7 Types Of Everyday Racism Asian-Australians Experience

Asian-Australians experience a lot of racism. It’s not uncommon for Asian-Australians to experience racism and discrimination most days. Or even every day.

As an Australian of Chinese heritage living in Melbourne, racism is something that I’ve experienced all my life. I don’t expect racism to stop anytime soon.

Racism is left, right and centre, and within.

Racism is left, right and centre, and within | Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted.

According to a study by the Australian National University, 82% of Asian-Australians surveyed reported they experienced discrimination in Australia. A survey of 6,001 Australians found over 30% experienced racism on public transport or at work.

Racism comes in different forms. There’s direct racism which is when someone overtly treats you differently, intimidates and attacks you because of your race. There’s also casual or everyday racism: subtle racism ingrained through conversations, body language and jokes.

Over a quarter of the Australian population is born overseas. Many within this demographic originate from the Asian region as per the 2016 Census. Mandarin, Cantonese and Vietnamese are some of the most common languages spoken around Australia.

Despite the culturally diverse makeup of Australia, there are constantly high levels of racism towards Asian-Australians, Asian migrants and ethnic groups here. Here are some common forms of racism Asian-Australians experience*.

1. Public transport racism

Racism is common on public transport in Australia. These incidents are disturbing face-to-face discrimination and sometimes make the news.

There are anti-Asian rants on buses in Sydney. Indian passengers on Melbourne trains have been told to ‘go back to your own country’. There was an incident where a Chinese passenger was accused of ‘not f**king Australian’ and not paying for their ticket on a bus in Adelaide.

Research from the University of Queensland found bus drivers discriminated against dark-skinned students and Indians as they boarded with defective cards. Sometimes bystanders intervene during these incidents. Other times bystanders don’t as they want to avoid getting hurt.

Once I was in the train during morning peak hour in Melbourne. I sat in a carriage where pretty much every other passenger was Anglo-Saxon. An Anglo-Saxon ticket inspector came through the carriage, asked to see my ticket and then walked off to the next carriage without checking anyone else’s. I wondered why.

Racism is everywhere, subtle and not-so-subtle.

Racism is everywhere, subtle and not-so-subtle.

2. Asians seen as thieves

Often those of Asian background are seen as threats to the so-called Australian dream, perceived as ‘stealing everything’. Chinese investors are constantly dubbed the new ‘Asian invasion’, driving up property prices in Australia.

There has been ‘Stop Incoming Asians’ graffiti plastered over property billboard advertisements in Sydney. Similarly, Chinese bulk-buying and exporting baby-formula has been labelled a craze in local media, causing shortages.

A study conducted by business consultancy firm Cross Border Management shows Chinese property investment is negligible compared to the wider investment market. At the end of the day, if someone has the means to afford and invest, that’s a way to keep trade and the economy going.

3. White ethnic faces in the media

There’s a lack of cultural diversity and representation of Asian voices in Australian media. Those of Asian background are usually cast in tokenistic doctor or taxi driver roles in Australian TV programs, or are shown smuggling prohibited items into the country on Border Security.

Shows such as The Family Law and MasterChef Australia feature Asian Australian personalities while exploring cultural themes through family connections, sexuality and art. This is a step towards more realistic representations and recognising Asian Australians as Australian.

Notably ‘white ethnic faces’ arguably get featured more over other ethnic faces in Australian media. As I’ve written in White Ethnic Faces in the Australian Media, non-accented Asians who are well assimilated into Western culture tend to be given more of a presence in Australian commercial media.

The more one looks and sounds like someone from the majority cultural group, the more likely they’ll be relatable and accepted. Will I ever get the opportunity to present the nightly news on commercial TV in my non-Anglo accent? I wonder.

Selective representation perpetuates racism.

Selective representation perpetuates racism.

4. Bamboo ceiling

In Australia it’s challenging for those of Asian background to climb the career ladder in certain industries due to institutional racism. According to Malaysian-born, Australia-based business leader Ming Long, Asian employees in Australia are often expected to conform to quiet stereotypes which makes it hard getting into leadership positions.

The representation of Asian Australians in public life is seemingly not proportionate to the population. Many are stuck in middle-management roles.

To get ahead professionally, one might choose to conceal their Asian identity. For instance, Westernising one’s ethnic name on resumes is what some do in hope of bettering their job prospects in Australia.

Many years ago I was keen on working in the media, be it being a journalist, copywriter, segment producer, editorial assistant, reporter or a coffee runner for crew on a TV set. I applied for numerous jobs in the predominantly white Australian media.

I never once heard back. I had qualifications in communications, work experience through an internship and solid referees under my belt. I wonder where I went wrong. Maybe it was just tough luck.

5. Offensive names

Time and time again Asian-Australians are called offensive nicknames. ‘Asian invasion’, ‘yellow peril’ and ‘ching chong’ are some phrases used to describe us – phrases painting us as a threat or a specimen to be laughed at.

A person’s name is a measure of their identity and persona. Ascribing an offensive nickname to someone not only turns them nameless but also voiceless.

One time I was walking in Melbourne CBD on a weekend afternoon. A white guy came up to me, yelled, ‘Hey chink!’ in my face and walked off. I wondered what his intentions were.

Obsessions can bring about racism.

Obsessions can bring about racism.

6. Exotic fetishization

Australia has come a fair way from the White Australia policy days and the implementation of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. However, there are still instances where being Asian in Australia is seen as exotic objects of affection.

In South Australia, there is Asian-themed gastropub pub called Hotel Longtime, a name which arguably mocks the exploitation of Asian women. Frankly speaking it’s not the first Asian-themed bar around. But a name like that isn’t tasteful and draws attention to cultural stereotypes which not all of us are comfortable with.

There’s also racism surrounding modern online dating in Australia. Some online profiles on dating apps like Tinder preference for someone of certain cultural backgrounds. On one occasion a white Australian guy approached me in a shopping centre and pretty much told me he wanted to be with Asian girl. I wondered if he knew his intentions towards me were unwelcome.

7. All round outsider

‘Where are you from?’ ‘Where are you really from?’ ‘Where are your parents from?’ These are just a few questions we get asked again and again as Asian-Australians.

At times these questions are perfectly honest. Other times these questions are loaded with stereotypical judgement. For most part we’d rather not be asked these questions as they remind us of our conflicting and confusing identities.

Can racism be stamped out?

Some might prefer to put racism out of mind and out of sight as it’s so unpleasant. However it’s important to speak up about racism because that’s pretty much the only way to work towards respecting different cultures.

When faced with racism, we should acknowledge it and speak up about it. We need to reflect and share the racism we’ve experienced with others, talking and writing about these experiences. We need to have level-headed conversations with those who are racist to learn where they are coming from.

Observing Hollywood narratives written from the perspectives of cultural minorities, Kevin Cheung over at Idiot With Camera writes that many of Chinese heritage are not putting up with Western superiority anymore. It’s encouraging to see minorities stand up to racism and white privilege.

Australia’s Race and Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane wrote Australia should be a society committed to tolerance without stifling freedom of expression. He mentions ‘racism isn’t just about prejudice and discrimination; it’s also about power.’

Racism is tied to power plays.

Racism is tied to power plays.

In some instances racism affects us even if we don’t experience it directly. Yummy Lummy blogger Gary Lum wrote about this in his blog post An Embarrassing Story of Racism: at a medical conference in Australia, Gary felt embarrassed when his Chinese American-born colleague Fred mentioned he got sneered at for his American accent on a train in Brisbane.

What Gary experienced can be called second-hand racism a time when we don’t directly experience racism but feel stressed and uncomfortable when others experience racism.

Maybe racism will never be stamped out. A racist opinion is an opinion, an opinion expressed with attitude on the basis of our beliefs. In other words, racism is essentially a difference in opinion. All opinions deserve to be heard and some opinions will be more offensive than others.

That said, racism discriminates against one’s cultural background and no one deserves to be attacked because of their heritage. No one is better than the other person beside them.

Each of our stories is important, not better than the other.

Each of our stories is important, not better than the other.

When it comes to working towards stamping out racism, we don’t necessarily need to change our beliefs. But we need to change our attitudes. By changing our attitudes we can change the way we treat others and articulate our opinions.

If we stop judging each other based on what we think we know of them, maybe we’ll understand each other more. Maybe we could then discuss each other’s stereotypical traits and not offend each other. On living together in this world, writer Jessica Cyphers over at the blog Shift said:

‘Racism is entirely stupid. I wonder what this world would be like, how much richer all of our lives would be, if we all took a step back and looked at our combined “bigger picture,” and at how our stories overlap, and at how, together, (we) create both our own “truths” and history.

Each of us are individuals wanting to be a part of something.

Each of us are individuals wanting to be a part of something.

Some of us don’t fit stereotypes. Some of us fit stereotypes. Or maybe both. That’s me as an Asian Australian and probably a lot of people too.

There’s more to each of us than our background, the colour of our skin and how we speak. None of us deserve to be discriminated against where we are from – and who we are.

Have you experienced or seen racism?

*post updated September 2020


241 thoughts on “7 Types Of Everyday Racism Asian-Australians Experience

  1. As a bi-racial, being half Japanese growing up in the States, I faced plenty of racism too. Still do. I was even let go from two jobs within a month after my background was found out. Both were churches. Yeah, from the ones who preach that people should love and accept everyone.

    What stinks is if I were raised in Japan, I would be looked upon as inferior due to not being “pure” Japanese.

    So I grew up walking on that invisible tightrope because I learned at an early age I do not fit in either culture.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is horrible, to be let go of a job because of your background. It is ironic. Acceptance is acceptance. Even if they didn’t believe in your beliefs, they could have just let you be.. Not a reason at all to let you go.

      Hopefully these days aren’t too bad for you. We all belong where we want to and we don’t need others telling us that we don’t belong. But sometimes that is hard because some people have made up their mind about certain races and where they stand 🙁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Racism and discrimination is a universal phenomenon Mabel…who hasn’t seen or read about it? It may be subtle in the modern or elite societies but it has been deep-rooted in the DNA of humanity! Sometimes I feel it can never be rooted out because of the attitudes of people who pass it on to the young generation knowingly or unknowingly. When people discuss it openly in the presence of their children, when our leaders exploit it to get political mileage, when people get alienated due to widespread discrimination at work places and jobs are denied or Asians blamed for eating into the jobs, how can you expect racism to end?

    Poets and authors have written so much to convince people that all of us have the same kind of blood, only the color of the skin differentiates us…William Blake, (1757 –1827) an English poet, has appealed so sweetly on behalf of ‘The Little Black Boy’…
    “My mother bore me in the southern wild,
    And I am black, but O! my soul is white;
    White as an angel is the English child:
    But I am black as if bereav’d of light…
    Despite the right-minded good people who have been speaking against racism, who can forget The Holocaust, the most brutal episodes in world history! It seems people have learnt to live with discrimination.

    You have highlighted all the aspects of this malaise, with outstanding images. I appreciate your efforts as you have pieced together an excellent post on this ever-burning topic. Stay blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was such a layered comment, bring together thoughts from the past and present about racism. Science does go some way in perpetuating racism. For example, science teaches us that we are biological constructs and skin colour arises out of certain kinds of DNA and genetics. You bring up such a good thought to ponder on – how can we expect racism to end, especially when so many of us exploit individual characteristics to get ahead of the other. What a thought-provoking poem you shared from William Blake. It transcends what we normally think of skin colour and where each of us comes from. No matter our skin colour, we can all have the same interests and same beliefs. Thank you so much for stopping by my friend. As usual you bring an insightful dimension to such important topics of discussion 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a thoughtful and informative post my friend. I completely agree that casual racism can be just as harmful as direct racism. It makes me sad that somebody would call you a ‘chink’ or just target you for ticket inspection based on your outward appearance. I am lucky to have not experienced too much racism in my time however teenagers at school would joke sometimes that I am a ‘greasy wog’ and lift my hair up to check for grease. It isn’t a nice feeling. I would like to think that society has progressed in the modern era. I hope that you are always treated equally and fairly in socially, economically and politically. I am lucky to call you my friend and wish you all the best no matter where your future takes you! xxxoo

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is horrible that you were called a ‘greasy wog’ and they lifted your hair up to check for grease. I hope those people eventually found their way. Agree that society has progressed. It’s people like you who are so open and accepting showing us the way – showing us with kindness and we are all so much better off with even a bit of kindness.

      I am also so lucky to call you my friend. Cannot wait to see you again. Exiting times ahead xxxooo


  4. Another thought provoking blog Mabel, thank-you!

    You are right, there’s racism and bigotry everywhere.

    When travelling in China I’ve experienced quite a bit. In the country-side, I frequently get called gwáilóu (鬼佬), meaning “ghostly man” or “foreign devil”, either to my face or behind my back. Village children will run away screaming and their parents will ask my Chinese wife “Are you his interpreter, where is he from, how old is he, how much money does he have, does he have children, will he marry my daughter”. Outside of the larger cities no-one will ever speak to me directly, even if I start a conversation with my most polished sentence “服务员,请给我两瓶啤酒”. They just give me a menu and expect me to point at whatever I want.

    In the cities the racism is often directed against the Chinese themselves, such as an old lady standing up on the bus for me or a restaurant manager evicting Chinese patrons to give me a table near the front window.

