Why It’s Time To Stand Up To Anti-Asian Hate Now

The recent rise in Asian hate crimes is alarming. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many Asian communities are facing a lot more racist attacks and discrimination, fearing for their safety.

Asian-American health workers have been spat on and accused of spreading the ‘Chinese virus’ in the US. Six Asian women were killed in the Atlanta spa shootings this year. In New York, an elderly Asian woman was kicked on the streets as bystanders watched on.

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Such harassment has also been felt here in Australia. 8 out of 10 Asian Australians reported facing discrimination during the pandemic. Chinese Australians experienced verbal and physical assaults going about their day.

One of the countless racist incidents I encountered last year in Melbourne as an Asian Australian stands out to me. This happened just as Melbourne was coming out of seven months in lockdown. It was yet another occasion where someone got away with being racist.

I remember this incident happened on a tram heading out of the city. I stood idly in the tram, my heavy bags of groceries at my feet, waiting for the tram to get moving. Just another weekday.

A resounding banging noise jolted me out of my mindless afternoon reverie. Glancing towards the doors, a raggedy Caucasian man in a tattered white singlet and baggy shorts shoved and shoved a heavy duty hand trolley against the stairs, trying to get on. He grunted, the trolley loaded with massive utility cases. Not exactly an unusual sight in Melbourne.

Racism towards Asians is nothing new. In Australia, the 1800s gold rush eras saw discontent towards Chinese immigration and interracial Anglo-Asian relationships. The White Australia Policy in 1901, which was later abolished, restricted this tide of immigrants.

The pandemic has no doubt incited more brazen attacks and micro-aggressions towards people of Asian background around the world. Racism is going nowhere and its consequences gives reason to stand up, speak up and stop Asian hate now.

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Asian hate causes pain

Asian hate and racism almost never ends well. Such hatred results in lives lost or death by discrimination. Some are lucky to make it home alive or not lose a loved one after a racist attack.

If you’re a victim of such an attack, your life may change and get affected in the short and long term. The senseless racist attacks of late have upended some to hospital. Research by Harvard University found people get higher blood pressure when they regularly experience discrimination.

I remember one of the passengers on the tram was a young Caucasian man. Without a word he got up from his seat and tugged at the trolley. After multiple tugs, the trolley thudded onto the tram. The doors shut and the not-so-packed tram pulled away from the city hustle and bustle.

The raggedy Caucasian man panted from the effort of getting on, leaving his gigantic trolley blocking the doors. He paced up and down the length of the moving tram.

‘If you’re Asian don’t look at me!’ The raggedy man yelled, loud enough for everyone on the tram to hear but to no one in particular.

‘If you’re Asian don’t look at me!’ he yelled again, pacing. The hatred of a phase lingered in the silent tram. Outside the tram wheels rumbled and squeaked.

When someone discriminates against other cultures, they are usually aggressive, intimidating and are a bully. This kind of bigotry xenophobic behaviour can linger with hate-crime victims, taking a toll on their mental health.

Since the start of the pandemic, Asian Americans experienced higher levels of mental disorders compared to Westerners. A study found Asian Australians who experience high levels of racial discrimination experience very high psychological distress.

When you get attacked for your culture or the way you look, chances are you get nervous going about living your life. You look over your shoulder knowing you could be a target any time, any day – and perhaps wonder if it’s your fault that you are a target.

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White supremacy marches on

The more Asian hate goes on, the more white privilege is the accepted norm and whiteness seen as the superior. The more nothing is done to stop Asian hate crimes, the less minority groups have a say and the less they are taken seriously.

White superiority brings challenges for people of colour in the Western world. If you’re Asian, this includes struggling to climb the corporate ladder. Always getting singled out by the police. People assuming you don’t have an opinion when you’re quiet.

Not every Caucasian is racist and many mean well, even wanting to change racist behaviours they might have. However white privilege exists unspoken and unconsciously on a large scale. Not everyone with white privilege realises they have white privilege – and that is part of the problem when addressing racism.

I remember the tram pulled up at the next stop. The doors opened. No one got on or off.

‘If you’re Asian don’t look at me!’

The raggedy man continued his verbal outburst, pacing without breaking stride within the narrow confines of the tram. The doors shut and the tram moved off through the quieter parts of town.

The more Asian hate is out there and white privilege is the accepted norm, the more white privilege is seen as the benchmark of success and ‘making it’.

When people keep getting away with committing Asian hate crimes, the more western ideals are the ideals to aspire to. Most people of colour don’t want to get racially abused every other week. Whitewashing your persona is a way to somewhat fit in.

For instance, it’s not uncommon for someone to use an Anglo-Saxon name instead of their ethnic name on their resume in Australia. It’s not uncommon for someone to cover up their ‘foreign’ accent and speak more Aussie to get accepted in professional and social circles here.

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Moreover, the more Asian hate crimes continue, the less cultural differences are accepted and respected. And there’s so much to be learnt from differences.

It’s not a crime when people of colour silently adopt a western persona to assimilate. It’s a personal choice. But when you live a life adopting another’s cultural traits, a part of your cultural identity can fade away – or at least becomes invisible instead of celebrated wherever you are.

I remember no one else said anything amidst the palpable punctuated silence on the tram. The raggedy man kept up his tirade like a well-oiled record-player, paying no attention to his trolley wobbling in sync with the motion of the tram. Truth be told, he looked high on something and made eye-contact with no one.

‘If you’re Asian don’t look at me!’

The young chap who helped him get on sat in his seat, staring out the window at the passing blooming spring trees. The Caucasian mother-daughter pairing standing across from me stared into thin air. Likewise the dark skinned girl in a hijab beside them stared into space.

As an introverted Asian Australian who likes keeping to myself, I too said nothing. And if I did say something in my non-Aussie, very much Asian accent, I’d probably be asking for trouble.

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Standing up for yourself and others

Racism has been ingrained in society for centuries. Charles Darwin’s concept survival of the fittest arguably constructs early theories of racism. Eons ago individuals competed against groups for food in the wild. The ‘fittest’ tended to be those who survived with their characteristics and produced offspring. In her article Roots of Racism, Elisabeth Culotta suggests in-groups and out-groups have constantly been defined through notions of love or lack thereof, perpetuating the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality.

In line with the psychology of racism, people are racist for different reasons: lack of security. The desire to protect one’s needs. Poor mental health and more.

There are similar motivations behind hate crimes. Some Westerners commit hate crimes to defend what’s important to them, getting more violent when they feel a person of colour is ‘invading’ their cultural turf.

Times have been challenging during the pandemic. People want certainty, so they pick on someone ‘different’ to justify what’s going on. But that never solves anything and creates more problems.

Racism also arguably stems from structures of the past and present. From a cultural studies perspective, cultural theorist Stuart Hall adopts conjunctural analysis as a way to understand the formation of racism – suggesting it’s a result of different intersecting forces, institutions and ideologies. Also, Hall writes cultural hegemony is never pure victory but a shifting balance of power. That is, racism and cultural hierarchies can’t be erased across different arenas overnight, if not ever.

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There are different ways to stand up to racism. You might be comfortable using a certain platform to express your thoughts on racial discrimination and do so when you’re ready. Intervening in a racist attack is admirable but not always wise. Your safety comes first. There’s no shame in running from a racist situation as a victim or thoughtful helpless bystander if you feel threatened.

Signing petitions is a start to get the attention of the status quo. Talking about your racist experiences and sharing them on social media highlights hate exists. You can report racial abuse to the police – however it might not get taken seriously as racial hate crimes are normally seen just as ‘public nuisance’.

Interestingly enough, experiencing Asian-hate can be a double-edged sword. As an Asian person in the West, racism hurts but it also forces you to confront the emotional baggage of what being Asian means: are you more than the model minority myth? Do you believe in Asian values? Will you ever feel belonging in the Western world and motherland? Where is home?

Being proud of your Asian identity gives us Asians certainty to fight racism. When you are proud of who you are, you are more willing to fight for your rights and look out for others.

