Soapbox Issues

Go back to where you came from

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I am Australian. I chose to become one back in 2010 and revoked my Indian citizenship. My heart however, has been Australian ever since I landed in 2005. Sometimes, I think I was Aussie even before coming here.

In my 10 years in Australia, I have been fortunate to have not experienced racism except for one rant from a bus driver when I was a student about how we international students were stealing local jobs. I love this country even though currently, I am having a tough time dealing with the government and its policies.

Earlier this week, there was a comment that surprisingly really got to me. Retired swimmer, Dawn Fraser, made a comment about Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios’s alleged tanking at Wimbledon. She told the Today Show that she was “disgusted” at his behaviour and  that he and Tomic “should be setting a better example for the younger generation of this great country of ours.” She also added “If they don’t like it, go back to where their fathers or parents came from. We don’t need them here in this country to act like that.”

Kyrgios was quick to label her a racist while Fraser defended herself initially before eventually apologising for her comment and maintaining she wasn’t a racist.

I will say from the outset that I am not a fan of Kyrgios or Tomic. I think they are both arrogant twits. But to say that because they are being twits and not giving their 100 percent for their country in sport that they should ‘go back to where they came from’ is a stretch. And yes, a casually racist stretch. Kyrgios is part-Greek, part-Malaysian while Tomic is of Serbian ethnicity. In the end though, like me, they are also Australian.

The problem is that some of us cannot change the colour of our skin, the ethnic sounding names or the fact that our ancestors were from countries other than Australia. But we are still Aussie. To be told to go back to where we came from is nothing short of offensive. Especially for something like sport. I can understand if people want to follow cultural practices which are illegal here; it would be a fair call to tell them to go back where they came from. But for sport or anything else? No way.

The other problem with this is that if white sports players play badly, you don’t hear similar comments. Remember when Mark Waugh and Shane Warne sold some information to bookies several years ago? Or when Shane Warne got done for taking a banned substance? No one would even think of telling them to ‘go back to where they came from.’ Because they are Caucasian. And apparently, if you are Caucasian, you unquestionably ‘belong’ here. Here being the land taken from the indigenous people, by the way.

I am the last person to use the r-word. I’ve defended us Aussies against racism a fair few times. But this is one time I feel like I must speak out.

We live in a multicultural society. Some of us have been here for several generations, others only for a few. But in the end, except for the indigenous people, we all had our beginnings in Australia by migrating here. Some people view multiculturalism as a threat. I believe that comes from the fear of the unknown. Knowing one or two people from a certain culture does not make you knowledgable about that culture. For instance, if you meet me, you probably will dislike India thanks to my views about India. Yet, you could meet a colleague of mine also from India and find a whole different country. Relying on the media for your knowledge about cultures is also not helpful. Getting out into the community and continuing to be open minded to learn more is probably more beneficial than anything else.

We will never be experts on all cultures. But in the end, if we realise that we are all human beings and going through similar struggles each and every day, maybe then we can find some compassion for one another. Maybe then, we won’t tell someone to go back to where they came from.

What did you think of Dawn Fraser’s comments? Do you think we excuse casual racism regularly?

Do share!

***Linking with Grace for FYBF***

Image Source: Pixabay

Until next time,

Cheers!!

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  • Kaj
    9 July 2015 at 10:51 am

    That’s not racist. That is just ‘stupid’ defining itself in visual form. We have a joke here. Around 300-400 hundred million people in North America will have to go back to Europe if the Aboriginals asked people to go back home.:-) Europe doesn’t want them back!

    On a more serious note, your blog definitely shows how much you love Australia. It’s wonderful to find a place that gives you happiness. Best wishes!

  • Kaj
    9 July 2015 at 10:51 am

    That’s not racist. That is just ‘stupid’ defining itself in visual form. We have a joke here. Around 300-400 hundred million people in North America will have to go back to Europe if the Aboriginals asked people to go back home.:-) Europe doesn’t want them back!

    On a more serious note, your blog definitely shows how much you love Australia. It’s wonderful to find a place that gives you happiness. Best wishes!

  • Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
    9 July 2015 at 11:56 am

    People seem to say the craziest things….if some one is part Malaysian, part French them where do they go back?
    Well said, Sanch
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  • Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
    9 July 2015 at 11:56 am

    People seem to say the craziest things….if some one is part Malaysian, part French them where do they go back?
    Well said, Sanch
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  • nabanita
    9 July 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Racism is alive in almost all parts of the world and no one is immune to that…No society is perfect, maybe one could be slightly better of than the other, but making fun of a culture because of half baked knowledge or even just making fun or ridiculing a culture is a sign of illiteracy , no matter how educated one maybe…

    Sad part is racists and people with tunnel vision are hard to reason with…
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  • nabanita
    9 July 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Racism is alive in almost all parts of the world and no one is immune to that…No society is perfect, maybe one could be slightly better of than the other, but making fun of a culture because of half baked knowledge or even just making fun or ridiculing a culture is a sign of illiteracy , no matter how educated one maybe…

    Sad part is racists and people with tunnel vision are hard to reason with…
    nabanita recently posted…#MondayMusings Change & Life : Companions ForeverMy Profile

  • elly stornebrink
    9 July 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Dawn Fraser was out of line with her comments, for sure! However, if one keeps in mind that (1) we are all human beings living together on this planet (2) with similar basic needs, we would see that there is no room for racism. I think racism is based on fear and/or lack of knowledge. Expanding one’s awareness by visiting other countries/cultures, being immersed in areas where there are others of various nationalities helps to broaden one’s perspective. 🙂 <3
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  • elly stornebrink
    9 July 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Dawn Fraser was out of line with her comments, for sure! However, if one keeps in mind that (1) we are all human beings living together on this planet (2) with similar basic needs, we would see that there is no room for racism. I think racism is based on fear and/or lack of knowledge. Expanding one’s awareness by visiting other countries/cultures, being immersed in areas where there are others of various nationalities helps to broaden one’s perspective. 🙂 <3
    elly stornebrink recently posted…Quote Challenge Day 1: Quotes are mine!My Profile

  • Harini
    9 July 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I think the comment is more stupid than racist. But its a fact that racism exists everywhere. As much as we try and hope otherwise. I have never been to Australia so I can’t comment but my aunt who was there for a month on a holiday got asked if she was a beggar because she wore a sari.

  • Harini
    9 July 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I think the comment is more stupid than racist. But its a fact that racism exists everywhere. As much as we try and hope otherwise. I have never been to Australia so I can’t comment but my aunt who was there for a month on a holiday got asked if she was a beggar because she wore a sari.

  • Noopur
    9 July 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Such people exist everywhere, and they don’t even realize how much they hurt others.
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  • Noopur
    9 July 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Such people exist everywhere, and they don’t even realize how much they hurt others.
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  • Kaddu
    9 July 2015 at 11:22 pm

    People who make such racist comments do seem stupid. And guess what… the world is full of them!
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  • Kaddu
    9 July 2015 at 11:22 pm

    People who make such racist comments do seem stupid. And guess what… the world is full of them!
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  • Lydia C. Lee
    10 July 2015 at 7:29 am

    People are jerks. To say that about sport, means your a moron.I don’t even get that insult. Given the longtime mix of ethnicity in this country, how do you even know who to say it to? And where do I go ‘back’ to if I criticise the country? (well, Government). My favourite example was John Howard asking this little primary school boy of Asian appearance where he was from (he was trying to show how Australia accepted migrants or something) and in the broadest Aussie drawl the boy answered confused “Here”, so JH asked “But where are your parents from?” and the reply “Bankstown”.
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  • Lydia C. Lee
    10 July 2015 at 7:29 am

    People are jerks. To say that about sport, means your a moron.I don’t even get that insult. Given the longtime mix of ethnicity in this country, how do you even know who to say it to? And where do I go ‘back’ to if I criticise the country? (well, Government). My favourite example was John Howard asking this little primary school boy of Asian appearance where he was from (he was trying to show how Australia accepted migrants or something) and in the broadest Aussie drawl the boy answered confused “Here”, so JH asked “But where are your parents from?” and the reply “Bankstown”.
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  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    10 July 2015 at 9:06 am

    As usual, I agree with you! It was casual racism and it was disgusting. I don’t watch tennis so no idea what sort of people those players are but Dawn’s comments were wildly inappropriate. We are all migrants at some point in our history here unless we are full blooded indigenous persons. White Australia seems to forget that constantly, especially dinosaurs like Dawn.
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  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    10 July 2015 at 9:06 am

    As usual, I agree with you! It was casual racism and it was disgusting. I don’t watch tennis so no idea what sort of people those players are but Dawn’s comments were wildly inappropriate. We are all migrants at some point in our history here unless we are full blooded indigenous persons. White Australia seems to forget that constantly, especially dinosaurs like Dawn.
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  • Deborah
    10 July 2015 at 10:36 am

    I thought she was lashing out about the fact neither wanted to represent Australia in Davis Cup or something and she was implying they were unAustralian… I’ve paid little attention I must admit. But I think racism is far too rampant.