    Back home in Australia I was once asked where I bought my Asian wife by an old man who genuinely wanted to get one for his son! My wife has only mentioned one incident of racism against her since she moved to Australia 15 years ago. Apparently one of a group of school boys called out “Mail order bride” before running away. She thought he was very funny.

    I sincerely hope that by living our lives as examples of acceptance and civility, future generations won’t know racism.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This was such an interesting comments to read. I have a couple of questions for you, I hope you don’t mind. If you don’t want to answer them, you don’t need too and no offense taken. Up to you 🙂

      Don’t think racism or bigotry will end anytime soon. We are all different. How we react to each other and each other’s cultural background is dependent on context, education and how we perceive the world around us. Your experience in China around the village is interesting. Not the first I’ve heard of. I used to work with someone who visited a village in the Philippines. He was a white Australian and the village children gaped at him (more like looked on in awe, wonder and amazement) – some have never even seen or heard of a Westerner in their lives.

      Some Westerners do get treated like celebrities in that part of the world, seemingly more so in metropolitan areas – which is what you may have experienced and you are very right in saying that that is racism. It can be very easy for a Westerner to take advantage of such mentality.

      I don’t hear many people asking if an Asian lady/woman is a mail order bride. Maybe it’s because I’m in a metropolitan location. How did you feel and react when the old man asked you that question? That old man did sound like he wanted the best for his son. Nothing wrong with that.

      I’m on the pessimistic side here, feeling racism will always be a part of life. But learning to get along with each other or at least let each other live their lives is a possibility.

      Thanks for stopping by again, John. Much appreciated.


  5. With regards to what you mentioned about ‘an incident where a Chinese passenger was accused of ‘not f**king Australian’ and not paying for their ticket on a bus in Adelaide.’, I’m not sure if you read about the lady’s response to the whole fiasco over her actions? What’s worst is that there is a stereotype that all Asians are ill-mannered and don’t have the social ethics (when a majority of us are able to distinguish between doing the right and wrong thing).

    If people are encouraged to sell their properties through an auction, it already creates a level of imbalance, especially when you have the rich Asians interested in that particular piece of property. I quite like the idea that the owners sell it directly to the potential buyer (be it with or without the help of real estate agents). That way, you can somehow negotiate for the best price or ono.

    ‘Earlier this year an Asian-themed gastropub pub opened up with the name Hotel Longtime, a name which arguably mocks the exploitation of Asian women. Frankly speaking it’s not the first Asian-themed bar around, but a name like that isn’t tasteful and draws attention to cultural stereotypes which not all of us are comfortable with.’ – Yeah, this news . . . when I first read the article, I didn’t find anything offensive towards the pub. In fact, I found it ironic that it was an Australian who took offence with the name. Or was it an Asian Australian? =O

    But yeah, I’ve lived in New Zealand for a good eighteen months and sad to say, racism will always exist – regardless of the community or country that you live in. You just gotta do what you need to do to assimilate or survive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • From what I gather, the lady on the Adelaide bus might have been going through hard times with her partner and family. Still I don’t think that’s an excuse to bring down anyone because of their race. With time, I think all of us will learn to be civil and learn cultural tolerance.

      That is a great point, that auctions create a level of imbalance when it comes to purchasing property – it is winner takes it all. The property market is a volatile one and these days you see more and more people (investors) buying property withouht actually having had had a look at it, or having a look at it at a glance and make up their minds. Actually the economy and share market is that way too.

      I really have mixed feelings over the pub. Like you, on one hand what’s the big deal because there are similar Asian-themed pubs. But on the the other hand, it really isn’t tasteful. The pub was opened by a Vietnamese-born and her Caucasian husband; both are also business partners. Some Asian Australians have pondered about it and seem to lean towards the whole concept of it being offensive.

      So true, you do what you got to do to assimilate and sometimes racism is something we don’t have time for and so ignore 🙁

      Liked by 1 person

      • We can only keep our fingers crossed that we learn the art of tolerance over time. Maybe it’s because I have no idea what ‘Longtime’ actually refers to – that’s why I have a neutral reaction towards it…


        • The word ‘longtime’ is associated with a line in the Stanley Kubrick movie Full Metal Jacket, a movie set during the Vietnam War and has prostitution themes. Hopefully the world can learn not just to be tolerant but respectful of each other. I don’t think each of us can ever fully understand one another, but no reason why we can’t try.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Mabel, for a really well articulated piece. It teases out nicely the different forms of racism and the experiences we share. Thank you also for mentioning my post.
    In my opinion, as long as there are differences in appearance and speech and behaviour, there will be some form of discriminatory behaviour.
    I am optimistic though; as I get older, I feel, that for me at least, the situation is better. I hope my children never experience what I have experienced.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Gaz. Agree that it is inevitable there will be some kind of discrimination against each other. It all depends on context, education and what we are able to comprehend about the world around us.

      I’m less optimistic than you. But we have come a long way from history and I do think things will change for the better, slowly. For one, I’m inclined to think that the subject of food and actually eating brings us all closer.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello Mabel! Great to hear from you again, I was wondering if I should drop a note in between posts just to say hello.

    It saddens me to hear that you still continue to suffer personal experiences of racism – I think we’ve talked about this before and my own experience in Sydney seems to be much less severe than your own in Melbourne. I do want to point out that racism is something that arguably everyone puts up with, not just Asian Australians, and to varying degrees everyone contributes to it too, consciously or otherwise.

    ‘We’re Asian Australian if we’re born in Australia and of Asian heritage.’ I suppose that means I’m outside the group you have in mind, then! But I suppose that makes sense, as I identify more with ‘white’ culture than Asian culture. I admit at times I felt more comfortable walking around white Liverpool (in England) as opposed to multi-cultural London, while walking through Chinatown in Sydney last week made me feel like a foreigner (in my own racial background!).

    1. I travel early in the morning (5 am) specifically to avoid peak-hour commuter traffic (it starts getting busy from before 6 am). But even that aside, I live in the north-west suburbs of Sydney, which is already multi-cultural, middle-class, and only served by buses. I suppose I can feel a little more wary on those rare occasions when I travel on the trains, where there is a lot more variety in socio-economic backgrounds, and perhaps a greater chance of hostility due to racism. I didn’t remember the 2015 Sydney incident you linked to until I saw the picture of the alleged attacker – I’ve never seen such a shameful display in person before but it’s terrifying nonetheless to hear about.

    I’ve seldom seen ticket inspectors, but of those times I have, I see them checking everyone. It does seem very strange that you should be singled out in your case. I really do hope, if it was a case of racism, that it’s a problem with that inspector only and not representative of all inspectors’ mind-set.

    2. I think I mentioned this before, I remember reading of an Asian Aussie in Sydney facing this kind of racism. He faced discrimination on both fronts – Chinese-Chinese investors buying out the market and denying him the chance for a home, and unpleasant remarks from ‘white’ Australians who couldn’t distinguish him from the aforementioned Chinese-Chinese. I feel I would be very much in the same position.

    On the topic of thieves, I feel very much this way against some Chinese-Chinese when it comes to on-line shopping. Just recently, I was trying my darndest to make sure I was buying something that was authentic and genuine, and was dismayed to find on delivery it was yet another cheap Chinese counterfeit product. It infuriates me no end – on top of wasting my time and money, the prevalence of this fraudulent behaviour gives Chinese the world over a bad reputation. However, the story has a happier resolution: in the end I went to a retail shop to purchase the item and while initially wary that it was another Chinese-run business, I could tell it was the genuine article and the shop assistant obviously grew up in Australia given his friendly customer service and excellent English skills. Goes to show not all Chinese businesses are bad! (Just a lot of them, it seems…)

    3. This is one area where I might disagree with you (I’ll try to explain more below, after answering your numbered points). Contemporary Australia has *traditionally* been dominated by people from a ‘white’ ancestry if not cultural background. So if media trends haven’t yet caught up with demographics, is that necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think that’s always the case. If it happens that Asians are often caught on Border Security (not that I watch much television), isn’t that partly a factor of most migrants/visitors being from Asia by virtue of proximity? (Actually, the last time I caught a snippet of Border Security, it was a white Australian returning home who was being grilled by the customs officers.)

    Think of it this way: if I go to live in China or other places in Asia, should I expect to see white and other racial representations in media? Some might argue this already happens to an extent. Others might say that it’s not the same situation because China isn’t as multi-cultural as Australia. Either way, I don’t think it’s necessarily good or bad that (for example) Lee Lin Chin is the only well-known Chinese news reporter on current Australian television while the others are white (that I know of, I don’t watch much television). In my view, having a non-white reporter isn’t automatically good and having a white reporter isn’t automatically bad.

    4. I think I’ve mentioned before, that my work team is majority Asian (Indian, Filipino, Chinese, etc) – in race if not in culture/citizenship. Could someone argue this only happens at the ‘worker’ level? Maybe, the senior management are predominantly white. But I don’t really like them anyway (and not because they are white but because they are so business-focused that they drive bad practices in our software development). I have had Asian mid-level managers, though – I judge them on their merit, not their race.

    5. Haven’t heard these kinds of childish slurs since… well, since I was a child! I’ve also discussed my family name with you before – as inconvenient as it can be sometimes, it does mark me as of Sino-Mauritian descent, so I’m not ashamed of that.

    That’s really bizarre story about the ‘hey chink’ person. Seriously, there’s a problem with him not you.

    6. If it was any other kind of pub, I don’t think that would have been an issue. But given that you said it had an Asian theme, then yes, obviously the name was a very bad choice. I found it interesting, from my observations of Chinese restaurants while visiting England and France last month, I could tell which ones were likely named by westerners trying to sound Asian, and which ones were probably named by actual Asians.

    I don’t know about Tinder specifically, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to search on specific backgrounds. Unless you’re distinguishing narrowing of preferences vs actively searching a particular group for a ‘fetish’. Doesn’t really apply to me, anyway: Asian or Caucasian seem equally uninterested in me!

    7. I don’t know that it’s necessarily a question that’s asked only of Asians. I would ask it regardless of the race of the person concerned – I like hearing about people’s stories, even if they are ‘boring’ (grown up in Sydney, x-generation Aussie, etc). And you already know I’m… not exactly proud, but that’s the only word I can think of at the moment… proud of my family history so I don’t mind being asked the question either.

    Can we stamp out racism? I find the trouble with efforts to tackle racism is that it often continues the us-vs-them mentality anyway. People are generally more comfortable among those from their own backgrounds – cultural, racial, or otherwise. That’s not necessarily a wrong thing. How we collectively overcome this sub-conscious segregation can have big differences, though. Increasingly in the post-modern West, I see this skewed towards the politically-correct SJW approach where perceived minorities are over-celebrated and perceived majorities are oppressed and persecuted (in all aspects, not just race). Like the fuss made over Chinese New Year in Sydney this year (and probably every other year, which also disregards that other cultures besides the Chinese observe a lunar calendar) – I don’t mind that it’s being marked by and celebrated by ‘white’ Australians… but I feel like it can be given a little too much recognition, given it’s not even an official holiday here. (I admit, this is a pretty weak example.)

    And not just with respect racism, I’m sick of hearing about such-and-such a person being in such-and-such a position as the first . If there’s more variety, or to use that politically-correct label ‘diversity’, then great. But I despise such events being fussed over, as though being from a minority makes such a person better than others (it doesn’t). It makes being from a minority the goal instead of an individual having actual merit. I say don’t make a fuss either way – don’t discriminate on race or whatever, but there shouldn’t be a need to over-emphasise minorities either. The way I’ve experienced it is if you’re of a perceived majority doing or saying something – you’re racist. If you’re of a perceived minority doing or saying the same thing – it’s diversity.

    I find the racial debate particularly heated and unhelpful in the States. Sometimes I will see social media posts (not that I’m on social media itself) saying things like ‘look at what this entitled white person is doing’. Such remarks are unhelpful and divisive, such categorisation itself is racism even if the person saying it is the victim. The person committing the offence might be a repugnant and selfish jerk, but he/she is doing it because they are repugnant and selfish jerk, not because he/she is an ‘entitled white person’. Likewise that reference to ‘Western superiority’ reinforces the us-vs-them mentality, that those of Chinese heritage somehow have to ‘fight back’ against ‘white tyranny’, which I would argue is equally unhelpful.

    ‘If we stop judging each other based on what we *think* we know of them’ – this is one thing that’s really helpful. Initial contact is visual only, so how someone appears in terms of race, dress, body language, etc, can set-up lots of expectations and preconceptions about what someone is like, consciously or sub-consciously. Likewise, on your quote from Jessica, seeing the bigger picture and our shared humanity is also helpful. In our politically-correct culture I’m made to feel I’m being preachy even though you say I’m not, but this is the bit where I feel compelled to talk about Jesus again…

    Christianity is not a ‘western religion’ – not only is it not a religion but Jesus is not just for the West. We have a common humanity by virtue of the fact that we are all made in the image of God (his character and nature, not necessarily appearance). The world tries to say ‘show tolerance and respect’ (even if that tolerance and respect is only enforced in one direction), while Jesus says to love others as yourself and the Apostle Paul writes to consider others *better* than yourself, just as Jesus laid down his godly nature to serve humanity. The Apostle John also wrote of the great multitude worshipping God, that the people there were ‘from every nation, tribe, people, and language’. When we truly live for others before ourselves, that’s when there will be no more racism. Impossible? Perhaps. But what is impossible for Man is possible with God. 😉

    (PS On reflecting on personal experience of racism, I think I’ve experienced far worse in terms of discrimination and hostility being a Christian, rather than being a Chinese Aussie.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Looks like the input doesn’t accept angled brackets. One of my last paragraphs meant to say ‘such-and-such a person being the first [insert minority here]’.

