recruited by St Kilda that year after spending six years with, and playing 88 games for, the Essendon football club.

St Kilda immediately sacked Lovett. He never got back to playing in the senior league again, even though he was acquitted of the charge in July 2011.

Lovett is Aboriginal.

Last week, Stephen Milne, also of the St Kilda football club, was charged with four counts of rape. This was over an incident in 2004.

The club stood him down from playing. No sack notice for Milne.

Milne is a white man.

And there lies the difference. Despite all the protestations it might make, the Australian Football League, the body that runs the game, has one standard for indigenous players or officials and one for whites.

This was made evident in May when Eddie McGuire, the president of the Collingwood club, made a racist remark about Sydney indigenous player Adam Goodes.

McGuire got off scot-free. He was asked to go through the AFL’s remediation process and learn about indigenous practices and customs, but got no penalty.

But an indigenous official of the Adelaide club, Matt Rendell, was sacked when he was accused of making a comment about recruiting indigenous players with one white parent. He denied making the statement but got the boot anyway.

McGuire, a white man, got away with blue murder. Rendell, an indigenous person, lost his job.

And now Milne escapes with a lesser penalty than Lovett.

Australians will protest till they are blue in the fact that theirs is not a racist country. In the face of occurrences like this, it’s a little difficult to sustain that illusion.

I’m not a racist, but…

“Everyone knows the rules at Collingwood: if you racially vilify anybody, it’s zero tolerance. You’re out.” – Eddie McGuire, Collingwood president

WHEN the well-known Daily Show comedian, John Oliver, visited Australia earlier this year to make a series of clips on the issue of gun control, he used some of the material he had gathered for his regular podcast as well.

One statement cut through – Australians are comfortable about racism. And very specific about whom they are racist towards.

That sense of comfort has been underlined over the last week. Adam Goodes, an Australian rules footballer of Aboriginal descent, was called an ape by a 13-year-old fan of the Collingwood club. Collingwood was at the receiving end of a thrashing in a game played in Melbourne, and Goodes was one of those who was really handing it out on the field.

For his efforts, he had to put up with a racial insult.

The president of the club, Eddie McGuire, made a big show of apologising, and painting himself as a man against racism.

On Wednesday (May 29), McGuire, a man who wears many hats, suggested on a radio show which he hosts that Goodes should be used in an advertisement for King Kong.

King Kong if, of course, a big ape. And McGuire has made it clear that he associates Goodes with an ape. Nothing more needs to be said.

We can protest till we are blue in the face that we are not this or that as far as our attitudes go. But it is only what is inside us that comes out. And it tells the world who we really are.

McGuire is now trying his level best to extricate himself from the situation in which he has landed himself. Of course, he won’t quit. Like all white people who indulge in casual racism, he will lie low, pretend to be sorry and move on.

The problem with casual racism is that those against whom it is directed do not react strongly enough. As one writer, Sam de Brito, has pointed out, if there were serious consequences, then people would be careful about what they said.

But in Australia, one can indulge in the most vile racism and get away with it. The entrenched racism is a hallmark of society.

The Australian Football League will put McGuire through its racial and religious vilification process. It is doubtful that it will change anything in McGuire’s make-up.

By his statement, McGuire has made it clear to all and sundry that he is another one of those closet racists. Now that is clear, we know what to expect from the man in the future.

Coalition dog-whistles as the election countdown continues

THE Liberal-National coalition which forms the opposition in Australia has just confirmed that it is the party of xenophobes by proposing that whenever asylum-seekers are allowed to move into a neighbourhood on bridging visas, the people staying there and the police should be notified.

This is dog-whistle politics of the lowest kind, but the Coalition will do anything to get votes. A federal election is scheduled for September 14.

Should this extend to the asylum-seekers who are granted permanent residence? Or does the granting of such status suddenly make the asylum-seeker a person of good character?

The irony of this proposal is that Scott Morrison, the immigration spokesman for the Coalition, claims to be a practising Christian! Yeah, sure.

There is a streak of racism which is part of the body politic in Australia and that is very much present within the Coalition.

In the past, John Howard has displayed a kind of closet racism in his bid to stay in power. The 2001 election was shamelessly built on the arrival of asylum-seekers in a ship called the Tampa. Howard and his ministers lied their way to electoral victory on the backs of these poor souls.

And Howard continued in this vein right to the end of his political career. Ironically, he was voted out by immigrants who had grown to a pretty large number is his seat of Bennelong. Sweet revenge, indeed.

But the dog-whistle is still present in Coalition ranks. And it is blown whenever needed. As it has been today.