Notably, embracing and accepting cultural stereotypes is a part of this equation. Often many are ashamed of or go against Asian stereotypes when in reality, stereotypes are a way of life for some. Just as rising above cultural stereotypes is important, reclaiming stereotypes is equally important. As comedians Nigel Ng and Evelyn Mok discuss on Rice to Meet You, it’s possible to reclaim stereotypes in a positive light and not be sad about being pigeonholed, essentially reimagining complex cultural identities. On diasporic identities experiencing multitudes of inner tension, Hall offers:

‘Identity is always a never-completed process of becoming – a process of shifting identifications, rather than a singular, complete, finished state of being.’

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Having grown up in Australia, and later Malaysia and Singapore, I constantly find myself transitioning between Chinese communal values and a Western individual-focused mindset. I’ve copped racism from white people and racism among my own race by being myself, embodying stereotypical and non-stereotypical Asian traits. But that doesn’t stop me from being a proud Asian woman.

I’ll never forget the tram approached my stop. Still the raggedy man kept up his tirade. Still everyone else was silent. Was anyone afraid of this raggedy man? You’ll probably never know. Sometimes you never know unless something changes.

The tram stopped with a screech and the doors opened. I grabbed my grocery bags off the floor, just as the raggedy man yet again strode too close for my liking with an earful of resentment.

‘If you’re Asian don’t look at me!’

With bated breath and hasty steps, I sidestepped the gigantic trolley. I got off the tram and watched it rumble out of sight. For a brief moment I wondered if everyone else got off without incident. Then with grocery bags weighing firmly in my hands, I ardently strode across the empty road to my next destination, wherever that may be. Just another day in Melbourne.

There’s much to be learned from racism and hate crimes, especially learning to respect each other’s differences. It’s time the world learned these lessons today.

Have you experienced racism or hate crimes?

169 thoughts on “Why It’s Time To Stand Up To Anti-Asian Hate Now

  1. What an unfortunate experience you encountered– I’m horribly sorry to hear about it. I’ve heard about the anti-Asian sentiment in Australia, and from the looks of it, it seems worse than what I’ve seen in the US! I’m Chinese-American, and throughout my life have I experienced blatant and subtle racism based on my ethnicity. I’ve lived in both the US and abroad in Europe, and interestingly, I’ve found the racism to be different in each setting, although both very upsetting. For instance, Americans are very passive-aggressive or make backhand remarks (e.g. “model minority,” “oh, you’re actually quite pretty for an Asian”), whereas in Europe, particularly in France, it’s a lot more obvious as the French are less-PC and call someone their “ami.e chinois.e” (“Chinese friend”), even if they aren’t Chinese (e.g. Korean, Cambodian, etc). I’ve also had creepy people exoticize and follow me around on the streets. It makes me sad that we have a “Stop Asian Hate” movement going on, but very few people outside of the Asian community are really supporting it– I can’t help but feel a bitter taste in my mouth, especially after the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer…like, where’s the support for us?? That’s why I’ve learned just to ignore the snarky, racist comments whenever I get them, and I look out for myself since our experiences aren’t being taken seriously by legislation and those around us. It’s an unfortunate case, but I’m hoping to ride this out, and that with time, people will forget about this and move on once COVID is over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The BLM movement is itself a complex beast. I was thinking to myself months ago that it’s not as though there’s anti-racism movements in ‘support’ of Indians or Asians (at least at that time), and it seems to me some of it is specific to racial politics in the US. Regardless, I don’t think having a similar movement for Asians would at all be helpful or constructive, as I described in my own reply below.

      I wasn’t aware of the French saying, coming from a French Creole-speaking family background, but I do know of the Chinese terms like ‘foreign devil’ and such. As I tried to say, it’s a problem that goes in all directions, so to frame this as only a problem of Caucasians against Asians is itself potentially a problem…

      I do hope you find more people who accept you regardless of who you are or where you came from, than those who don’t. Greetings from Sydney!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree movements are complex. They are often tied to complex events in history too. While these movements could potentially cause more divide, they also can encourage history to be remembered. Name calling each other in disrespectful, off-hand manners certainly doesn’t help much.

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      • I did not state or imply that it’s solely a Caucasian against Asian problem; the way I see it, it’s all communities that aren’t taking the anti-Asian hate seriously. Whereas we got massive turnout for BLM, the “Stop Asian Hate” movement has been relatively small and even more short-lived. If I’m to agree with you, I don’t believe that such protests really change much in legislation, at least not in today’s day and age with social media and its ephemeral news. Despite the efforts, legislation remains adamantly-still, refusing to budge. What I believe is that we need a major overhaul in who’s in power (e.g. the very rich), and more activism in creating petitions and calling our senators to persuade and enact laws for change.

        I suppose my framing of my racist experiences might’ve given you the impression that I’m surrounded by racism constantly, and I’d like to append by saying this is not the case. I come from a large, diverse city and have lived abroad in countries with racial and ethnic diversities. That said, I’ve experienced racism from time-to-time and am surrounded by open-minded friends and peers. It’s just the occasional, racist instances which really get to you, and to have a space to let out the frustation (as in Mabel’s post) helps as catharsis. I appreciate the comment!

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        • Legislation won’t change for a while due to institutional structures in place. It will be a long road ahead. In the meantime we should all try to stand up for each other as much as possible. Thank you for chiming in, Rebecca.

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    • There is room for a Black Lives Matter movement (which is primarily about police brutality in America and that community has a very disproportionate danger and right to fight back), as well as room for combatting anti-Asian hate.

      It’s quite a “divide and conquer” technique by the power structure, to think that one group’s rights somehow make for less support for others. Please don’t be manipulated by such tactics.

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      • Not being manipulated. My point was that it’s not so much about that one group should be supported over another but that we fall into the trap of dividing people on the basis of race or whatever. That’s something I disagree with. Even the potential for seeing all police as brutal oppressors is something I see more of in the States than in Australia, as well as viewing authority as ‘power structure’. You probably think me naïve but at least in Australia I don’t see the government as being ‘out to get you’.

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      • There should be – and should always be – room for us to express our voices, be it through movements or other avenues. It is unfortunate that some of these movements descend into violence – and there’s work there to be done.

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      • I’m very well-aware of the “divide and conquer” strategy that separates black and Asian communities from each other, which feed white power. I believe that both BLM and “Stop Asian Hate” can co-exist and even support each other, which I’ve seen a bit of it happening. I think what irks me is the people (regardless of race) who pick and choose whom to outwardly support, for the sake of social media clout; I find their antics, while well-intentioned, actually to be very insincere, especially if all you do is just hashtag your support, but do nothing about it. I firmly believe that, if you truly support a cause, you would actively speak up against such actions when it happens in real life, to call up our legislators and create petitions to make laws combatting against hate acts, words, and crimes towards minorities. I suppose I remain a skeptic, but only when we can truly acknowledge our own biases and take action to actively combat it (as opposed to passively on social media) can real, lasting change be made.

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        • Agree that different movements and groups can exist side-by-side. Social media is one way to show support for different causes. But as you mentioned, this can be passive action; sometimes people just post a photo or a hashtag to show ‘support’ and leave it at that. It’s a step forward towards combating racism, but a small step.

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    • I am also horribly sorry for you that encountered racism everywhere you have lived. Blatant or subtle racism, it’s racism at the endo f the day. Australians can also be passive-aggressive an d make similar backhand remarks like you mentioned. Honestly I feel some people mean well with these comments but a lot of the time it just reeks of the sentiments that you are ‘not worthy enough’ as someone from an Asian background.

      It’s not surprising you mentioned some people in France use phrases such as ‘Chinese friend’ to describe their friends – I’ve seen it happen here in Australia too. It seems a very factual way of describing someone if they are Chinese. But it is sad that some people pigeonhold someone of Asian descent as Chinese, and probably also assume that person speaks Chinese fluently too.