      Also thinking more on ‘white’ vs everyone else. I’m in the middle of preparing to return to the Pilbara in just over a month. As Paul rightly mentions below, everyone is an immigrant relative to the Indigenous Aussies. And regardless of race, we’re all ‘whitefellas’ to them (that’s not necessarily a good or bad label).


      • Nope, doesn’t look like your angled brackets came through! Curved brackets do work though ( : D )

        Safe trip ahead, Simon. Indigenous Australians are rightfully Australia’s First People’s, and so many of us Australians have ancestors across so many cultures.


    • Call me pessimistic but I reckon racism will be a part of our lives for a long time. One can be racist and be silent, and sometimes you can never tell if someone is racist or not. True, racism is something so many of us put up with – especially if we are the odd one out culturally in a given space. Cultural difference can be fascinating and some of us might react a certain way, unknown to us that is could be offensive behaviour because we are so fascinated.

      When I made reference to the migrants, I was sort of alluding to the fact that migrants or even anyone who might come from mixed backgrounds. It is interesting to hear you feel more comfortable walking around certain places. Could you pinpoint why? Sometimes I can’t explain that feeling. Some days I might be comfortable walking around Chinatown, other times not. On one hand, Chinatown in Australia is a reminder of my own cultural background but on the other hand it is a stark contrast from the Chinatowns I grew up with in Malaysia and Singapore.

      1. That was the only time I’ve ever been singled out for a ticket inspection, so maybe it was just a one-off incident. It sounds like you haven’t encountered racism on public transport in your area. As you said, it’s a multicultural, middle class area and cultural diversity is evidently there. That said, there can be racism when it comes to road rage.

      2. So sorry to hear that you didn’t get what you expected when you were online shopping, and you are right in saying instances like those give Chinese suppliers and Chinese people in general a bad name. I’ve been in that position myself, when I bought something online shipped from a Chinese supplier and when it arrived, it looked nothing like what was advertised. But good to hear that you managed to get a real thing in the shops. It doesn’t really help that the Chinese are renowned for imitation products (think fake branded bags and clothes) and love it, and quite a few of us don’t mind these kinds of goods either.

      3 + 4. I really had to ponder your thoughts on this one. Maybe you chanced upon a different kind of Border Security episode. What I was trying to mean was that when you see someone of Asian descent on Australian TV, it is usually on Border Security, irregardless of the fact that Australia gets many migrants and visitors from the Asian region. It makes sense that if the majority population is a certain demographic, that gets reflected in the media – so most people can relate to what’s on screen. Then again, there is more to life than what’s in our own backyard and it is always informative and educational when there is diversity in the media.

      When I lived and traveled around Asia, while Asian faces dominated, it was common to see non-Asian faces on TV, in newspapers and even online media outlets. More specifically, it was common to see Caucasian faces – and I wonder if there’s a degree of white privilege at play given in some parts of Asia, any average random Westerner can be treated like a celebrity. I guess no matter where we are, there is some sort of hierarchy.

      5 + 6 + 7. Yeah, can relate to telling which places are owned by Westeners and named trying to sound Asian. Then again I’ve also seen Asian-owned restaurants with rather odd names – but this is usually the literal English translation from Chinese characters 😛

      I too don’t use Tinder or any other kind of dating app. Sure, it’s one way to put yourself out there and meet others. However there’s something judgemental about looking at someone on screen and then making a decision on whether you may like them or not. Like you, I like hearing people’s stories and not judge them by one-liners. Though I am an introvert, I do prefer meeting people face-to-face.

      The ‘Us and Them’ mentality can certainly do us more harm than good. On one hand, differences deserve to be celebrated but on the other they can also divide us since not everyone is comfortable with difference especially cultural difference. What you brought up there is fascinating and not something you hear much of: minorities over-celebrated and majorities suppressed, and the Chinese New Year celebration is an interesting example and not a weak one at all. For one I do prefer to call it the Lunar New Year as other cultures celebrated that time of the year too, not just the Chinese as you said. Also, certain shops in Asian-dominated suburbs in Australia have a tendency to hire staff of Asian background and who speak an Asian language – which is reverse racism in Australia for you. I think that is what you are trying to get at. If not, maybe we could suss out another example.

      Agree that the world we live in can be overly political-correct at times, and I think at times some of us are too sensitive over certain things (another post for another day). It really is a wonder why a lot of us like to hold on to preconceived notions of a certain race or kind of person – and I do think at times it comes down to the desire to protect our own territory in the face of survival, and putting our own interests first…which sometimes isn’t ideal for the bigger picture.

      Again, you manage to weave in your faith so seamlessly in our discussions. It has always been interesting to hear you say that Christianity sees others as one, that all of us are united by humanity and there is the encouragement to serve and put others before self – which I think is what we all need to do when it comes to working together and trying to understand each other.

      As always, a much appreciated, well thought out comment, Simon. Thank you so much 🙂


      • Sadly, I agree with you here. Part of the inherently selfish nature that we all have. That’s why I say everyone is racist, to varying degrees. What’s important is whether you or not let your judgement on the basis of race affect how you relate to people, particularly if it’s in a negative way. It’s that negativity that I think most people term as ‘racism’, and often react negatively in turn, prolonging the racial discrimination. In contrast, I don’t think it’s necessarily discriminatory to note that certain races do seem to be more apt at a particular skill or exhibit a certain kind of behaviour, even if this thinking does become a racial stereotype over time (which may have good or bad connotations, depending on how it’s meant/taken). As you say, the wealth of culture in the world keeps it interesting – how boring it would be if we were all the same – even if that interest can sometimes be misconstrued as offensive behaviour.

        Growing up, my mother would sometimes call me… I don’t know how to write it in Latin characters and given my conversations with Mandarin speakers, I think we say it differently in Hakka anyway… she would call me the equivalent of ‘foreign devil’. Not necessarily in an offensive way, but simply to say that the way I choose to act or do certain things is not the traditional Chinese way. The irony being (and I think she recognises this) that she is not exactly traditional Chinese either, being Sino-Mauritian. But I do remember other times when she would say doing something in a more ‘Chinese’ way is better than the ‘foreign devil’ (or white/Caucasian) way – perhaps this sense of Asian superiority should be taken as racism too? I’m sure there are many Asian families, even Asian Australian families, who might think in a similar way but with much more hostile intent.

        Thinking about it more, perhaps my discomfort in relatively unfamiliar places has more to do with the socio-economic background of the area rather than the racial make-up of the local population – although there can be a correlation between the two particularly if institutionalised racism affords those of certain races fewer opportunities with respect to education and employment. Staying with one of my aunts in east London there is quite a high crime rate (perhaps more at night time than day) but I felt uncomfortable when I happened to be followed by white juvenile delinquents. On the other hand, I was fine staying with another aunt in north London where there are a lot of eastern Europeans (though I think their prevalence was partly why my uncle voted for Brexit). And then visiting my childhood home in south London I noticed a much greater proportion of people of African descent than in past years which also made me feel quite out of place. In the end, my discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean racial discrimination on my part but is perhaps simply due to lack of familiarity – just as going to the Pilbara initially made me feel uncomfortable simply because I was not familiar with the local environment.

        I suppose Chinatowns all over the world take in some of the aspects of their countries’ culture so it makes sense that there would be differences with what you grew up with vs what you experience in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

        In terms of luxury goods like fashion and things like that – dealing with quality imitations might not be so bad. Especially when the only difference might be the name on the label (and the price). In my case I was dealing with electronics and the imitations are poor quality and can even be dangerous (even deadly, for example, in the case of people electrocuted by cheap phone chargers). I was lucky in this case to get a full refund but the experience still left a sour taste as I had to return the goods, presumably so the seller can make more money off some other poor unsuspecting victim.

        It’s interesting that Caucasians are as common as you say they are in Asian media (is this part of why some Asians like dyeing their hair blond…?). It may be a case of white privilege, or maybe fan interest with certain foreigners? (I was surprised long ago to learn of musicians like the Beatles and Cliff Richard being very popular in Japan, but I suppose there can be just as much interest in J-pop culture in the West too.) Speaking of hierarchy, that reminds me of the troubling things I learned going through the slavery exhibits in the British museums, where – before slavery was abolished in the British Empire – there was a hierarchy of whites over Indians, but they were still given marginally preferential treatment over Africans at the bottom. I recognise there is still slavery even today but I’m glad that at least officially it’s been abolished in much of the world – and those same exhibits also showed how women played a big role in bringing that outcome in the British Empire, even before they had the right to vote.

        I usually visit my parents every Sunday after church and yesterday I saw Mum watching something on the ABC and was curious to see a Chinese host (thinking about what we had been discussing here with respect to diversity in Australian media). Looking at the show’s web-site I saw that the main hosts, all doctors, were an Indian man, a Chinese lady, and Caucasian man. My hope is that they were all picked because they were best suited for the role the producers wanted – if certain individuals were favoured over others solely or primarily for the sake of ‘Diversity’, then I think that’s dangerous. I hope that helps you understand that I’m not against Asians – or anyone else for that matter – making a name for themselves in Australian television. I suppose for some people like yourself, whether it’s for political-correctness or otherwise, they would be happier to see more Asians in Australian media regardless.

        Ha ha, good old Engrish – I don’t think I saw any of that on my recent holiday. While obviously not Asian, I still remember being very amused by the choice of name for a French restaurant in west Mauritius: Le Whatever.

        Definitely, yes, it can be hard to give a fair representation of yourself when all you have are a few pictures and some words. Likewise, it can be hard to make a fair judgement of someone on that same basis. I do want to distinguish between making a judgement (decision/choice) and being judgemental (critical/discriminatory), though. And coming back to the initial thoughts on filtering by race/country, I think – at least in my case – that is more a judgement on the basis of what I’m looking/hoping for rather than necessarily being discriminatory. My cousin that got married in February, I’m a little envious that he found himself a fellow Sino-Mauritian because on top of their common faith in Jesus they also have a common family and cultural background and heritage with which to relate to each other. But yes, in the end, meeting face-to-face is and should be a priority.

        My feelings over perceived minorities being over-celebrated has more to do with a previous topic that we discussed recently, one that I try to approach with respect and sensitivity but in return I see vitriol and hostility. One can’t choose what race they are or what family/cultural heritage they are born into. But one does make decisions about the lifestyle they choose to have and having those choices pushed in my face all the time and constantly celebrated at work and in secular media – contrary to the alleged goals of ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion’ – leaves me feeling very much excluded. You only have to look at the public excoriation and virtual lynching of a certain Polynesian rugby player (and the way he’s been misrepresented in media) recently to understand what I’m talking about – one might suggest that the views of a non-Caucasian minority should be equally respected and celebrated, but that’s obviously not the case in our allegedly ‘Inclusive’ society.

        Asian shops preferring to hire Asian staff – yes, I think that could also be considered racial discrimination (reverse or otherwise) but sometimes it can make sense to do so in the same way that Christian schools should be able to hire teachers who are demonstrably committed Christians. After all, you would never expect an Islamic organisation to be *required by law* to hire non-Muslims, and similarly I am expected to conform to the politically-correct views of my secular employer.

        Is political-correctness the reactionary force of the over-sensitive? That’s an interesting way to look at it and I’d be inclined to agree with you. From what I recall of our previous discussions, you don’t shut down differences in opinions and beliefs even when they disagree with your own, but instead you promote healthy and respectful discussion. Perhaps my deep frustration with the politically-correct has coloured my feelings on the promotion of racial diversity – genuine diversity, I mean. I know – or at least knew – of friends in the US where they are struggling to survive at least in part because of minorities playing the race card in the job hunting game. As I mentioned above, if more people of non-Caucasian backgrounds have opportunities to contribute in Australian media and elsewhere, then great. Doing it *just* to tick the ‘Diversity’ box – without addressing the real underlying racism – is what galls me.

        If it’s seamless, perhaps it’s because Jesus is important and relevant in all aspects of life – certainly for me and fellow believers. Not just a Saviour but a King as well. So it is with my church family – we have a significant Mandarin-speaking number among us such that we now provide live translations of the talks on Sunday mornings, and there are also growing numbers of Indians and other non-Caucasians. The Bishop of Western Sydney, Ivan Lee, is Chinese too. We have a partnership with a few Indigenous communities in the Pilbara, and also ties to people in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. In recent years we’ve also supported families serving in Chile and Fiji. The West was traditionally Christian but is now secular, so increasingly it is the Chinese, Africans, and Indians who are bringing the great news of Jesus to Caucasians rather than the other way around. When it comes to real inclusion, Jesus is there for everyone who comes to him. And to put others first is not just encouragement, but also a command. It’s hard, I can be as selfish as anyone else, but I’ve found that the times we live according to how we’re designed, life just works and it works really well. 😉

        Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply to me and everyone else. I know I don’t make it easy with my (unintentional) essays.


        • You did an amazing job on expanding on my thoughts and articulating the idea of racism on a broader level. I think you are spot on when you said that racism has a got a lot to do with negativity, or bringing someone down because of their heritage. A certain demographic can be better at a certain skill or subject for a number of reasons, be it the way they were brought up or the way their minds are wired – and that can be a fact and no reason to shy away from pointing that out as a matter of fact. If all of us were all the same, then I wonder what can we actually learn from each other. If all of us were outspoken and don’t fit the stereotype or image of being quiet, then I think the world would be a very loud place and there probably won’t be that many good listeners.