    I hate the idea of anyone being treated as if they were not welcome. We’d certainly bitch about it if other countries did the same thing to us when we were visiting or living elsewhere.
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  • Deborah
    10 July 2015 at 10:36 am

    I thought she was lashing out about the fact neither wanted to represent Australia in Davis Cup or something and she was implying they were unAustralian… I’ve paid little attention I must admit. But I think racism is far too rampant.

    I hate the idea of anyone being treated as if they were not welcome. We’d certainly bitch about it if other countries did the same thing to us when we were visiting or living elsewhere.
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  • Lizzing Lightly
    10 July 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Totally agree Dawn Fraser’s comment was racist. It reflects the “stop the boats” mentality being hyped up about refugees to send people back.. It is unnecessary and should not be said, even for first generation migrants. Everyone should be welcomed to Australia and we should celebrate our differences. I agree you have to experience a culture to find out about it and don’t expect everyone from the same country to have the same opinions – look at yourself and Dawn Fraser for example! It’s lovely to have a respectful conversation about this – thanks
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  • Lizzing Lightly
    10 July 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Totally agree Dawn Fraser’s comment was racist. It reflects the “stop the boats” mentality being hyped up about refugees to send people back.. It is unnecessary and should not be said, even for first generation migrants. Everyone should be welcomed to Australia and we should celebrate our differences. I agree you have to experience a culture to find out about it and don’t expect everyone from the same country to have the same opinions – look at yourself and Dawn Fraser for example! It’s lovely to have a respectful conversation about this – thanks
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  • Natalie
    13 July 2015 at 10:06 am

    Sometimes I forget that I am living in 2015- with the way our government behaves and people’s comments (such as Dawn Fraser’s) in the media, anyone could be mistaken for thinking were were back in the 1970s!

    I think it’s high time we all took responsibility for our actions and words and behaved with a bit more empathy towards others- there really is no excuse to put somebody else down. Not happy with how someone has behaved? Perhaps its a cry for some positive attention than for negativity. Dawn Fraser could have used this opportunity to mentor these two tennis players than to criticise.

    Did she forget that she was arrested for stealing an Olympic flag at the Tokyo Olympics, or that she annoyed her sponsors and Olympic organisers when refusing to wear the correct swimwear and the Australian Swimming Union suspended her for 10 years?
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  • Natalie
    13 July 2015 at 10:06 am

    Sometimes I forget that I am living in 2015- with the way our government behaves and people’s comments (such as Dawn Fraser’s) in the media, anyone could be mistaken for thinking were were back in the 1970s!

    I think it’s high time we all took responsibility for our actions and words and behaved with a bit more empathy towards others- there really is no excuse to put somebody else down. Not happy with how someone has behaved? Perhaps its a cry for some positive attention than for negativity. Dawn Fraser could have used this opportunity to mentor these two tennis players than to criticise.

    Did she forget that she was arrested for stealing an Olympic flag at the Tokyo Olympics, or that she annoyed her sponsors and Olympic organisers when refusing to wear the correct swimwear and the Australian Swimming Union suspended her for 10 years?
    Natalie recently posted…Royal Brunei Airlines: Our Family’s ExperienceMy Profile

  • Grace
    14 July 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I was really appalled with Dawn Fraser’s comments. I agree with most of this post. But I don’t think it’s a “problem” that there are Aussies with different coloured skin or weird sounding names (what constitutes weird, anyway?). It’s not a problem but a face that Australia needs to face and deal with.
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  • Grace
    14 July 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I was really appalled with Dawn Fraser’s comments. I agree with most of this post. But I don’t think it’s a “problem” that there are Aussies with different coloured skin or weird sounding names (what constitutes weird, anyway?). It’s not a problem but a face that Australia needs to face and deal with.
    Grace recently posted…FYBF – Persistence and Portuguese custard tartsMy Profile