      The ‘Stop Asian Hate’ and BLM movements are interesting. One one hand it is time we all acknowledge cultural hate does not help us at all, and we should all make that be heard. On the other hand these movements have the potential to cause further division and inciting even more hate within other groups. It is encouraging that more Asians are standing up for each other and I hope this continues. Please keep looking out for yourself and stay safe.

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  2. Thanks for this thoughtful piece, Mabel. I feel your pain. I’ve certainly changed my accent to increase or decrease the amount of strine depending on the social circle. As a native Australian English speaker, it surprised me when people told me I had a Chinese accent. I don’t, but the dissonance between how I look and how I sound confused some people. It’s not as common now, but when I was younger, I found it curious.

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    • Thanks for taking the time to read, Gaz. That is so interesting to hear you change the amount of strine in your accent depending on your circle. I do that too, especially in professional settings – purely because speaking with strine gets the job done faster and people don’t question me.

      It is good to hear people generally don’t get confused about how you look and how you sound these days. Take care over there, Gaz.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Mabel, I am so sorry that you were a victim of this terrible racism. I’m glad you weren’t harmed physically but can imagine how frightening the situation was. You have outlined the current events well and it is a subject that is close to our hearts. I fear for my daughter-in-law who is Asian and worry about my granddaughters and hope that they will never experience such hatred. Be safe and take care. Thank you for writing this post.

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    • Thank you for reading and reflecting, Jane. It was definitely frightening situation – the guy on the tram could have turned violent at any time. I hope your daughter-in-law and family stay and don’t ever experience hate or backlash for who the are. The world needs more kindness, not hate. Looking forward to catching up with your photography soon. Take care.

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  4. While it’s nice to hear from you again, Mabel, especially in the midst of the renewed restrictions in Melbourne, it’s deeply saddening to hear of such experiences you’ve suffered.

    I’ll try to keep this short, because I find discussions on identity politics can quickly get out of hand. You know already that my experiences of racially-motivated attacks have not been the same as yours. But I feel a little concerned about the way you’ve labelled your post today specifically as *Anti-Asian Hate*. Of course, it is the nature of your blog to focus on Asian-Australian topics, I suppose, but I feel it also plays into the identity politics agenda that has plagued Australian and Western culture the last few years.

    Likewise, the assumption of ‘white supremacy’ can also be divisive. There’s no doubt that as European culture has spread across the world through the centuries it has asserted itself over others in ways that haven’t always been helpful. But to say or suggest that *everyone* who is of white descent automatically gets a free pass in society isn’t a helpful way of thinking. That’s what I find the problem with identity politics at play – in attempting to right the wrongs of minorities who have been or are currently suffering, the perceived ‘majority’ (in this case the ‘supreme whites’) are forced to suffer and become oppressed themselves. My white friends see this happening, and as a ‘banana’ you might consider me part of the ‘problem’ too.

    The problem with highlighting a particular minority, is that it elevates the perceived value of certain groups while devaluing others – in many cases where it may not be relevant or helpful at all. I’m seeing it in my workplace and all over Australian society in recent years. It’s not a good direction, and we are quickly becoming like America and other places where this ‘tribalism’ mentality sinks in. ‘If you don’t look like me, then you’re against me’ or ‘If you’re one of *them*, then you’re an oppressor just like them’. Where is it going to stop if we continue with this line of thinking? We saw ‘BLM’ in the States not to long ago, and if perhaps we now have something to akin to ‘ALM’, it will never end – there will always be some group suffering some sort of mistreatment or injustice, what of them? Indigenous Australians come to mind for me, but I’m sure there are many other groups just as much in need of attention.

    I recognise that you state ‘not every Caucasian is racist and many mean well’. Dividing people into groups on the basis of race – or whatever attribute is in fashion these days – is still a problem however. I’m reminded of the much-often quoted words from Morgan Freeman from back in the 2000s during an interview relating to ‘Black History Month’, that (at least in his view) the best way to end racism today was to ‘stop talking about it’. When we stop these artificial divisions between us, remembering that we are imago dei – made in the image of God – we learn to relate to each other as fellow human beings. Be as children making friends with everyone irrespective of race or whatever, as in the song 7 seconds, ‘and when a child is born into this world it has no concept of the tone the skin is living in…’ In other words, breaking the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality you referenced from Ms Culotta.

    There may well be a geo-political reaction against Chinese because of the actions and hostility of the Chinese *government* against the rest of the world. I know you had questions as to the origins of COVID-19, but the reports discussing the Chinese military investigating the potential of SARS as biological weapons (whether or not you trust their validity) can’t be helping the image of Chinese people in other countries. Similarly, I’ve written to you in the past of the hostility and rudeness of Chinese-Chinese against me as a Westernised Chinese, similar to what you describe in the last paragraphs. The problem of division and lack of love for fellow man (am I even allowed to use that word in today’s PC society?) is deeply embedded in all of us, and so I feel portraying this as a problem of only Caucasians against Asians may not be helpful.

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    • Wow. Even now you still think that the best way to end racism is to stop talking about it?

      What a stupid idea. Next time you go to the doctor, make sure to not talk about your diagnosis as a way to end it?

      And blaming China, as if conspiracy theories about the government there make racism acceptable. You seriously have some issues!

      And white people can take criticism by the way, as part of the power structure they should stop being so sensitive and whiney whenever privilege is brought up. White supremacy is a serious problem. Call it identity politics or not, but these issues need to be addressed. Period.

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      • Okay, I don’t think this is cool. You disagree with me, that’s fine, but there’s no reason to call different ideas stupid. This is precisely the same kind of thinking that leads to harm such as racism.

        The point was not that racism shouldn’t be talked about but that we’ve come to a point in society that there’s so much focus and obsession with race and other attributes, and somehow trying to ‘make up for the wrongs of the past’ that we end up continuing to destroy ourselves by highlighting things like race makes things worse not better. The point about ‘stop talking about it’ is not to ignore the wrongs, but to stop talking about those differences which we build up around ourselves.

        If you think I am blaming China, you’ve again completely mis-read me. I was simply trying to point out that different factors may contribute to hostility towards at least Chinese if not Asians in general. You may recall one of Mabel’s earlier posts discussed the pandemic and the negative reaction at least some Asians were experiencing as a result. That’s the only link I was trying to make. Once again, accusing me of having ‘issues’ is not cool and your tone is not conducive to civil, constructive discussion.

        Again, your reference to ‘power structure’. I can’t stop you thinking that everyone is ‘out to get you’ but not every Caucasian is part of the ‘power structure’ as you seem to think. The very fact that you appear to lump all Caucasians as being ‘part of the problem’ is precisely the problem I was trying to address in my remark. By your very classification of ‘white people’ as ‘part of the power structure’, it seems to me you are being just as much a racist as what you accuse Caucasians of being. This is precisely the identity politics I find so unhelpful and destructive.

        Instead, we should recognise that individuals find themselves in all kinds of circumstances, irrespective of race or whatever other attribute you want to use, and we should seek to love and care for those who are in less fortunate circumstances.

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        • Caucasians are not victims. I’m white, and I have white privelege. It’s easy to admit, it’s not that complicated

          That’s what power structure is all about, not lame attempts to dismiss with “that’s racism too” nonsense

          Being colorblind is BS. There’s no way to analyze the issues needing to be addressed in society, without studying demographics so as to create a mode fair society.

          Biases are real, and racism is real (racism also refers to structural oppression, not individual prejudice. That’s the definition)

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    • It is nice to hear from you too, Simon. It’s not only me who has suffered from hostilities. Others have too, including you as you mentioned.

      Agree discussions on identity politics and anything related to cultural background, can get out of hand, taken out of context and misinterpreted. After all, identity and the culture we inherently identity with is tied to our emotional core. I do agree with you that the title of my post is specific and focuses on a certain kind of hate out there. I went with that title as it describes what is factually happening around the world of late, and I wanted to highlight the fact that racism towards people of Asian background exist – in the succinctest way possible.