          ‘Foreign devil’ in Cantonese was what I was also called growing up, and like in your case, it was said to me to describe how my mannerisms isn’t traditional Chinese too. As a kid, I do remember getting upset at the term, and it was probably because I visually associated that term as being someone else whom I was not. Asian superiority can arise we believe it and like you described in your family, it could be an everyday thing. It’s like how many Asian parents feel their child is smarter than a typical Western family’s child, studying as opposed to being laid-back each afternoon after school.

          Sounds like you made your way around London quite a bit on your recent trip there. Must be lovely to see the family. Familiarity affects us more than we think, even if we have lived our whole life being the odd one out and accepting that. Places change over time, and each place is often influenced by the people passing through and maybe even staying. What we don’t know we might fear; we fear the unknown to put it simply. ‘my discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean racial discrimination on my part but is perhaps simply due to lack of familiarity’. Fear and discomfort is something we can get over if we can learn how to trust, put ourselves out there and get to know each other. Sure, we could face some kind of backlash because of our heritage but if we don’t try to get to know each other, we’ll all live in state of perpetual fear.

          When I was living in Asia, at times I got the impression that the locals genuinely looked up to Westerners and aspired to Western ideals. At times, I felt that if one aspired to Western ideals, they would appear more educated so to speak. It could explain why blonde hair is quite the trend in Asia. Interesting to know about slavery all those years ago. It reminds me of colonial rule in many parts of Asia and across the world a long time ago – and maybe these incidents in history play a part in shaping racism for what it is today.

          It would be a bit concerning if the hosts of that particular program were picked for the name of diversity, like it’s forced and one just wants to show in the smallest way possible they are open to different cultures. Actually, I think this happens quite a bit. For instance, it’s not uncommon to see certain job positions or program being targeted at a certain culture or certain background – think the Indigenous career developing programs run by a range of sectors. One can argue that these positions were created for a specific cultural group – yes and it’s all selective so as to fill up some kind of quota as part of a broader cultural plan or initiative. On the other hand, I do think that’s better than having no diverse faces at all – at least cultural diversity is considered, and work still has to be done to foster cultural understanding. Never have I thought you were against people of Asian background.

          ‘One can’t choose what race they are or what family/cultural heritage they are born into. But one does make decisions about the lifestyle they choose to have’. Very well said. You have mentioned that you feel excluded on some levels based on what you believe in. Inclusion can be exclusion, just like how exclusion can be inclusion for some. I’ve actually never heard the furor over the Polynesian rugby player that you mentioned – not too sure why Google is telling me nothing. But if anything, I do think non-Anglo views tend to get swept under the rug in the Western. Or based on what I’ve seen in Australia, non-Anglo views tend to get represented more on community broadcasters – where many of the listeners for a particular channel might be of a certain background and only of a certain background.

          Political correctness vs over-sensitivity is certainly something to ponder about, and can be quite a heavy think. I think one doesn’t understand how hurtful it can be if you don’t let them speak – and that’s speaking from personal experience. That said, on one hand some things might offend, but on the other these things might also speak the real and maybe it’s worth speaking up about them. Again we go back to the idea of ticking the ‘Diversity’ box just because it’s there like you mentioned. In that case sometimes diversity can be seen as a marketing tool, a platform where one can show how open-minded they are – but how genuine are they? On the other hand, is this really better than no representation at all? I’m really ambivalent on this topic :/

          It is lovely how your faith has helped reached and bring together so many from diverse backgrounds together, and most importantly work together and trust each other. Lovely to hear the community in the Pilbara has a global reach too. Putting others first is a powerful thing, as you, your faith and your work has showed. To believe in a higher being or power can take the focus off our differences (which should be celebrated) and focus on how similar we all are and what we can achieve together. In that aspect, always such uplifting examples from you (which are quite foreign to me since I don’t share the same faith) and thank you for sharing them.

          And thank you for another insightful comment, a grammatically-correct, spell-free one, and most importantly thank you for your time, Simon 🙂


          • Come to think of it, I wonder where the idea that Asians are quiet comes from. In my experience, a lot of Asian-Asians I see in public – at least when more than a few congregate – can be quite loud, even annoyingly so. My understanding is that this comes from their upbringing where the cities are so noisy that they have to speak loudly in order be heard, and that even living in (at least for now) Western-dominated Sydney they will continue to speak loudly because that is their habit.

            For me, I wasn’t necessarily upset at the term, sometimes I even wear it as a badge of honour. 🙂 But if taken literally, then yes, I suppose it could be quite upsetting. I was fortunate that my parents didn’t push me much during school, as I was generally self-motivated, but I can see that a lot of Asian parents will take pride in their child/ren as being ‘smarter’ than the average Caucasian child and will push them to work hard to keep that up.

            It’s easy to travel when you have family to stay with. 🙂 But I probably know my way around better in London and Paris than Sydney now, and they are far bigger than Australian cities. Places do indeed change, as I noticed in Mauritius and where I grew up in south Greater London. I think everyone fears the unknown, and races/cultures unfamiliar to us can be included in that. My point was that this discomfort was in the context of travelling, not so much at home in north-west Sydney where the racial cultural make-up isn’t as varied (yes, I said it’s multi-cultural, but not to the extent that major cities in Europe is nowadays).

            My recollection is that English is sometimes seen as a fashionable language in Asia, hence the English wording on clothing, accessories, decorations, and the like (and we read it as Engrish, heh). Similar to how Chinese characters are sometimes used in the same (nonsensical) way in Western fashion – like the Chinoiserie of the 18th century. I saw maps of slave trade routes from India and China, sometimes passing through Mauritius, to places in the West Indies, etc. I do think a lot of China’s current – am I allowed to say belligerence? – is perhaps a result of history where European powers dominated China in the past, and now it wants to assert itself as a global power today.

            As we discussed, sometimes I think it makes sense to aim to hire people from a particular demographic because they suit the specifics of your job requirement – positive discrimination. When it’s done for the sake filling a quota, it loses its meaning though. Do we want to bring in different people because they’re best for the job or just because we can tick some box? Motives are just as important – if not more so – than the action itself. That’s why Jesus tore into the religious leaders of his day – most of them were only interesting in following the letter of the law, but inwardly their hearts and minds were still far from God and from serving those they were supposed to be leading. I think there can be a similar disjoint between motives and actions with regards to diversity as well. Thank you for understanding that I don’t mean to negatively discriminate against Asians.

            I feel excluded because it’s not politically-correct to have beliefs in ‘backwards’ ideas like right and wrong – the post-modern world believes that everything is relative and that there are no absolutes. That it is now morally wrong to call things morally wrong (that irony is deliberate) is pushed in my face every day (that being said, I know many people around the world suffer far greater persecution, even death on daily basis). A quick search for Israel Folau should show you what I’m referring to – the furore started while I was away in April. So many people telling him to keep his beliefs to himself (initially he was just giving his honest answer to a question)… and yet others are free to push their own beliefs and opinions because it’s currently politically-correct to have those beliefs. I understand he’s even been criticised by some fellow Christians but from what I’ve read I think he’s been far more gracious than, say, the last media ‘whipping boy’ in this area, Margaret Court.

            The Anglo vs non-Anglo perspective – maybe that’s the old habit of Australia being traditionally Anglo-dominated. We are changing, I think. I just hope we let that change be natural, not forced. As I write this, I just remembered the (somewhat amusing now, not so amusing at the time) character that is Pauline Hanson. I suppose I can understand the reticence to change, if she was accustomed to Australian culture being Anglo-dominated, but her policies and statements in this area were most certainly divisive and unhelpful.

            Indeed, I think what I find especially upsetting is not so much that people hold different opinions to me – after all, you and I disagree and that’s not a problem, at least in terms of being able to communicate respectfully – but that generally I feel shamed into silence because anything I might think or say that’s counter to the current prevailing opinion is immediately shut down as ‘discrimination’ and ‘phobia’. Engaging in healthy conversation, while maintaining respect even in difference of opinion, is good. Being shouted down (literally or metaphorically) is not, but in hindsight the promotion of such aggressive tactics and making them mainstream has been decades in the making – since before we were even born.

            Marketing tool indeed. Along similar lines to the green marketing some companies employ, trying to give in impression that they are environmentally responsible but may not necessarily be so at heart. eg The withdrawal of plastic bags at supermarkets – I agree that cutting down on damaging plastics is good, but I actually use those bags for bin liners. I wonder if biodegradable bags are feasible (they already exist for the loose fruit and vegetable section). But back to the topic – it does indeed appear that many things done and said in the name of ‘Diversity’ is actually done for the sake of pushing certain agendas, rather than promoting genuine, harmonious diversity. As for you, I think it’s okay to be unsure or ambivalent as to what we should do regards promoting diversity – these aren’t questions we can answer overnight! Wrestling with difficult questions is good.

            All credit to God, not me or even my church. 😉 As so often, there is blessing even in punishment: the ‘curse’ of Babel, confusing a united humanity in order that they may disperse and obey the command to ‘multiply and subdue the Earth’ probably led to the variety of languages, nations, and cultures that we see in history and today. And the ‘punishment’ was reversed when God sent his Spirit after Jesus’ ascension, where those present were thereafter able to understand and speak other languages, so as to better share about Jesus. Just as Jesus is for all nations today. 🙂 I wonder if the things I share with you is really all that foreign – do your Christian friends not mention some of these things from time to time?

            By your special mention here, I wonder if you’re saying that my replies are not normally grammatically correct or free of spelling mistakes. I jest, I thank you for your compliment in the spirit I (hope) it was made. 😉 It’s always a pleasure to correspond with you.


            • It is a good question, where doe the Asian quiet comes from. As you alluded to, when it comes to karaoke or haggling, Asians can be loud. Walk into an popular Asian restaurant frequented by Asians, chances are it’s noisy chatter. I guess Asians are quiet in comparison to other races who might be seen as ‘louder’, louder in that they express their opinions and assert themselves more boldly.

              Can see that you are self-motivated, Simon. After all, you work hard at your job, you can write pretty darn insightful long essays and you make time for the family each week – living a well-rounded life 🙂 Sometimes I think no matter how hard a parent pushes their child to be hardworking and be the best, it really is up to the child if they want to put in the effort and if they like it.

              True. When traveling you might feel discomfort at the unfamiliar. It sounds like you really do have somewhere to turn to when in Europe and you enjoy travling there. Sometimes I think even a place where we know well is a place we fear – think if we see someone unfamiliar or when someone we know have left a certain place, it all becomes too unfamiliar all of a sudden.

              ‘My recollection is that English is sometimes seen as a fashionable language in Asia’ An astute observation. In parts of Asia, using English seems more classy and one comes across as more informed – like they are from another well-to-do world at times. You make a point in saying China is belligerent. China definitely is an expanding economy, competing with Western markets through bilateral relations.

              Positive discrimination. Now that is a thought to really ponder and I see on Google there’s quite a bit about it, and about sums up what we were discussing. If you were in the shoes of a cultural minority and somehow got a position because of the organisation requiring to tick a box, maybe you’d be appreciative for being given an opportunity – and skills can be learnt over time. But I go agree with you on motives, or ulterior motives in such instances.

              Ah, Israel Falou. Now I do remember there was a bit of media storm around him some time back. Margaret Court was also another example. While I am all for love is love, I do feel that the attention surrounding her was rather uncalled for, many picking on her for sticking strongly to a single faith. The other day I was attending a gig at the arena named after her, and one of the performers brought this incident up together with the topic of equal love. Again, I felt this was uncalled for as it’s a topic you can talk about without actually bringing down someone who is against this idea. Bottom line is, Margaret Court has her beliefs, others have her beliefs, and we should all let each other have their opinion and beliefs. I guess this is similar to Pauline Hanson and her views…however, Pauline seems to be on another level in that quite a bit of the things she says comes across as accusatory and divisive.

              Yes! I so agree with your view on the phasing out of plastic bag use at supermarkets. I too use those plastic bags for bin liners and go through at least one of them each day. Might have to turn to the biodegradable supermarket ones now, which is a good suggestion from you… 🙂 Diversity shouldn’t be done to push a certain agenda that benefits the status quo even further. Rather, diversity shoud be more about pushing for inclusion and focusing on respecting different opinions – and not shouting anyone down like people have shouted down at you, which I do sincerely hope stops. Some of the things about your faith are foreign to me, some of them I have heard of as part of general knowledge. But my Christian friends (some of whom I’ve known for a very long time) don’t usually talk much about it all to me.

              Once again, Always appreciated of such well-thought out comments. Thank you. Yes, they really are grammatically correct. If not, I will spot it 🙂


              • Ah yes, voicing an opinion publicly, I can see that in the stereotype of Asian politeness we are perhaps not regarded as being very ‘loud’. I can understand where you get that idea from now.

                I just write what comes to mind, it’s not intentional that I end up writing so much. If I have time to see my family each week it’s due in part because I don’t have any of my own.

                I suppose wandering the city (or whatever is familiar) and suddenly finding yourself in a dark alleyway can be frightening. Strangers in such circumstances can then seem all the more unsettling regardless of race.

                Just as French is among Anglophone populations, I suppose – it was once the language of diplomacy and international relations.

                I just wanted to highlight that we (in Western society) seem to shy away from the word discrimination and often accord it undue negative connotations. (We used to talk about ‘equal opportunity’, but now ‘anti-discrimination’ seems to be the popular catch-phrase.) Just as with making good and wise decisions and judgements about anything, one can discriminate positively to promote a better outcome than otherwise. The best people in the world in a given field may well be a diverse, multi-cultural group, but they are the best in their field because of their inherent talent, skill, and dedication. Not because of their backgrounds, racial or otherwise.

                I appreciate the sentiment behind the ‘love is love’ catch-cry, I really do – after all, who doesn’t want to be loved? I think it’s fair to say we all do in one way or another, being made for relationships. The problem (I find) is the over-simplification and the ignorance of the fact that there is such a thing as inappropriate love, such as extra-marital affairs (which I think still has a degree of stigma associated with it but is becoming increasingly accepted and even promoted in a society struggling to know what love even is) and grooming of minors. I maintain (and I admit this is only my opinion, albeit one grounded in the Bible) that love not merely just an emotion, a warm fuzzy feeling, but actions taken to benefit another – at its core it is selfless rather than self-serving. But all that aside, I think we agree that it’s unnecessary – unwanted even – to bring up a controversy when you’re just supposed to be enjoying a concert. After all, while people like Alan Joyce were decrying Israel for simply stating his beliefs, aren’t they likewise forcing their own on everyone? In particular, using the threat of sponsorship withdrawal to do so. But of course, they feel emboldened to do so now that they have the weight of the law behind them – it is now illegal to disagree with them.

                As for Ms Hanson, if one was to be especially generous and charitable towards her, perhaps she was just felt that the white culture she grew up with was being threatened and voiced her opinions against that. The problem was that she did so in a seemingly rather unkind and, well, racist manner. Who can forget her infamous ‘we are in danger of being swamped by Asians’ speech? In the years since she seemed to have used her notoriety to achieve something of a minor celebrity status and, on the back of the rising populism that delivered Brexit and a President Trump, recently returned to political office. Another story of how opinions and moods change so quickly.

                The biodegradable bags for fruit and veg are rather small though…

                The shouting in Australia will not die down, not for a long time. As happens so often with societal change, the pendulum is swinging hard – too hard – in the other direction and those who once felt persecuted are now the persecutors, using their new-found power to enforce their vision of equality and tolerance for all… so long as your opinion aligns with that vision. And while there are those with the gifts of being patient and gracious in their responses to such hostility I don’t think I’m one of them. No, for now, I will largely have to keep quiet. But if there is good reason to share something with you, I will do my best to share with you – at least for as long as you say it’s okay to do so. Once again, thank you for being willing to at least listen/read without attacking.

                I did notice one mistake I made: ‘major cities… is’ instead of ‘major cities… are’!


                • If you’re writing what comes to mind, and you write this much here, I’m inclined to think you have a lot on your mind, or you just have a lot of views and very knowledgeable in general 🙂

                  True that Western society shies away from racism more. Some might think that ‘I am not racist, so racism doesn’t apply to me’. To me, that is a rather ignorant way of thinking. I also don’t have a preference for either terms ‘equal opportunity’ and ‘anti-discrimination’ – really don’t think anything can really be equal and the word ‘anti’ brings up a negative connotation. But you are right in that we can discriminate positively and the end goal should always be education. It will be interesting to see how Australia selects the next Race Discrimination Commissioner and how he next person will define the role. For instance will it be an all talk no action role, or will we see a more educational approach towards fostering a more inclusive society.

                  The notion of inappropriate love is a touchy one, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion and how they feel. Agree there is still a stigma around extra-martial affairs, and also divorces, marriages with two people of different faiths and also interracial relationships. Also agree with you love is more than just a feeling – it is that feeling of desiring someone because of certain traits you like about them, that feeling of desiring someone just because that feeling is there, and about action and showing and making the other party better and just feel good in general. If we could all apply this principal to how we treat each other who are different to us (albeit to not the degree of being romantically involved with someone), the world would not be tolerant but a bit more respectful.

                  I’ve always wondered if Pauline Hanson genuinely feels Western culture is being threatened by other cultures, or that the way of thinking was a product of the environment she grew up in. Indeed she is seen as some kind of celebrity in Australia and around the world too. In recent times she has accused Penny Wong of playing the race card, and Pauline herself has said she is not a racist. I wonder where she was going with these remarks.

                  There will be certain kind of benchmarks and certain visions that will be around for a while, and that goes for society at large and even in places like at school or at work. The world is built upon expectations that seem to benefit some and not others. At the moment we will have to live with it and see how things pans out. I do think everything happens for a reason, and all the turmoil the world is going through at present is probably something all of us need to feel before moving ahead together.


                  • Maybe I just talk/write too much!

                    ‘all talk no action’ – maybe I’m just cynical but I feel a bit this way about some of these ‘Reconciliation Action Plans’ with respect to Indigenous Australians. My employer seems so pleased with itself that it’s just released its first one.

                    Touchy if only because we (collectively) don’t know how to define it. I know this topic could be discussed ad nauseam so I’ll stop here. 🙂

                    I try not to pay too much to what politicians are saying outside of actual policy decisions (you know, what they’re actually in office for rather than what they’re currently bickering about). Interesting that Ms Hanson thinks she is not racist – maybe she’s reformed? Maybe not. About playing the ‘race card’ – that’s a bit of what I find distasteful as well (not making any commentary on Ms Wong here). It’s one thing to be genuinely in need of help because of persecution and negative discrimination. It’s another thing to play a minority card to ‘game’ the system and gain unjustified advantages for yourself.

                    Thanks for reminding me that everything happens for a reason. Regardless of what we try to do, God is ultimately in control and I can take comfort in that. 🙂


                    • Pauline Hanson is an interesting character. She will say one thing and then say another – like how she talks about racism and that Australia is for Australians. What she says is undoubtedly distasteful. But on the other hand she is showing us what racism really is and how some of us are exactly that way. One can argue that minorities play the minority card to get attention. As you alluded to, often cultural minorities are genuinely in need of help to life more comfortable lives. Thanks for chiming in again, Simon 🙂


  8. Racism is very much prevalent in all corners. If not blatant then subtle. Hong Kong some house owners refuse to rent out to South Asians even before meeting the prospective tenant or avoid sitting next to you on bus or train inspite of it being the only vacant seat. I think every country has its own way to tell you ‘you are different’. We should reason the response as sometimes we too are guilty of falling into the trap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is interesting to hear of Hong Kong. I suppose some of us just prefer being around with others who are similar to us, not just in terms of personalities but cultural background. That can bring us a feeling of comfort, but in a way this is also racism. Who doesn’t like comfort and the familiar…so you are very right in saying that we can be very much guilty of falling into this trap, a double-edged sword.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mabel, thank you for posting about this topic – it reminds me of my experience at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne and how angry I became in the mock interview room that gave visitors a glimpse into the early days of the White Australia Policy. It amazes me that white Australians and Americans have the gall to tell Asians to “go back to their country” when they themselves are descended from immigrants. If we take a long view of history then it should only be the Aborigines and Native American peoples who should get to say such things.

    I have, unfortunately, experienced racism while living and studying in the West. Someone once said to his friend, “oh look, it’s a spring roll!” as they walked past me on the campus of the British university where I studied. I had not expected that in a place of learning, not least one known for its quality in technical areas like science and engineering. Then while I was browsing for socks inside a store in Spain, I might have inadvertently blocked a narrow aisle or something because a local man muttered under his breath, “f***ing chink!” I was a bit shocked but didn’t respond – then again Spain is not exactly held up as a beacon of acceptance and multiculturalism (Latin American arrivals there are often on the receiving end of discrimination). However what I will say is that my encounters with people in both the UK and Spain were largely positive, and racist encounters like these were more the exception than the norm.

    What I love about living here in Asia – particularly here in Indonesia – is the fact that I’m accepted and treated as a normal person. It’s easy to blend in because I look the part of a Chinese-Indonesian and so people generally assume that I’m locally born and bred (which is great except that my Indonesian is intermediate at best – and not really fluent by any measure). Australia might offer an enviable quality of life: better working hours, higher wages, better public transport, more options for outdoor recreation, a greater diversity in food… but to be honest I’d rather not live in a country where my ethnic background puts me in a position as a member of the perpetual “other”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indigenous Australians are rightfully Australia’s First Peoples, and I think sometimes Australians forget that. I think it is great having the mock interview room in the Immigration Museum in Melbourne: it serves as a reminder of what happened in the past and how far we have come.

      So sorry to hear you experienced racism when studying in the UK. I’ve heard it is a pretty multicultural, even more so than Australia so I am a bit surprised to hear your experiences. Then again, racism is everywhere and interesting to hear form you Spain might not entirely warm towards difference. I don’t think any of us expect to be on the receiving end of racism and so we generally feel shocked when it happens. When you’re shocked, you’re likely shell-shocked and don’t know how to react and so you remain silent – like how you did when you had that incident while browsing for socks.

      Lovely to hear that you feel at home in Indonesia. Indonesia, like most of Asia, is diverse with different ethnic groups living together side by side for such a long time. It is normal there every day to mingle with others of a different ethnic group especially in metropolitan areas – and that was my experience while living in Malaysia and Singapore. To be honest, I do think that region is leading the way in multiculturalism, more so than Australia. You don’t have to live here in Australia but you can always come back for a visit, James 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for writing this Mabel. I found when I lived in Sydney, I encountered or witnessed casual racism (athough it does exist here in NZ too). I’m currently writing an assignment about racism, and there are often many ingrained beliefs that cause racism to continue because a lot of beliefs become so naturalised. It even occurs in a lot of news media outlets, where their headlines aren’t always intentionally trying to be racist, but may have implications of it. You’d notice in the news how often someone will be mentioned as “Indian, Chinese, Black etc…” but rarely you will see a headline saying “White person..” it’s an interesting observation, but I definitely feel that in society, white becomes too much of the norm, whereas it’s important to embrace all cultures and ethnicities.

    The Where are you from question will always occur, because even if someone came from Europe, South Africa etc. they may not be asked the question as quick, unless perhaps if they have an accent. However, I’ve been asked the question many times, before I’ve spoken. There is definitely a lack of Asian faces in the media. I remember talking to a classmate and we were talking about how often in NZ media (and other countries I imagine), it’s very often an older white man, and a young blonde woman who presents the news. I hope that diversity will grow more in the news industry, as it’s still very heavily dominated by old white men. I remember during the Summer time, I carried my umbrella many times, and had at least 5 instances of white men saying something impolite to me, or purposefully walking into me. I feel like I could write so much on this, haha, but I’ll stop here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Katie. Good luck with your assignment. So true that ingrained beliefs perpetuate racism – we are just so used to these beliefs. It is a great observation on your part, that headlines never ever read ‘White person’ or ‘Caucasian’ (though ‘Caucasian’ might be mentioned in passing in the news stories). It has become the norm to assume that someone who is white in Australia is Australian but not so much a non-white person.

      That is also so true how an older white man and a younger white woman are commonly news presenters on TV – and that is the case here in Australia too. Also notably the woman pretty much sits on the left of the men all the time on TV (this post talks about it more https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2016/08/09/why-do-men-sit-on-the-left-and-women-sit-on-the-right/). That is so impolite to have white men walk into you as you carried your umbrella! Such unwanted attention and I hope they didn’t bother you too much when you walked way from them D:


  11. As an Australian, living in Australia, I apologise for the particular rudeness of my fellow ‘local’ peoples. I find there are so many ‘white-trash’ who still think it is funny or in any way OK to harass anyone because they don’t look the same as them. Such pathetic behaviour. It really just shows off their idiocy. We’re all immigrants in Australia, unless you are indigenous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, we all immigrants unless we are Indigenous. Australia rightfully belongs to the First Peoples. Maybe some feel threatened by another’s looks, and that’s where harassment starts. It is definitely not okay because we really are all people living side by side. Sometimes this is due to a lack of education. But it is also common sense, but sometimes some of us don’t have common sense. Thank you for your support, Paul.


  12. Interesting post, Mabel. I’m sorry you have experienced racism to such a degree. It can only be hurtful. I read your article about White Ethnic Faces in the Media as well as all the comments here, so I’ve been sitting here reading and thinking for some time. I agree especially with your point about avoiding pre-judgement and the need for getting to know each other a little more. While some of the incidences you described are downright despicable and unjustifiable, sometimes when meeting someone new we do ask questions about what people do and where they live or are from. Generally speaking, we are intrigued by the lives of others and our questions come from a genuine interest in getting to know the person as opposed to having a racist intent. Making “small talk” can be difficult until you get to know someone. As you say, attitude is important. While someone walking up to you and rudely screaming in your face is inexcusable, perhaps a little give and take in friendly getting-to-know-you conversation is necessary, otherwise people will say nothing for fear of saying the wrong thing. Then no understanding or friendship is able to develop. While I understand racism is still strong in the attitudes of some Australians, I had hoped we were moving closer to acceptance, understanding and appreciation.


    • Thank you so much for supporting my writing and work, Norah. It is so true that when we meet someone we might be curious about where they live and what they have done. You are very right on that, and sometimes we might not even have a racist intent when asking someone ‘Where are you from?’. It could be an innocent question asked out of curiosity. I do think it’s a fine line. If you know someone long enough, most of the time their background would come up in passing conversation. A well-rounded comment and thank you so much for chiming in 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s always a pleasure to read your insightful posts, Mabel. They always give me something to think about and an opportunity to reexamine my own attitudes and behaviour. A little reflection never hurts anyone.