      In all honesty, I think all of us, you, me and everyone is part of the problem and the fact racism exist (and part of many other problems too). Depending on where one is in the world and your characteristics, you’ll have a different cultural experience. In general in the Western world, Westerners tend to have it easier than people of colour. I agree with you this isn’t always the case, as other factors such as social and economic status also influence if someone (no matter their background) experiences it harder than others. I don’t think any of us want a certain group to suffer for their wrongs – simply for all the hatred to stop. That said, it is interesting to hear some of your white friends see Westerners being oppressed – and I guess that’s where other kinds of racism come into play and I *somewhat* touched upon that in the post, though not very clearly.

      The highlighting of just one kind of cultural group can be divisive. Movements like BLM and Stop Asian Hate have their pros and cons. On one hand you can argue that these movements find fault with the dominant groups and prey on that, further perpetuating the tribalism mentality as you mentioned. On the other hand, these kinds of movements also highlight the cultural issues prevalent that have been going on for too long, and encouraging others to speak up and in the process find a community they belong too. If these movements didn’t exist, the underlying issues will probably always be swept under the carpet.

      I think racism will always exist (in a sense the artificial walls between us), or the concept of one group has better traits than others will always exist. That’s because we all have our strengths and weaknesses, different skills that will inevitably help all of us in some way. As I talked about Stuart Hall and the shifting balance of hegemony, different groups will be more prominent and have it easier at certain times, while others dominate at different times.That said, we can choose to break down artificial walls when it comes to making stereotypical judgements of people at first sight and instead focus on what we are as beings and really as just another person with a personality – which I think is what you are trying to say.

      Definitely remember the times you mentioned you received hostility from others, including Chinese people being rude to you. I have also experienced that and it’s not a nice experience at all. This is pessimistic thinking, but I don’t think we can fully erase division among us. People divide themselves for comfort and sometimes that is what makes them feel at home. However I do think we can tone down a lack of respect towards each other and learn to let each other be minus feeling hatred. In an ideal world, maybe we can have both.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I understand your choice of title, I suppose I’m just uncomfortable with the highlighting of one group over another, but again you have always spoken in relation to a specific group so I suppose it makes sense in your context.

        That we are all guilty to varying degrees of division – yet at the same time bound by a common humanity – is at least part of the point I was trying to make. I accept that those of a dominant culture (myself included) will often be at an advantage relative to others, but I baulk at generalisations that say – as Mr Ray seems to – *all* people of group X are the oppressors, *all* people of group Y are the victims. That kind of talk isn’t helpful, from what I can see – and yes, it does lead to the perpetuation of racism, such as what my Caucasian friends experience. It might be subtle, and it’s not as publicly visible (or garnering of sympathy) as discrimination against other races and cultures, but it’s definitely there. And that’s part of the problem when we continue to divide on the basis of race.

        The initial intent of movements like BLM I suppose can be admirable… but I also see the problems they can lead to when they degenerate into indiscriminate violence and civil disobedience. It’s not my intention to sweep issues ‘under the carpet’ – raising the awareness is important, but I think that perpetuating the focus on only certain groups just continues the problem.

        Yes, I wrestle with my own prejudices from my own past experiences, good and bad, but that’s it exactly: judge people on the basis of their conduct personally, not on what race they are – or whatever attribute you want to insert here. For example, the attitudes and conduct of people like Mr Ray deeply upset me and are precisely what keep me from being ‘included’ in areas such as ‘social’ media, with uncompromising statements such as ‘this is stupid’, ‘this is BS’, ‘you have issues’, ‘lame’, ‘nonsense’, etc. Such statements shut-down constructive discussion. You, on the other hand, seek to welcome everyone and find a common ground even if you disagree on certain points and as I said before that’s remarkable and I deeply appreciate that – regardless of your race or whatever attribute is the hot-topic of the day.

        As a recent, albeit trivial, example, I was cut off in a car park – without any signalling, no less – by an Indian driver. I thought to myself at the time that this is the kind of incident that can potentially incite racism – I took it as the driver individually being rude and inconsiderate, not indicative of all Indians in general. But I can all too easily see someone else less generous, especially if such incidents happen several times, jumping to the conclusion that all people are rude and inconsiderate.

        This kind of generalisation is what I want to avoid, but then I hear people like Mr Ray say blanket statements like ‘Caucasians are not the victims’ – if that’s not prejudice or racism, I don’t know what is. As I tried to (diplomatically) explain above, it seems to me this kind of thinking is just as much racial discrimination as anything that has gone on before.

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        • The highlighting of a certain group over another group is an interesting topic in itself. When you highlight a certain topic, you bring awareness of their unique traits and challenges, a celebration of differences. Some might see this as a group being prioritised over the other as you alluded to and the other group(s) being oppressed, leading to violence and civil disobedience. But I think we could all learn to respectfully give time for others to shine – in an ideal world. In the future, I would like to see more people speaking about about their own cultural group and what matters to them, and would like to see less animosity towards such causes.

          I definitely agree not everyone in a particular group thinks and means a certain way. There are, however, structures in society that marginalise one group over the other, and part of the problem lies with dominant groups wanting the status quo to remain as they are. Making sweeping statements and generalisations about each group and each other isn’t exactly helpful when we’re trying to work our issues underlying racism and how we can work together moving forwards.

          Additionally, dominant groups also face their own issues. I remember when I lived in Singapore for many years, I was part of the dominant cultural group (Chinese). Everywhere I went in Singapore, I felt a part of the place, spoke English like the locals, basically living a comfortable life without having to watch my back there. At the same time I could see unspoken division and racism within this demographic based on quite a number of factors (mother tongue, place of birth, education etc.). I guess the point I’m trying to make is that no matter which demographic we fall into, we’ve got our own issues.

          Agree it is easy to shut each other down on social media (which people can do in so few words), and nothing constructive comes out of it. There is nothing stopping someone from expressing their opinions even if they are rather left-of-road opinions. The least we can do is state our opinions and not point fingers. Unhappy and opposing sentiments can escalate pretty quickly on on social media and that has the potential to send the wrong message to others.

          That was a terrible incident that happened to you in the carpark. Glad you are okay and nothing else came of it. It definitely can incite racism. If I was in your shoes, I would have thought that is out of line with road rules, but I would also have thought this is completely normal behaviour. This is because I grew up seeing Indian drives and many people of Asian background having no regard for road-rules. I guess in short, I wouldn’t have thought much about that Indian driver, nothing about racism and just glad to be alive. But someone else with a different life story and background than me might think otherwise. In other words, one can argue that racism is a matter of perspective in some instances.

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          • I think that’s what we both want – for all cultures major and minor to be genuinely appreciated. I mean, no-one really cares about Mauritian culture – there’s so few of us in the world after all. But even a small minority with a big voice can be noticed, sometimes to the detriment of others. I think that’s what I dislike about movements like BLM – not the fight against genuine problems like inappropriate use of force and prejudice, but the forcing of a narrative that a given group has to somehow atone for the wrongdoings of individuals in the past. The kind of narrative that I see Mr Ray pushing, where we degenerate into a ‘me too’ culture instead of walking forwards together in shared humanity.

            I don’t think I ever argued for a ‘status quo’, but I can understand how people mistake disagreeing with current PC narratives as such. I’m reminded of my time with Indigenous peoples in the north-west, who could easily – if they were to follow those same narratives – see us whitefellas as people to be fought against as Mr Ray advocates. Indeed, I see some Indigenous peoples following this pattern in the same way that many blacks in the US do. But instead, they greet us with warmth and love and welcome us into their community, even in the midst of their suffering – they just want to be respected as fellow Aussies and not be pre-judged as many of us in non-Indigenous Australia do. I find that very humbling and a much better way forward together than advocating for continued divisions along racial lines.