  13. Mabel, this is brilliant and on point post. As you know we have similar problems with racism and profiling in the United States. Our current political leadership seems to have exacerbated the issue but going back in history it’s plain to see that racism and prejudice against those who look, sound, or seem different has been a dirty stain of the American fabric. It’s not surprising Australia suffers from the same mean virus. Of course it’s in Europe too.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a cure to this. The more connected we become in this modern age the more we seem to magnify our differences.

    I think all we can do is live our own lives as best we can and speak out and stop, if necessary, racism when it occurs in our daily lives.

    Thanks for a great post.


    • Thank you so much for your nice words, Kongo. Definitely have heard about the current climate in the States and talk its going backwards. I often wondered if America or Australia is more racist, or rather if one experienced racism more in America or in Australia. I’ve never been to the States but those I know who have visited said Australia can be a bit more racist. But I guess it depends on where you are specifically.

      ‘The more connected we become in this modern age the more we seem to magnify our differences.’ So well said. In the modern age there is the veil of anonymity when it comes to speaking out, especially online. Great that we are connected more, but sometimes that can bring us grief. Stop and speak out – I like that lesson. Thank you so much again.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is yet another write-up on racism that I am seeing from you, Mabel, and, probably rattled by experience, your words seethe with righteous anger and resentment of a high intensity. One needs to view the issue in the broader perspective of human nature and past history of people and events. If I have migrated to another country, the tendency of the average natives, used to a laid-back lifestyle as in the case of Australia, is to see the outsider, who in many cases may be superior in capabilities and work ethic, as invader and a usurper of their opportunities. It is an attitude of powerlessness and envy as much as prejudice. And these racial discrimination is stemming from negativity that may also be attributable to the fact it is a descent from criminality of an ancestry that was exiled from imperial Europe not so long ago. So just be proud of your Asian origin, take it as a war that
    must be fought at several levels, assured of the reality that the 21st century belongs to Asia, with rest of the world playing subordinate roles.


    • Yes another right up on racism, Raj. Haven’t written on this topic for a while, and thought it was time to revisit discussing racism. You are very wise with your words again. There can be feelings of powerlessness and envy coming from a certain demographic in a culturally diverse place. The past is past; we can learn lessons from the past and take them forward with us with hope and positivity and embrace the diversity that is us.

      Definitely proud of my Asian heritage, Raj. Never felt it resonate within me stronger than ever. I do think the times ahead belong to all of us…we just need to work together with a great deal of respect for each other. Thank you again 😊


  15. Very interesting to hear about Australian racism — we’re up to our eyeballs in it over here in the U.S., thanks to our racist orange pustule of a president. Asian-Americans aren’t the biggest target, though, either due to their “model minority” reputation or the fact that our burgeoning Latino population is seen as a greater threat. Or that the desire not to be killed by police has somehow spurred this administration into labeling the Black Lives Matter movement a “terrorist organization” while white supremacists are “very fine people.”

    I am quite envious over the fact that your government actually HAS a Race & Discrimination Commissioner — we could use about 5 of those. Instead, our Government of Old White Men pretends that there is no racism. Same as they pretended that “Slavery Wasn’t So Bad” and the Chinese Exclusion Act never happened.

    Unless a country — like a person — admits their error, accepts responsibility, apologizes, and tries to make amends, how can there be change?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is an interesting climate over there in the States at the moment. Everyone seems to be so much outspoken about race, but not always in the most tactful way.

      Our current Race Discrimination Commissioner is like an ordinary guy. One time I was on my way to work in the city and I saw him walking amongst all the other commuters. No one battered an eyelid. His tenure is coming to an end so it will be interesting to see who will fill his position.

      Pretending racism never happened is the worst. It is the way to change: recognise the past, learn, move forwards together.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m so sorry you feel this victimisation, Mabel. My mother always used to condemn mixed race marriages because she said the children are always victims. Your situation is similar in some ways. Why we are so intolerant I don’t know, but it is very easy to blame someone who looks different from yourself. It’s sad but seems to be true.


    • I also wonder why society is so intolerant. Maybe we see threat in difference, or just aren’t just used to it. Times are changing and hopefully they will continue to change for the better. Thanks for your support, Jo ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Racism and discrimination are a world travesty, Mabel, not just in Australia. It is horrible, despicable and downright cruel. I, as a woman have experienced discrimination and believe me it enrages me. The attitude of certain men within a certain generational age (my husband included) look down upon women because they were taught men are above them. This infuriates me and whenever my husband begins to display behavior that mirrors discrimination I go toe to toe with him, telling him in very blunt words how despicable he is behaving. I’ve told people my “mind” when treated like this. No one, and I mean no one, has the right to be cruel to another person because of culture or sex or age. Your writing is excellent, so much so you should be hired as a journalist who will dot every i and cross every t when it comes to a published article. Your research is impeccable! Don’t give up, dear friend. Stay strong and make a difference as you are now!! (((HUGS)))! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry to hear you have experienced discrimination. But good on your for writing about it openly like you have done a few times. These days men still do look down upon women, and that is very sad. We need more women like you who speak bluntly and speak your mind and most importantly not get pushed around. It’s how we can make others see that we more or less deserve similar treatment. Thank you for your kind words, Amy. I have thought about being a journalist but don’t think that will happen anytime soon. You should be a photographer for a newspaper – your work as you yourself, Amy, is nothing short of stunning. You stay strong too and hugs right back 💖💖💖


  18. I also wonder sometimes if we as a human race can get past racism. I think, at its core, it would mean starting from a point of understanding that we are all fundamentally the same, instead of our default which is to put people into categories. It’s easier said than done I think, but I do think it is an important undertaking.


  19. A sad and disturbing post, Mabel. We were shocked too by the “Hotel Longtime”. In my experience it’s not a South Australian trait to be (overtly) racist – we have a very popular Vietnamese Governor after all and we have Senator Penny Wong. I think racism comes down to ignorance and lack of education. The law of Dunning and Kruger states that the less you know about a subject, the more certain you are of your opinions about it. So being racist is proof of the racist’s own stupidity. I don’t suppose that helps the victim much though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There have been mixed reactions towards Hotel Longtime, and I do think most of us are leaning towards it as distasteful. It is great to see Adelaide have a Vietnamese Governor and Penny Wong, very accepting. That is an interesting theory by Dunning and Kruger theory. Racism is stupid and nothing good comes out of bringing each other down because of their background. Thanks for stopping by, D.

      Liked by 1 person

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  21. Almost every country now has immigrants forming an integral part of their culture, so racism should not even be there. But seems some Australians still are yet to recognize this change.

    I haven’t seen much in my global adventures, though.


  22. I often wonder why this problem exists in Australia? Most of the residents are immigrants themselves. The natives are a minority themselves (original inhabitants of Australia). The first settlers themselves were convicts from the UK. It is quite baffling that racism exists in a multicultural country like Australia!


  23. Racism is something can be quite disturbing and I also face it quite often. It’s great you dedicated a whole post on this issue as it definitely needs to be discussed, Mabel! Excellent read!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Mabel, I’m sorry you have to put up with such abuse. The same thing happens over here in the US. I am considered Anglo-Saxon even though part of my heritage comes from the Native Americans. Therefore I haven’t been subjected to racism but I have seen it all of my life not understanding why it is happening. I come from a multicultural family where the only cultures that aren’t represented are from the Middle East. This, more or less explains my lack of understanding of racism.

    Nevertheless, I am discriminated against because of my disability. In many cases, I feel as though I’m being treated as if I have some dreaded disease.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear you’ve been discriminated against because of your disability, Glynis. Sometimes others really don’t know better, other times they are ignorant. Your family sounds interesting and there would have been many moments where you would have learned from each other.

      Not experiencing racism doens’t mean we aren’t aware of it. It does sound like you do recognise racism, but why racism happens, that can be a complex topic of discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

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  26. Mabel I will admit reading your article caused me to physically feel ill. I am so sorry to hear that you have experienced these types of racism, not only as an observer but as a victim yourself. I felt my mother cat claws coming out and wanting to jump to your defense. Not that you aren’t strong enough to defend yourself. I just find the whole concept of one person seeing themselves as better than another highly disturbing. I am glad to hear that there are some changes happening in Australian reality TV to illustrate a more realistic image of what an Australian is. Bravo to you for continuing to keep this subject in the forefront and the honesty of sharing your own experiences.


    • It is very nice of you to want to come to my defense, Sue. Thank you so much. I am sure you will put people in their place when need be. But I do not want you to get hurt because some people are capable of anything. Really no one is better than the other and we can all learn from each other. I’m not sure if racism happens in Canada – I’m sure it does but not to the extent here in Australia.

      On a side note, I don’t think I am receiving your updates/your responses to my comments on your blog in my WP notification bar of late. I do see you have responded to my comments 🙂


  27. You’ve put so much work into this post, Mabel! I know much of it comes from personal experience, but you’ve done some great research as well. Racism in any form, against any group of people, infuriates me, and I fear it has only gotten worse in recent years here in the U.S. Sad to hear it happens the world over (which of course I know) even in places like Australia that are so appealing and wonderful in other ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words, Lex. This post was quite a bit of research and reading beforehand, building upon what I already knew. It is interesting to see how the social and cultural landscape is playing out in the U.S. Hopefully times will change as opposed to moving backwards, and that you haven’t experienced racism on your travels,

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Mabel, I am always saddened when hearing of racism. It has been this way since I was quite young. For anybody to feel superior, there has got to be a certain level of ignorance. As if any of us can simply change what someone does not like about us! I’d much rather meet a person of color than to encounter a racist bigot. I’d much rather rest my eyes on the beauty of differences than the sameness of a single race of people.

    I think humans disparage or hate what they cannot comprehend. And much of their attitude comes from upbringing. So the insolence they demonstrate when they slur someone is really a form of ignorance borne of the fact that they simply accepted the mold into which they were cast, as if they had no will of their own. Nor did they possess enough intelligence to discover the rich benefits of cultural diversity. Nowhere is this more evident than on the US mainland, so unfortunately, you’re not alone. And of course it exists in every corner of the globe.

    I think education is key in so many things. Certain fundamentalist sects, for example, discourage higher education among their flock. It keeps them obedient, but ultimately erodes the organization from within. The more we learn, the more we know. A broadened mind is a beautiful thing. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right, Bela. If any of us feels superior, they must be missing something important. There is indeed beauty within differences. Sometimes you just can’t get along with someone who is racist of the same background as you, but you can get along with someone who presents a respectful opinion and so different from you.

      It is an interesting point that you bring up, that humans disparage or hate what they cannot comprehend. Some of us let our ego get in the way in these situations, and that can be fuel for racist attitudes. Also interesting to follow the climate of social and political affairs over the last few years and hopefully things change for the better.

      You are spot on. Education is so, so important. Sad to hear some circles discourage higher education. Education serves to open our eyes to the world, be more open-minded and encourage life-long learning. Hugs ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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  30. A topical, thought provoking and at times disturbing post Mabel. I do not think it is possible to root out racism . In India because of the diversity and the intermingling of widely varying cultures often we are subjected to racism, jokes and stereotyping. But mostly in good humor besides if I say something today, tomorrow you will have enough ammunition to decimate me 😀 I have grown up outside my ‘mother tongue’ land and cannot off hand recollect any major instance of being singled out in this fashion (as yet) – but then again, dont go by my word, I have been pretty much zoned out most of my life 😀 But yes being accosted in the middle of the street, or being subjected to violence that is really scary and disturbing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is interesting to hear of racism in India. Racism can definitely exist between different dialect groups. Good to hear you haven’t been singled out for growing up not speaking your mother tongue. I didn’t speak Mandarin growing up and almost all the time my Chinese friends spoke in Chinese when I was around…might or might not be racism, but for me, definitely hard to feel included.

      It’s so encouraging to hear that you have been zoned out most of your life. You are so upbeat and have a wonderful sense of humour and also aware of cultural intricacies at the same time…so hard to see anyone want to come at you with ammunition and decimate you just like that 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’d be surprised (just as I am each time) at how often that (guns blazing and decimation) has happened 😀 And worse I never seem to learn – but on a positive note I have at least realize the need to learn! 😉


        • I cannot believe how anyone can come after you full throttle when your defense is burger and fries, double serving 😀🍔🍔🍟🍟 We all need to learn but we all learn at different pace so all good 😀


  31. As you’ve probably noticed, in Indonesia and Malaysia there’s a certain degree of racism toward the local Chinese communities. My understanding is that this is largely caused by the wide disparity of wealth between the locals and the ethnic Chinese, although as an Indian-Malaysian man who married a Chinese Peranakan woman who I met in Penang said that a lot of Indians and Chinese became rich because they had limited opportunities to begin with, hence more hard work on their side.

    As a Javanese who was born and raised in Indonesia, I never encounter racism. Fortunately, despite being a part of the ‘indigenous’ (called pribumi in Indonesia or bumiputera in Malaysia) people, my parents always taught me how to treat others equally regardless of their race and religion. For some reason, since high school I always end up having Chinese-Indonesians as some of my closest friends. The first company I worked at was one of Indonesia’s biggest banks whose employees (at least at the headquarters) are majority Chinese-Indonesian. That was the first time in my life I was confronted with a situation where I was not part of the ‘majority’. Everyone treated me well, though. But through some deep conversations with my ex-coworkers I realized how some of them had to live through constant racism in the cities where they came from. That’s when it struck me that to be able to be more tolerant and accepting, one must experience how it feels being in an environment where he/she is part of the minority.