            The car park incident was actually fairly trivial – but I admit that I did find it rather frustrating being put in danger and being forced to take action to avoid it a collision. But that’s my point: even if there is a stereotype that Indians are bad drivers, I resisted the urge to think that just because he is Indian doesn’t mean he’s representative of all Indians. In the same way I was trying to illustrate that you can’t group everyone together like that as Mr Ray seems to. Just because many in power who have oppressed peoples in the past were Caucasian does not make all Caucasians ‘the problem’ – just thinking of the slave trade in the British Empire, for example, and those who fought to abolish slavery – should they, as ‘white people’ in ‘power structures’, be fought against too simply for the ‘crime’ being ‘white’? That’s another point I’m trying to make – power structures in and of themselves are not wrong or evil, the problem is that all too often those in power are prone to abuse it or at least not use it wisely to benefit all peoples.

            Anyway, thank you again for your kind and considered response. It reminds me why I keep coming back here, I was not feeling very welcome after the barrage of rude remarks earlier.

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            • Simon, I decided to read your comments on Mabel’s post, and based on your comments (which are detailed and well-articulated!), I think our opinions are a lot similar than we think. I’m not one to degenerate to violence and anarchy for the sake of justice (which I experienced with BLM last year and disagree with the tactics for an otherwise good cause), but I’m also not one for complacency with knowing that the institutional structures, i.e. predominantly white, are so ingrained in society that we shouldn’t at least try and continue to push, little-by-little, to improve the situation of minorities over time. I believe it starts at the individual level, by calling out racism in our everyday lives, to petitions and calling our senators to press for change. To solve (or ameliorate) an issue, it’s important to cut to the source, which is rooted in politics and those who are in power, instead of wasting time arguing or belittling people on social media, which I unfortunately got horrible backlash for my “less-radical” opinion on BLM– I don’t blame my peers (many of us Millennials) for being angry at the injustice, but too much anger clouds good judgment. It’s about cutting through the quagmire of various issues at hand (e.g. racism, police brutality, corporate greed) and try to regroup and organize how to tackle such embedded problems in society today. While I may not have a solution to such issues, I do hope that with civil discussion and “active” activism (and not just passive social media activism) can be move forward for the better.

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              • Hello Rebecca, thank you for taking the time to write and for your compliments (I think I just talk/write too much sometimes). I’m not sure we are all that different either, in contrast to some others here, but I also don’t see things so black and white (pun not intended) in terms of things like ‘institutional structures’, although I’ll grant that may be because I’m part of the dominant culture (despite being ethnically Chinese) and when you’re a fish in the water it can be hard to recognise that water.

                I reiterate that it is good and proper to speak up against injustices where they occur – what I don’t agree with is where such actions goes to destructive extremes (and perhaps this is similar to your experiences of the ‘more radical’ elements of movements like BLM) of labelling everyone in the dominant culture (in this case, Caucasians) as being an ‘enemy’ and someone to ‘fight against’ and bring down. That just perpetuates the division and doesn’t solve anything in the long run. However, I also recognise that such extremes are very popular in drawing support and I suppose that’s why such tactics are often employed particularly in the ‘social’ media space with so many younger, malleable minds. I see this strategy used in many other popular ’causes’ too, not just BLM.

                Just a quick note on ‘police brutality’ – I recognise police culture in Aus and US are quite different (use of firearms, for example), and although abuse of authority and inappropriate use of force is a problem here as well (anger against Indigenous Australian deaths in custody follows a similar pattern to BLM, for example) I think the distrust of authority in the US is a lot more prevalent than in Australia. I want to highlight this as another example where it’s not helpful to lump everyone in the same group – I have friends serving in the police force and I think the majority of police genuinely want to help and serve their community, but treating them all as ‘brutal oppressors’ is not helpful or constructive. Similarly I recently read of some police in China showing sympathy and concern for those arrested in the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre – so often it’s not so simple as black and white (again, pun not intended) in thinking of ‘police = bad’, ‘protesters = good’ and such. But such simplicity is a popular narrative and that’s what emboldens movements such as BLM.

                At the end of the day civil discussion and genuine, constructive action are good steps to take and I deeply appreciate that you’ve been willing to write to me in such a manner.

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              • I forgot to point out that the backlash you received for not being as ‘radical’ is another popular tactic in garnering support. If you’re not with us, you’re against us – the whole ‘cancel culture’ thing, it tolerates no dissent. It’s not conducive to civil, constructive discussion.

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            • That is sad when you mentioned ‘no-one really cares about Mauritian culture’ :S That made me sad. Even if there are a few of you in the world, it doesn’t mean others aren’t interested in Mauritian culture or welcome it. I am sure many out there would be happy to know more about it and get to know you for your background and for your individual personality too.

              Movements do play upon a certain narrative and project that to the world. I am inclined to think that recent narratives projected by recent movements are true and tell truths to a large degree. However these narratives definitely don’t apply to everyone. There are things that happened in the past that should not have happened. These events should be accounted for, somehow recognised. I do think I get where are coming from when you mention you don’t entirely agree with a group atoning for wrongdoings of the past. For instance, I have some Caucasian friends who apologise to me in person about racism in Australia (even if it’s a racist attack happening to someone else). I am always surprised by that. It’s thoughtful but at the same time I don’t expect them to apologise – and an acknowledgement of past mistakes on a broader level would probably have a larger impact.

              It is always lovely to hear of your interactions with Indigenous peoples as you have mentioned in the past (your trips to the Pilbara). It really is great they greet you with warm and love even if they are going through challenging times, or live a vastly different lifestyle compared to say, middle class Australians. Events like Reconciliation Week are a step forward in bringing different demographics together – and also encouraging us to remember events of the past.

              In instances like you had in the car park, safety comes first. That’s the most important. You definitely can’t group everyone under the same banner and assumption. Zhou in the comments also made a similar point to you, about how class structures creates division among every society and perhaps certain classes are more likely to show discriminatory behaviours at times. Correctly me if I am wrong. I feel that is what you are saying in relation to not all Caucasians are the problem and power being abused by those who hold it.

              I am sorry to hear you did not feel welcome. It’s easy to get carried away when you don’t agree with someone’s opinion. I don’t think Ray was attacking you personally but more so disagreeing with your opinion which I am sure others share as well. People will have their opinions but I am inclined to think people who come here mean well. I do try my best to moderate comments on here when things get opinionated, keeping in mind we all have the right to express our opinions and drawing the line at personal attacks and outright expression of hatred to individuals or groups.

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              • Oh it’s simply a factor of numbers. Mauritians are a small population so it’s completely understandable that they are not going to be widely recognised. I don’t see any political agenda causing this. (:

                I believe in learning from past mistakes, I think it is good and right to work together so that these things don’t repeat (those failing to learn from history being doomed to repeat it, etc). But I don’t think they should be used as a beating stick to hold people today as somehow being responsible for the transgressions of the past – both recognising that some things that we find disagreeable today were actually done with good intentions in those past generations (cultural shifts), and also that you can’t treat everyone in a group as being all the same or necessarily party to those past events. The latter point is especially what I am strongly against – from many of the comments here it feels like it’s ‘okay’ to bash (whether physically or verbally) Caucasians because many who were Caucasians in the past did so in kind before them. That just perpetuates racism, it doesn’t ‘solve’ it.

                I bring up my experiences because I think striving for harmony is more than just nice PC events like Reconciliation Week – it’s actually walking side-by-side with fellow human beings because they are people too, not ticking some box to satisfy some arbitrary rule or to make people feel better about their consciences. I’m not saying I do this particularly well nor am I saying all such activities are PC-motivated, but that is the overwhelming mentality I’m observing. It doesn’t change anyone or anything at their core if things are only done to tick the PC box. I can speak of a deeper love that transcends our humanity, but you already know of that and people may think it’s tangential to the specific discussion here.

                I think what I’m trying to promote is moving away from the idea of any sort of prejudgement based on division. ‘Fighting against white man’ and that kind of mentality. We can complain all we like about the wrongs of the past but nothing is going to get better (and I think it will only get worse) if we perpetuate those kind of ideals, to ‘bring down power structures’ and the like. This kind of hostility is what my Caucasian friends observe and it’s harmful to all society, not just them.