    • Agree with you Bama that there’s a degree of racism toward the local Chines communities in Indonesia and Malaysia. When I lived in both countries, pretty much you had to speak Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Indonesia (I hope this is the national language of Indonesia!) in order to get along in life. In a way, you can see that as trying to assimilate into the majority culture. Also as you said, the local Chinese have limited opportunities. But hard work goes a long way and speaks volumes about character.

      It is great to hear that you haven’t felt you experienced racism, and you sound like someone whom everyone will get along with. It does sound like others around you have had it hard, and you are eager to to learn from them. I guess working in a bigger company there’ll be a more conscious effort to be inclusive on part of the company, since they have greater branding and exposure. Being part of a minority can be hard, but maybe if all of us were in the minority camp, maybe all of us would then have a better understanding of racism, and learn to be not just tolerating but more respectful and accepting of each other 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Your articles are so well written and always topical and interesting Mabel 🙂 I would first like to say (as an anglo-saxon male), I am sorry for any racism you are subjected to. I know it is not possible for me to apologise for every idiot out there, however I wish I could.

    I work in a very multi-cultural workplace and I think that is one of the things that makes it so enjoyable for me. Not only do we get to share our traditional (family secret) recipes with each other, we get to talk openly about our cultures and how we are affected by others perception of us. I have a very close friend – Oanh, my bff 🙂 – who told me about the racism she experiences regularly when she and her friends play touch football. You would imagine that everybody would be at the game for the same reason and would therefore feel some camaraderie; but no, good old racism raises its ugly head whenever it has the opportunity.

    I wish we could all be mindful of each other, we all need each others support/company/shoulder sometimes and it would be great if it didn’t matter where that ‘shoulder’ was born.

    Keep up the excellent work Mabel. I hope that one day my wife and I can buy you a cup of tea and thank you in person for your articles 🙂 Stay safe

    Liked by 1 person

  33. This is beautifully written and on such a worthy topic. We have a large Asian community in our city. When my Beau and I were trying to find a new apartment, we were discriminated against by the Asian landlady who did not want white folks. Perhaps she would have wanted us if there were no other takers, but she preferred Asian renters, she told us. That was the first time I experienced racism being a white woman in the Western world. That said, I think racism stems from ignorance of other cultures. I’m sure the more I understand Asian cultures, the less likely I would be to believe any stereotypes. And incidentally, cities tend to have cultural areas where say, the Greek and Italians settle. Same for the Asian immigrants and their descendants here and I think there’s a reason for that. They feel comfortable with people of their own culture. So, is that racist or just human nature?
    Either way, I believe that destructive racial behaviors will come to an end but there will always be some people who cannot overcome their ignorance.
    Thanks for another thought provoking post, Mabel. I’m sorry you have suffered from the ignorance of the men in Australia (seems to be the males that have taken to racist comments).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry to hear that you and your Beau experienced racism from that landlady. I guess it’s her home she wants to rent out, she can choose whoever she wants but basing that on your background, is discriminatory. Perhaps she preferred her renters to not wear shoes at home and that’s a common trait among many of Asian descent, as opposed to Westerners.

      True. Racism steams from ignorance about other cultures, and the lack of desire to actually want to know more about others around us. That could be a personality trait or as you said, human nature. After all, a lot of us are most comfortable with those who are similar to us. But we have to remember racist behaviour is not beneficial and there is so much beauty in difference.

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Lisa. I hope you didn’t experience racism while you were in Melbourne 🙂


  34. Powerful piece Mabel. I wasn’t aware there was a racist problem in Australia. I thought it embraced its multi-culturism , similar to Canada. And I was surprised at the part where YOU felt like a minority. Maybe it’s not so diversified there. Here in my country. Canada, in my city Toronto, I can definitely say I am the minority now many places in my city. Maybe you should move here? Lol. And of course the US has become a terrible leading example of racism which doesn’t shed any inspiration to the rest of the world. ❤


  35. Hi M – so much I could comment on, but wanted to select two things. first – never heard those offensive names before –
    “Asian invasion’, ‘yellow peril’ and ‘ching chong’ ” and it reminded me of how when I first lived in Florida I was called a Damn Yankee. Not quote the same, but it was only in certain parts.

    and second, about not getting certain jobs – I like how you added:

    “I do wonder where I went wrong. Maybe it was just tough luck.”

    because in my very humble opinion – I think sometimes “not” getting a job is a matter of one person’s opinion or mood that day. In the 1990s I did some hiring – and so I know things that i looked for – but I have also worked with former HR folks and even recently was talking with a recruiter.

    And in my view, sometimes “not” getting a job really is not about the person and the “no” is more for the company. Sometimes they had a specific person in mind or maybe the chemistry was off. And after learnign about organizational culture and colleague chemistry – well it can be a gift if someone knows right away that a fit would not be good. Chemistry matters (as I know you know).

    Then I once heard someone say that folks will not hire someone they feel threatened by – sometimes certain jobs — with one person doing it all in the HR area – well they have to make sure who they bring on fits what they want.


    • I like how haven’t heard some of these offensive terms, but they remind you of being called a damn Yankee. I’ve never been sure if the terms ‘yankee’ or ‘yank’ are offensive. Some seem to not mind at all but others seem to mind.

      Chemistry and cultural fit are definitely what companies think of when they are hiring someone. If you don’t get along with someone, then chances are you might not feel a part of the company. Imagine coming into work and not being able to get along with anyone. That said, cultural background can influence whether or not you are a good cultural fit. Someone might come from a background where being quiet is valued – but they might want to work in a say a contact centre where you might need to be talkative and loud, and that could be a challenge. Your thoughts always give me a lot to chew on, Y. Lovely to see you back on here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hi – you are so right – sometimes the yankee name is not offensive – but I had someone actually key my car and I think it was because I had New York State plates down in Florida. It was back in 1990 – this red-neck kinda guy (no ffense with that term either… ha) but he gave me a dirty look when I parked next to him. Usually guys are nice (or flirt) and so the distasteful vibe caught me off guard. Ten minutes later I came out of the store and my car had a key scratch on it – 12 inches long.
        I really think it was the NY plates. Maybe this is old news, but for a long time Floridians complained about New Yorkers “buying” up the state. And in Colorado in early 1990s – folks complained that Californians were buying up that state. hmmmm

        but I have yankee roots and I am proud – for the record – lol –

        and thank you for posts and comments that give me stuff to chew on too –


        • That was a horrible experience wit your car getting keyed. That person must have been watching you for a while without you realising it. Very creepy too. It’s interesting to note that there is actually discrimination among your own tribe, or even among different states like in your case. Hopefully nothing like that ever happened to you again, and good to hear that the guy didn’t actually come after you.

          Stuff to chew on is good 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi M – I think it was actually a qucik thing – he was leaving the store and I was going in. I was young at the time and seriously – it hurt my human side – just felt mean. I am so over it – but I do recall the ugly feeling I felt.
            And this guy was kinda scrawny – lol – not judging but I think I could take him – bah!

            I also had someone spit in my coffee (same year – on a road trip – I went in to buy a large cooffee at a place like Denny’s – the lady went in the back and came out with it – and driving along – the loogey was there. Think it was Georgia (or it might have been SC) and think it was my skin color. sniff –
            but enough of that talk.


            • I think you could take on anyone at anytime, Y. You have the words, you also have the guts. You’ll come out on top.

              That is terrible to have someone spit on your coffee. Absolutely disgusting on so many levels (now I wonder how often that happens in the States anymore). Sometimes people can just simply be so cruel. Karma would have come round to that person.

              Liked by 1 person

              • ha – that is funny to read – and I was kidding about “think I could take him”

                and LOVE how you noted that words could be used to take someone… ha – indeed – and I love learning more about arguments and fallacies.
                as you know, I am against physical fighting and back in 2009 and 2010 I think I changed a couple lives as I had some students in one of my art classes who were street fighters. Whew – they were open to learning at the time and we talked about the hazards of fist fighting and how it is not a good solution – ever.


                • No doubt at all you could have taken him… But like you, I am also against physical fighting, unless it is for self-defense. Sometimes some jerk will come at you and you really have to put your fists up to shield yourself, and then try to run away. It’s good to hear that the street fighters were willing to learn from you. Good on your trying to make them see another perspective. Hopefully they put their skills to use in a different way.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I shared with them a sobering story of a relal-life incident that involved a middle schooler getting beat up in the hallway. The doctor who examined him afterwards said the boy had injuries that looked like a car accident.
                    I also reminded them that it could lead to death (internal bleeding – head trauma) and they could have homicide on their hands – little things like that were shared – 🙂 Last year I ran into one of the guys and he had an inspiring thank you to share. And funny part was I sometimes regretted that extra year at that art job – for a few reasons – and so his little story made me smile and remember that we are right where we are supposed to be. No regrets. Felt God’s chess-piece moving in my life yet again.



                    • Looks like this comment got gobbled up by the Trash. It’s here now, all good. That is so lovely that one of the guys thanked you when he saw you again. Sounds like he turned his life around you did play a part 🙂 We are right where are meant to be…those can be such haunting words when we look back on certain times of our lives. You are an educator, and also very much someone to connect with, Y 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

  36. We often talk of education in our conversations, Mabel and that is what you are doing here. Educating others and presenting a valuable insight into your experience with racism and its insidious tendrils. I do hope that one day we can speak about racism as a relic of history, but I fear that far too many people are focused on race instead of focusing on the person themselves. All of us are people underneath and everyone has a right to be accepted as a person, not be defined by a skin colour.


    • You are very kind, Amanda. Thanks so much. You bring up a valid point, that many people are focusing on race instead on themselves, namely their actions and how they project their choices and beliefs on to others.

      What we know can impact on how we react to others around us. Education can definitely help us in becoming more open minded. I guess we need to think about encouraging others to be more excited about education and learning in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. I have been working hard on writing and rewriting my post on “What does it mean to be Asian American?” and a day or two ago, I saw your post, but decided to hold off on it until I had finished mine.

    As an American, I can’t speak to your Australian experience. Americans are taught that diversity is a strength, we are all one, and to “put yourself in others shoes” kind of things.I think people who thought they were being complimentary by saying they “love Thai food” or similar things, we just ignorant of how something like that could be perceived differently.

    Up until now, America was comprised of mainly a white population. These days, I think it’s at about 50% white and 50% non-white. I would imagine Australia is going through a similar shift. And I can understand the resentment and fear that goes along with an incoming population that looks different. I remember hearing a joke about how Mexicans were the new Blacks, as in they were the new ones at the bottom of the ladder.

    I, too, want equal representation and diversity, but I also have to remember that Asian Americans comprise of a small percentage of the American population. This doesn’t change my desire for more AA faces on mainstream media, but it helps to put things in perspective.Things are also rapidly changing – AAs are definitely getting more airtime, more than ever before. Yes, it’s 2018 – about time, right? But I do see this change.

    Part of my perspective (and my problem) is that I’m an American Asian expat in Asia. I see how much nationalism in Thailand is being ramped up. It’s challenging to live here as a foreigner. A lot of expats complain that no matter how long they live in Asia, they will never be accepted. And it’s true. And immigration to (all?) Asian countries are considered close to impossible. Funnily, the Chinese are also perceived quite poorly over here. I think their “very different behavior” from “Western culture” makes it doubly challenging.

    Lastly, whoever said “racism is about power”, I would like to challenge them. I think it has to do with fear. “Fear of the other” can create foolish, rash and frightful behavior. If you felt powerful then why would you need to pick on the other guy? Sure, there are sickos. But you probably wouldn’t be taking public transportation if you had any real power. Hahahaha.I think we “gang up and lash out” when we are afraid.

    This is such a hot and pervasive topic these days. And you’ve generated quite the discussion, Mabel! Thanks for being part of the conversation. I hope things change for Australia (and the US!) for the better. To look at the news these days, it seems like racism is getting a fresh pair of running legs.


    • Your post was such an interesting read in that it brought out a lot of nuances in Asian countries and cultures. Really enjoyed it and thank you for writing.

      You are quite right. Australia is going through a shift in population and in some suburbs you’d see a white person for every 10 non-white people you see, and that white person blends in perfectly. I think slowly Australia is seeing how diversity is an asset.

      And it’s probably the same in America too as you said. You have to wonder if all AAs do want to speak up and have a voice in the media. Most probably do, but maybe some are just content by living the lives quietly in the background, being part of the furniture in the background, quietly being a normal part of society without much fanfare.

      I really had to ponder your thoughts on ‘racism is about power’. Australia’s current Race Discrimination Commissioner mentioned that. I do think it was mentioned in the context of power relations and power plays. Where does fear come from? It can stem from hierarchies and the status quote, aka people in positions of power to make certain decisions. Some people in positions of power pick on others because of greed and feeling threatened, or even a dislike of something.

      Racism needs to be talked about so much more. Thank you for chiming in, Lani. Well-thought out as always.


      • I think most people want to go about their lives without any fuss or bother.

        I think the “fear of Mexicans” in America stemmed from a “fear of them taking all of our jobs”. Then it was pointed out that the jobs they were “taking” were not ones anyone wanted anyway.