                As I said, I don’t mind if someone disagrees with me but the way in which I was confronted reeked very much of typical ‘social’ media behaviour – constant put-downs and insults, hiding behind absolute statements (justifiable or not) instead of seeking a genuine dialogue. I do very much think it was a personal attack (the insults were directed at me personally) – that’s the problem with the anonymity of the Internet: people are too quick to judge and say things they may well not say in person. I was trying to promote a civil discussion where we can work out our differences but instead I just kept running into the same wall of hostility – so I decided it wasn’t going to be worth my time or mental health to continue pursuing that conversation. Again, I appreciate your efforts to be generous in your own conversations.

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                • Although Mauritians are a small population, there is much to learn about Mauritian culture. I’ll admit, I don’t have comprehensive knowledge of the culture, but always happy to learn. And I am sure others will too 🙂

                  I think you summed it up very well what you and I have been conversing on: ‘you can’t treat everyone in a group as being all the same or necessarily party to those past events.’ Not everyone is responsible for the hate and mistakes in the past, and for events in the present day too. I don’t think many of us (as individuals) assume every one of a particular group is responsible for certain events. But the media, people in power and even activism can suggest otherwise.

                  Solving racism is a puzzle in itself. From what we’ve discussed so far, I am not sure if you feel racism can be solved…or I guess to maybe even pick your brain further, if there are fool-proof strategies to reduce discrimination. Personally I feel racism will never be solved but we can learn and change how we think about others and how we treat others – basically change our mindset and habits towards others. I do feel this is easier said than done, and need s to go hand-in-hand (and worked on thereafter) with bigger diversity events. Having more open and honest civil, non-accusatory discussions about our perceptions and feelings towards each other should also be encouraged in tackling racism.

                  It is good you know when to withdraw for your own well-being and your mental health. I am genuinely sorry if you feel attacked on here. Rest assured, I respect your opinions and where you are coming from even if your opinions are markedly different from mine. I am sure there are others out there who agree with you. Thank you for contributing as always.

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                  • I don’t profess to know that much either – after all it’s my parents’ heritage, not mine. (: I suppose I was just making the point as an example of how far does one have to go in order to be ‘inclusive’? There has to be a human or practical limit at some point. But if you’re really that keen to have a taste, the first thing that comes to my mind – at least in terms of culture and arts (keeping in mind there’s no native population) – is the séga dance. This song also seems to be very popular in relation to that – I don’t know if it’s a traditional séga song but I remember hearing it a lot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9Ud-hU6XnY (there’s a 30 second introduction)

                    I do hope it’s the case that not everyone assumes uniformity in a group such as a race, but the discussion here, my friends’ experiences (both Caucasian and otherwise), and the wider media does strongly suggest otherwise to me. (Also, I was just reminded this week of a Nigerian friend’s disapproval of BLM, actually…)

                    I’ll reiterate that my approach is remembering that we are all made in the image of God and thus everyone should be accorded basic dignity for that. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ and ‘consider others better than yourself’ also comes to mind. I know you don’t necessarily agree, but I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that when we live as we were designed, life works well. (:

                    It’s not really your fault, but I did wonder before I wrote anything for this post whether or not I would get bad reactions to my comments. As always, thank you for your respectful conversation.

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                    • That is a good question, how far does one have to go to be inclusive, and feel ‘inclusive’. It probably is different for each individual and what they perceive to be important to them in life. Thanks for sharing that séga song. I’ve actually never heard of it, and on first listen it seems to have a reggae feel about it and upbeat too. I don’t understand the lyrics though. I learnt something new today, that séga is one of the main genres of music in Mauritius 🙂

                      Your views and my views are different, but I think we can all agree that we are all individuals and at the same time we are people. We should be looking out for others and treating each other with respect rather than one-upping each other.

                      It’s wise of you to wonder if your comments would receive any responses. You just never know who you will encounter online. Similarly, I also wondered if this post would receive opinionated reactions before it was published XD

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  5. Terrible that such hatred exists in the 21st century!

    We must all fight hard against the resurgence of white supremacy (and fight hard against all the institutional structures that have always existed). Especially white people

    Hope Australia and the rest of the west can stand up, keep speaking your mind and do your best…

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    • Thanks, Ray. Terrible that so much hate exists today. It’s good many of us are acknowledging it. Yes, institutional structures and institutional racism are part of the problem. Maybe one day all of us will realise the world would be a better place with less hatred and more kindness.

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  6. Sorry to hear your story, but well told as ever. It sounds as if everyone was afraid of the man and that he had mental health or drug-related issues. No excuse for racist behaviour though. Stay safe.

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  7. Mabel, excellent narration. When I was a student there in the late 60-70s, it was a very friendly and non racial country, except discrimination towards their own aborigines. Two decades later, I revisited, and found it was no longer the same lucky country and people I knew. They were bewitched by arrogance and fear.
    Dr.Lim Keng Huat, http://www.wonkywizard.wordpress.com

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    • Thank you for noticing the narration, Wonky Wizard, or should I say Dr Lim. That is quite a thoughtful, astute way to put it, ‘bewitched by arrogance and fear’ – and I feel that sentiment here a lot these days. Hope you cherish those nice memories of Australia.

      Also, I remember seeing you around and good to see you again. Take care over there.

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  8. I’m sorry no one offered you a single word of solidarity, Mabel. I’d like to think we white people would if we didn’t think it might make an unstable, homeless person worse, but too often that simply isn’t the case. My Chinese-American husband and I talk about the Anti-Asian hate that’s been emboldened by Trump and highlighted by social media. He talks about how it’s frightening because “it could come from anyone, at any time.” And this is despite the fact that we live in a community with a significant Asian-American population.

    There are actually quite a few online training programs for us white people here in the US, on what to do in the face of verbal and physical racist attacks. But even with training, stunned silence over breaking the social norms is typical. We have to do better.

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    • It is always nice to feel solidarity from others but at the end of the day, really hope everyone is safe out there. It’s terrible there are homeless, high-on-drugs racists out there – and sadly the safest thing you can probably do is let them get away with tit. It’s great your husband and you talk openly about anti-Asian hate, and hopefully Andy hasn’t been on the receiving end of similar incidents (not surprised if he has). Sometimes I feel heavily Asian-populated suburbs make easy targets for perpetrators out there.

      Agreed the world has to do better in the face of hate and cultural discrimination. Stunned silence could be the answer in some situations but it never is the only way to move forwards.

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  9. Such profound discussion surely shows “hatred” has been a deep-rooted in human interactions. Kudos to you Mabel for highlighting such a sensitive and provocative issue.
    While hatred simmers within, very few people show it openly and most of them who take the drastic steps are the frustrated souls, dealing with their own insecurities and fears. Many of them could be struggling with more than one issues and I must emphasize that hatred is a global phenomenon. It raises its head time and again when the atmosphere is favorable or it is raked by so called leaders.
    Probably you are not aware of the situation in India, which has been grappling with discriminations on the basis of caste, creed and gender but has lately been a burning cauldron, fanned and flanked by the leaders of the day.
    I am sorry you too have had a first hand experience of hatred, Mabel. Take care.

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    • This is such a thoughtful and reflective comment from you, Balroop. You are spot in in saying that such sentiments in the community are sensitive and provocative, and hatred simmers within. Often this hatred simmers and simmers and eventually boils over. It is true that some people could be struggling with multiple issues and that could be a reason for acting out violently – and these people probably need a lot of help. Leadership and our world in general is so competitive and that probably also contributes to discriminatory behaviour and people tr to put themselves first.

      All the people I’ve known from India or have ties to India are lovely (such as you). It is sad to hear what is happening in India of late. Hopefully with time things get better. You take care too, Balroop.

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    • Thanks for reading, Lavinia. Hate and prejudice have no place in this world. Hopefully things get calmer at some point. Life would be easier if we could all be kind to one another and let each other be.

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      • The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is simple, all encompassing, the only rule we all need to remember, but it seems the hardest for humans to live by.

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        • That is a great saying and thought, Lavinia. Thank you for sharing that. I agree, many seem to act out without thinking about others. If we could all just slow down and see each other as just another person, and just let them be, there would be more peace in this world.

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  10. An incredible awareness piece, Mabel. You called it a year ago. I began seeing it here in my city (via the news) during the first lockdown shortly after you wrote about it happening in your hometown. I’m sorry you and your culture are suffering racist threat. It is incredible to me as it feels like we have reverted to our animalistic instincts. Instead of becoming more refined, we seem to be regressing as a civilization. This is WRONG. It needs to STOP.

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    • Thank for your support, kind words and stopping by again, Lisa. I think you described it well, that we are regressing as a society as opposed to being more progressive. That is terrible to hear there are similar incidents in your city and I am sorry to hear that. I hope you are safe there and things are getting better. By speaking out, we bring more awareness to what’s going on. Stay safe, Lisa.

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  11. I’m so sorry you experience so much racism and hate, Mabel. You truly don’t deserve it. I’m so sorry that no one else felt able to silence the man on the tram. It does sound like he was experiencing some sort of mental health episode, but that gives no excuse for his or anyone’s else behaviour. Unfortunately, I think most of us don’t know how and don’t feel brave enough to respond in such circumstances. We don’t want to put outselves out there and face the brunt of anger and aggression. Some of us can hide. It’s not so easy for you.
    I’m currently reading a book by Frederick Joseph called The Black Friend, On Being a Better White Person. It is eye-opening and interesting and suggests some strategies for dealing with racism. Although it is written about the US situation, I believe it applies equally to the situation here and I think it is a book we all need to read and discuss. Your posts are equally illuminating. Please keep sharing your message and your experiences. Some of us will learn.

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    • Thank you for such a thoughtful comment, Norah. Also thank you for reading and sharing your reflections. The man on the tram did seem to have some sort of mental health episode as you put it. Honestly he felt like he could use some help as mental episodes are a very real thing. It would be nice if someone tried to reach out, but then again you never know how he could have reacted. I think the last thing anyone wants is for him to act out and someone else gets hurt in the process. I don’t blame the other passengers for keeping to themselves. It really is very difficult to step in during situations like these.

      That sounds like an interesting book you are reading. I will have to put it on my reading list. Hope you are getting much out of the book, and apply the strategies and concepts to situation here in Australia. Thank you for your kinds words and take care.

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  12. I don’t understand this sort of hate. Jealousy maybe? Both of my kids tell me they didn’t think of skin color until college when it was accepted to judge based on it. By then, it was too late–they refused or laughed at it. Here, in America, it’s become almost openly anti-white.

    We’ll have to don our body armor daily.

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    • Jealously could most certainly be the root cause of hate. It is sad to hear some people judge based on colour of your skin and looks. You do wonder why as that does society no faces. Take care of over there, Jacqui. Stay safe.

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  13. Unfortunately I have to say, the first world countries’ politicians have learned well from third world gangster politicians like ours here, that instead of harping about the usual issues, it is easier to gain attention and support of the people by encouraging hate: political hate, racial hate, religious hate etc. The more people hate, the more they are united in hating due to herd mentality.
    I don’t know about Australia, but talking to my friends in the US, I believe the general public are still pretty much the same as they were 10 years ago. I mean, a good many of them don’t really trust the politicians and the news anyway, so they don’t get swayed by the “China virus” talk much. But of course, there would be some that would still be swayed, and then those who are inherently racist, thanks to the government officials yapping about it, they probably feel more empowered to come out and express their hate publicly, in ways you highlighted in your post. Unfortunately, hate politics is here to stay, because it works,
    We’ll have to face it head on. Well, more like you have to face it head on and be strong. Here we have Chinese hate and I’m used to being asked to go back to China since way back when, but because Malaysians are generally cowards so it rarely turns into physical attack, so… you can say we become lethargic to deal with it, but I feel like because it is just empty shouting, it doesn’t hurt me even 1 millimeter, so the best way to deal with it is to not bother dealing with it. And sometimes we hate them just as much as they to us, so it’s all nice and fair.

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  14. Unfortunately I have to say, the first world countries’ politicians have learned well from third world gangster politicians like ours here, that instead of harping about the usual issues, it is easier to gain attention and support of the people by encouraging hate: political hate, racial hate, religious hate etc. The more people hate, the more they are united in hating due to herd mentality.
    I don’t know about Australia, but talking to my friends in the US, I believe the general public are still pretty much the same as they were 10 years ago. I mean, a good many of them don’t really trust the politicians and the news anyway, so they don’t get swayed by the “China virus” talk much. But of course, there would be some that would still be swayed, and then those who are inherently racist, thanks to the government officials yapping about it, they probably feel more empowered to come out and express their hate publicly, in ways you highlighted in your post. Unfortunately, hate politics is here to stay, because it works,
    We’ll have to face it head on. Well, more like you have to face it head on and be strong. Here we have Chinese hate and I’m used to being asked to go back to China since way back when, but because Malaysians are generally cowards so it rarely turns into physical attack, so… you can say we become lethargic to deal with it, but I feel like because it is just empty shouting, it doesn’t hurt me even 1 millimeter, so the best way to deal with it is to not bother dealing with it. And sometimes we hate them just as much as they to us, so it’s all nice and fair.

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    • Scaremongering is one way to get attention and support of us, especially if you want to persuade them to think a certain way. It’s a tactic the media uses, and probably many in leadership positions too. It’s also a tactic used to encourage drama and attention, diverting attention from other important issues/problems going on.

      It is interesting to hear about your friends in the US don’t trust politicians but other people do. I guess wherever you are there are people who will think one way and other people think the other way – so inevitably there will be divisions anywhere. Agree some people will come out expressing hate and discontent about the world and people and all it takes them is just a leader that speaks their language, or they get triggered by something they see.

      Hate politics is indeed here to say. Indeed racism and hate can be a lot of empty shouting – people shout that they hate you but if you don’t take it to heart, it can’t affect you too much. As the saying goes, empty vessels make the loudest noise and sometimes they will simply carry on. Ignoring them and carrying on with your life is always an option. While it doesn’t solve the issue at hand, you are spending time on yourself and going about your life.

      The Chinese hate you experienced must be annoying. But what can you do right there and then, most of the time nothing 🙄

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  15. Thanks for sharing! Your message is loud and clear–hate crimes will not be eliminated by looking the other way and you’ve helped us face what it’s like to be discriminated against for your race/culture. Here in US, the poor of every race are continually being discriminated against in so many ways. What a wonderful world it will be when we all learn to love (not hate) on another. ❤

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    • Thanks for chiming in and for your kind words, Bette. Much appreciated.. That is sad to hear the poor are being discriminated and looked down upon in the US. No person deserves to be judged harshly based on how they look or how much they have. So agree. When we all learn to respect each other, and learn to show love and kindness to each other more, the world will be a better place ❤

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  16. Mabel I am very sorry you had to experience this. This anti-Asian sentiment is heartbreaking. I applaud you using your voice to make readers more aware.
    I wonder if I can ask your advice. If I had been on that train, as Caucasian stranger, how could have I best supported you? Would it be helpful to move near you to stand in solidarity? To offer to walk with you when you exited the train? Or would you feel that it drew more attention to you?
    Only answer if that is comfortable for you to do.

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    • Thank you for reading, Sue. There is so much hate going on in the world right now. Many don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of this hate.

      It is very kind of you to want to reach out and ask how if you could assist. Those are some very interesting questions you asked there. In these kinds of situations, I think it’s common sense to not want to aggravate the perpetrator in any way, so maybe staying silent and not getting in his way on the tram might have been best. If you’re getting off at the same time, you could always offer a word or two to check if they are okay. That said, some victims of racism might prefer to keep to themselves as they rather not talk about it.

      Thank you for your support. Sue. You are very thoughtful.

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      • Mabel my guess is that Lex and I would have the same instinct to want to shield you from the abuse. Assessing the situation for danger and not escalating the already confrontational person is paramount. It may be in that moment one would need to take stock of what is happening to see what could be best.