        I think we run on fear much more than we realize. It’s part of our biology – “fight or flight”. Personally, I feel “power’ is an overused excuse for the ills of the world.

        We are afraid that this or that country has weapons of mass destruction or will use nuclear weapons. (fear)

        Who are all these other people moving into my town, my country? (fear)

        They look different. (fear) Do they speak the same language as me? (fear)

        But fear is also an excellent weapon to use to control people. This feels like the current tool that the mass news media outlets are using. Everything you read or watch is about infusing more fear into our lives. This is probably why so many people are tuning it out.


  38. Unfortunately there is racism everywhere in the world toward anyone different from the majority. I suppose in Asia there is racism vs anglos. The world has come a long way but has so far still to go. A Jewish friend told me it might be better to look different. That way people might better control their insults. She said it’s always so painful when others joke or insult her heritage because they don’t recognize it. I think sexual discrimination is a similar issue that is now getting attention. John Lennon had it right but there are still so many who don’t believe in his message.


    • In Asia at times some Westerners are treated like celebrities. Other times, there seems to be fear towards someone Anglo or non-Asian, and racism between one’s own race is a common phenomenon around the world too. Sorry to hear that your Jewish friend has been on the receiving end of discriminatory remarks. It never gets easier. Sexual discrimination is also just as rife, as well as age and disability discrimination. We live in such a judgemental world, a world where we feel comfortable in our own assumptions. This has got to change, and hopefully some day it will.


  39. I am sorry to hear that Australia is so racial in its treatments of Asians.
    Like your country Mabel, the UK is now a multicultural society. Where we have many who have made this country their home and who have been born and brought up here.
    It’s sad that people cannot SEE beyond skin textures and see the person.

    I have to say that here in the UK as regards to the media coverage and representation of Ethnic minority it has gone in the opposite direction..
    We always have to be politically correct in that adverts have a selection of mixed races and on broadcasting too, it seems the vote has now gone in the other direction and it is often the White minority that is left out.

    I often think that one day Mabel the world will integrate and as I see more mixed marriages the world will one day in the future create its own unique race of BEings. 🙂

    But it is like bullying.. There will always be those who are bullies and find their excuses and labels of whom they wish to bully and name call.. Seldom do these people look in the mirror at their own hate. And see themselves for what they are.. Cowards who are unsure of themselves so they lash out at others to make themselves feel superior.. And like you say, It gives them a feeling of Power.. When in fact they are nothing of the sort..
    They are just pitiful reminders of how weak minded they are as they think themselves Cool to abuse and ridicule.. Yet turn the table on the other foot and see how they would react if in reverse..

    Can we speak out against it.. Yes.. I often do.. I remember someone’s awful remark I was in hear shot one day. I stood up and told him so and asked if he had a child how he would feel if that had been said to them.. He had the grace to blush even though he gave me a few expletives back..
    If we stand by and condone it, it is as bad as being the abuser. For we cannot make change happen if we are willing to not do anything to alter things..

    In today’s climate I know it is not always easy to speak out, for so many take to violence and we soon can find the tables turned that way in on ourselves too.. But if we see or hear abuse, we should be prepared to stand up to it and voice our dislike of it..

    I really hope people have read your post in depth Mabel..
    We live in a world of responsibility, and with it comes the responsibility of our speech and how we offend others with our comments..
    We now live in a society whereby We think Freedom of Speech is being curtailed.. While we think such freedom should not be invaded.. It doesn’t give us the right to ridicule, or judge another by their looks or their country of origin or their beliefs..

    We are all of us responsible individuals and each person is in their own right And not to be judged by a collective label..

    A wonderful article here you have written Mabel, and wonderful to read..

    It is sad that you have been subjected to it.. I doubt people will stop, For it is driven within Human Nature through deep rooted History. And it is what we as a society have been taught.. As we fear others. So the finger pointing game is always there.

    Take care of yourself Mabel..
    Love and Blessings my friend


    • I have never been to the UK but it’s fascinating to hear of the diversity over there. Maybe it’s a reason why so many Australians are keen on gong there for work or play. Interesting to hear that representation over there has gone in the opposite direction, those of Anglo background are the ones left out. Hopefully no cultural groups get silenced. Certain groups may get less air time or space to speak in a given period, but hopefully everyone gets a turn and chance.

      True that that there are more mixed marriages. More and more of us are seeing each other as people, regardless of race, how we look and where we’ve been – valuing connections in each moment.

      Racism is like bullying. I would say it is bullying, and it is such an important point you bring up. Often their hate stems from home and within, maybe from insecurity and threat. As you said, some are just outright cowards who thrive on the power of seeing others down. You do wonder if education can help at all in these instances – someone is so intent on bringing others down, so self centred, is it even worth educating them. I do think it’s always worth a try. Maybe your suggestion will work: turn the tables on them and let them feel what’s it like to be picked on.

      Which leads in nicely to your next point, speaking out about racism. It was brave of you to stand up to that man and he acknowledged his behaviour. We do live in a world of responsibility, which is yet another important point that you bring up. This is a world where we need to look out for each other.

      A wonderful, insightful comment from you, Sue. Thank you for taking the time to read, reflect and respond. It was like I was reading a blog post from you. Take care my friend and look to the stars. Hugs ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t get me wrong Mabel, there are many areas where discrimination is still rife. and lots of wrongs that still need to be put right in the UK.. Its far from Perfect. But I feel especially in some communities there is a balance and tolerance that is lacking else where. And its good to see it when it works in unity.

        To be honest about the speaking out bit, It wasn’t until later I realised, that I could have come off worse for wear in speaking my mind..
        I once remember seeing a young man being chased in the shopping centre I was shopping in.. If my hubby had not grabbed my arm to stop me I would have given chase, as police were following him, It had crossed my mind in the split second I saw him to trip him up,,

        My hubby knows me and saw my intent and grabbed my arm.. I am afraid I do impulsive things like that.. The man was caught, he had stolen something from a shop and was already being watched I think.. But if we all stand by and do nothing nothing will change is my point..

        And my pleasure Mabel.. Loved to catch your excellent post.. ❤


        • I don’t think there can ever be a perfect. How pessimistic, but I think we will always be fascinated by difference and sometimes will simply react the wrong way. Hopefully, one day we will all be more respectful at the very least and keep learning.

          From the actions you narrated, you really are very kind Sue. It did sound like a rather harried chase and if you had free reign, maybe you might have fallen over for the greater good. It might have been an impulsive thought you had, but it was thought and most importantly felt for the good of the world. If you were not stopped, maybe you would have tripped the young man and lauded as a hero across the news 😊❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • Or as my hubby stated, got my own butt kicked lol or worse.. haha..
            I think sometimes we react out of instinct.. Anger too, take road rage for instance, which seems on the increase these days as stress levels reach new heights and people just blow a fuse.. 😦 not good..
            But if we all try to be tolerant, its a start.. xx


  40. Thanks, Mabel, this personal perspective really gives us an insight into a troubling, persistent, and pervasive problem. People judging other people. Even when relatively benign it is still hurtful. I’m sure we have these problems in the US, as a couple of my friends with Asian heritage have mentioned in passing. As I’m writing this, it is two days after “Roseanne” was suddenly canceled from broadcast television following the star’s blatantly racist social media tweet(s). Thanks for making your experience part of ours.


  41. We are all a part of one huge tapestry embroidered in different colours. Jessica is so right. How boring life would be if we were all the same. Having lived in South Africa from 1970 to 2011, I’ve seen and heard how ugly racism is, but wasn’t prepared to find that it was just as prevalent here in the USA today especially under the new president, who seems to encourage it. I’ve been shocked and saddened to realise how prejudiced many people are against those of a different skin colour. I’m sorry that you have experienced and continue to live with blatant racism, Mabel. That’s so horrible. Hugs to you. 🤗


  42. This is a very thought-provoking post, Mabel. Racism is seen in different forms all over the world. Sometimes people are humiliated due to the difference in colour of skin, sometimes due to the difference in nationality, religion, ethnicity or any other factor.
    ‘Racism isn’t just about prejudice and discrimination; it’s also about power.’ This statement that you’ve quoted says it all. Since ages, people have used discrimination as a means to consolidate power. Racism is an extension of discrimination.
    While we agree that racism must end, we have to live with the fact that racism is so ingrained in many societies that it might be difficult to obliterate it altogether.


    • Agreed, Somali. Discrimination is seen by some as a tool to gain power, and racism follows suit. When this happens, there are no winners. It will hard for racism to ever end because so many of us are so comfortable with the way we live our lives and refuse to change, and rather sit back. Thank you for stopping by and chiming in, Somali. Another conversation in hope of making the world a better place.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. I was saddened by reading you have experienced racism, Mabel. Recently my boyfriend was at a golf tournament and he told me he was the only colored person there. He said he felt a bit uncomfortable and that one man said a derogatory name to him. I wish racism didn’t still exist. Your post includes many positive words for moving forward and seeing more than race but instead the person within… and you have a beautiful soul, dear Mabel ❤ PS I love those murals you featured in the post too!


    • That was horrible what happened to you boyfriend. It is times like these you do wonder why people say such discriminatory things and that’s absolutely uncalled for. Race is a social construct, a person is usually not. A person is a personality often whom is unique but so similar to each of us in many ways. Thanks for stopping by, Christy. Hope to catch up with you soon. In the meantime, hugs across the many miles ❤


  44. Racism in the US is complex, and it’s gone through many historical stages. There was the Asian Exclusion Act in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries. In more recent times, Asians have been considered the model minority. Some people say that’s convenient as a way of proving that other minorities could be successful if they just acted like the well behaved Asians.

    Our current president is extremely racist. His followers believe that his election has given them permission to be as racist as they want to be. He and his followers have directed their racism mainly against Central Americans, blacks, and Muslims. It’s a difficult time here for those minorities.

    Even though racism in the US is not as often directed against Asians, even minor insults can be hurtful. Everyone wants to be considered an individual; no one wants to be stereotyped.

    I’ve asked my bi-racial children several times if they’ve ever experienced racism. I’ve been happy to hear that they’ve never noticed any racism directed at them. However, my youngest, who is a female structural engineer, has had to struggle against sexism. She has to be tough to hold her own against all those male engineers, architects and construction workers.


    • It is interesting to see the differences between racism in the States and Australia. It does seem the model minority myth is more prevalent and given more emphasis over there. Usually opportunity is what gets us far and contributes to our success, and often many Asian Americans – and Asian Australians – don’t get the same level of success and recognition due to lack of opportunities. Hopefully the political and social climate in American takes a turn for the better at some point.

      It is great that your children haven’t experienced racism. Sexism definitely still exists and it sounds like your youngest daughter has worked hard and spoken up heaps to get where she is today in her profession. Good on her.


  45. Racism is terrible no matter how you look at it. I’m so sorry you’ve dealt with this so much in Australia, Mabel. I’m pretty lucky — where I live I don’t feel the effects of racism much. I’m also just a white girl, which sadly is an advantage. I hate racism because, well, for so many reasons. No one can control what color they were born, and no one should have to wish that they could. We’re all equal and our differences culturally and otherwise are what make this world beautiful and interesting. I wish more people understood this!


    • Although you haven’t directly experienced racism, you do have a good head on it. I do look forward to the time you will write more about racism when you are ready, and it will be an interesting article to read. You are so right. No one can control what colour they are born, and we can’t help but be born the way we are culturally and really who we are as the person whom we are. It really is quite simple but some of us insist or just over-complicates the whole concept of just being unique and who you are individually.

      Liked by 1 person

  46. “Each racist moment I’ve experienced is memorable, unforgettable.” I can identify with this statement strongly. I remember hundreds, if not thousands, of traumatizing moments of racism from even my very early childhood. I don’t speak about them to anyone except my wife. Not anymore. The few times that I have in the past, people who are not like me and do not suffer the same racism that I do have relegated my experiences as something that everybody goes through. They’ve added that there’s something wrong with me because I fail to simply let go of the memory and pain of those awful experiences. I feel like it’s pointless trying to get others to understand, so the only way I can feel less stressed and; dare I say it, resentful, is to give up talking about it openly. That too causes stress because I feel certain that I am coping out when I ought to keep the issue on the table. Does this happen to you down under?

    “. . . but never once heard back. I had qualifications . . . had hard-to-come-by hands-on work experience and solid referees under my belt, and I do wonder where I went wrong. Maybe it was just tough luck.” I hear you! This has been my life!

    “. . . and pretty much outright told me he was attracted to Asian girls.” Yeah, like when certain white girls say that they ONLY date black guys. As if that’s a compliment to black men.


    • I am sorry to hear that you experienced racism, Allan. It is quite incredulous how people will judge a racist situation and pooh-pooh it so quick. You really don’t forget those awful experiences at the drop of the hat – and they happen again and again. Your question gave me something to ponder about. It is hard to have a discussion with people about racism here in Australia, at least those I have encountered. Those who are more willing to have a discussion are those from a cultural minority or who have experienced some form of racism. On the other hand whenever I try to talk about racism with someone who hasn’t experienced racism, quite a lot of the time they just nod along. Come to think of it, bringing up the subject of racism with those who might have experienced racism is also challenging – I’ve encountered others who don’t want to talk about the topic.

      Honestly, sometimes I feel I don’t want to talk about racism or even write about cultural identities. Not only would it be a pointless conversation, I also just want to focus on what I can do (say my day job) and what I want to do (passion projects) if you get what I mean.


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