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        • That is so protective and kind of you to have wanted to shield me from abuse. I agree, it is an option to take stock of he moment and assess to see how you could diffuse the situation if it got out of hand. Each racial attack is different, and there are different ways to help. Once again, thank you for being so thoughtful, Sue. It is much appreciated.

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  17. All I can really say is that anti-Asian hate is despicable. There are many white people who are your allies, as we are allies with all people who are subject to prejudice. Of course, that is not enough, and we all have to figure out how we can best help. I love Sue’s question above because she, like me, would like to do more, but it’s very hard to know what is best in many circumstances. Like many other readers, I am sorry you have had to experience hateful racism.

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    • Anti-Asian hate is indeed despicable. It is lovely to hear that people are supporting those who are being discriminated because of their background, and thank you for your support. Sue’s questions are indeed very interesting. There are many ways to help. I’d say it’s best everyone is safe, safety comes first – and probably reach out when the coast is clear.

      Haven’t seen you post in a while, Lex. Hope you are doing okay. Take care.

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  18. I am so sorry about your experience, Mabel. It sounds as though he may have been mentally ill but there are many others who have no excuse. I have experienced a variety of racism and all of it feels nasty. When I looked more Hispanic, I was always pulled out of the security line to be body checked for drugs or worse. In Egypt I was subject to hateful words because I was a Westerner. As a child in a Catholic school I had to learn self defense to protect myself against Loyalist bullies (IRA times). Here some of my ancestors are from Mexico – and that is a whole other battle.
    My only conclusion is that fear of someone different is always in our makeup and some people behave appallingly.

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    • Thanks, Kerry. I agree that the man on tram may have been mentally ill. Honestly he probably needed help. Racist behaviour is racist behaviour and it should not be tolerated.

      I am sorry to hear about your racism experiences. That does not sound pleasant being targeted to be checked at the airport and use self-defence to protect yourself because of the way you looked. Racism happening to Westerners is also a thing (it seems to happen in some countries in Asia too) and hope you don’t get any more hateful words.

      Fear of someone different is not a crime. But it is not acceptable to project that fear deliberately on others and cause hurt.

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  19. A wonderful post. A lot of good things for people to reflect on and help them to see different perspectives and examine there own thoughts and biases. I too have experienced plenty of racism in my life, both in the states (a little – part of being a whiteboy in Detroit) and in China (a lot). The average run of the mill racism I recieve in China 10 times a day being treated like an animal in a zoo doesn’t bother me much beyond eye rolling because there is no malicious intent behind it – and I think intent is critically important. The structural discrimination I have to deal with trying to live my normal life in China is what bugs me the most. Not being allowed to participate in specific social security programs costs me about 800 AUD a month, my daughter was denied hukou (her Chinese birth right – so now she’s not Chinese anymore) for a profoundly dumb reason, she won’t be allowed to attend public school in Suzhou because no foreigners are allowed in the public school system from primary school up – which will cost a fortune in private school tuition or force me to move to Beijing. Those are just the big ones – a ton of small ones as well. Of course this kind of thing helps me to truly understand the systemic racism of my own country that existed in the past at an even greater level (Jim Crow, redlining, etc) and to a lesser extent today (employment, policing, etc)

    What I really appreciated in the post was your story telling style that continued to reconnect the reader to the fear of the moment and hatred of the racist on the subway car (and sorry you had to go through that – just horrible). I think it brings to life the physical aspect of open, aggressive racism – especially for women of color. I don’t think it’s something that men think about enough. I don’t have that fear. Same is true in understanding sexual assault (or even the implied threat of it). Very well done.

    There is one implied tone I didn’t agree with in the post. I think in the current discussion of race, social class is a still taboo subject and its exclusion is a big problem that can lead to radicalization of some white people. I think it is misleading to classify all white people together. I don’t know if it is accurate to say white people this and white people that. Specifically, lower class white people. While they are the most likely to be racist for a variety of reasons, they also face a tremendous amount of discrimination and oppression from middle and upper class white people. Much more than people who are not white know about. I don’t think lower class white people actually have much white privilege (some, but nothing like my upper-middle class white privilege) I think a lot middle and upper class white people are not racist and actively trying to right injustices. Those same people are often openly and HIGHLY discriminatory to lower class white people (we can class identify another white person very, very quickly).

    I know in my own self reflections on racism and bigotry, I had to do a lot of work on how I thought of poor white people. Racially, I just needed some small adjustments to unwind some cultural stuff from the 90’s.. White class discrimination took a lot of work – and I’m still working on it to this day. That bigotry and discrimination is openly and casually thrown around in white culture all the time and is still accepted without question or consideration to the damage it is doing (read White-trash, hillbilly, redneck, mocking southern accents, open discrimination etc), particularly in making some white people more racist, as they are alienated, their problems go unheard and they are assigned white privilege that they don’t really have. That’s just in America – the British are far worse with class discrimination. I don’t know how it is in Oz. Just food for thought.

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    • Thanks, Zhou. It is lovely to see you again. I am sorry to hear you have experienced racism as a white person in the US and in China. Racism really can happen everywhere. Racism is not just about racism towards Asians and minority groups in the Western world, but racism toward any person of any background. It’s heartening to hear that you don’t let much everyday racism in China bother you and go about your life. But you are right, such experiences are also important and worthy of speaking out on. Sorry to hear that the structural dimensions over in your area is causing you many challenges, and I hope you can work things out with your daughter and schooling over there.

      Thank you for your nice words on my story telling style in this post. It’s a style I hope to include again on the blog and more so in my book whenever that comes out. For many out there it can be harrowing to relive experiences of first-hand racism – but if these stories don’t get told, racism will be swept under the rug. You bring up a good point of women of colour, men and racism. Everyone experiences racism differently. Some fear it and some don’t. You mention you don’t, good on you and sounds like you have your approaches to deal with racism as it happens to you.

      You also bring up another point there, the one about social class and racism – and it’s very relevant to the discussion of racism. I agree that not all white people are the same and evidently there are different classes in each society, and agree that lower class Caucasian probably are more racist but also they are on the receiving end of more discrimination (and less white privilege as you mentioned) from others because of their social status. So in a sense, there are additional factors that provoke this demographic to be more racist towards other races, factors that are a result of class structures. Thank you for stating this point and it would have been a good point to make in my original piece.

      That is good you are self-aware of racism and bigotry behaviours. It takes time to see things from another perspective and rewiring what we’ve always been taught. True that words like white-trash, hillbily and more are still thrown around casually today. The same can also be said of words like ‘gweilo’ in Chinese culture. In Australia there name-calling does happen now and again, such as the term ‘Sheila’ to refer to white women and well. Class discrimination exists here too especially in the workplace and on the professional spectrum in genera;.

      ‘they are alienated, their problems go unheard and they are assigned white privilege that they don’t really have. I think that is very well said, and seems to apply to those lower class to lower middle class demographics. Definitely food for thought.

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      • Too many people will always find an excuse to despise and abuse those who are superficially different, including religious wear. That was evident recently when a non-white man wearing a red “Keep America Great” cap (with “45” on the side) called a nine-year-old girl wearing a hijab a “f—–g Muslim terrorist” at a Surrey grocery store a few months ago. The girl’s father rightly confronted the man and repeatedly called him a racist. (One can imagine the shameful pleasure felt — and rampant media posts left — by white supremacists upon learning the accused racist is not Caucasian!) As far as terrorism goes, the girl’s family is far more likely to be fleeing extremist violence abroad than planning to perpetrate it elsewhere. But that fact may not matter, anyway; ‘their kind’ still not welcome. …

        As a young white boy I was bewildered (especially after watching the miniseries ‘Roots’) by Black people being brutalized and told they were not welcome — while they were violently forced here from their African home as slaves! As a people, there’s been no real refuge here for them, since. In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, the narrator notes that, like the South, the Civil War era northern states also hated Black people but happened to hate slavery more.

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  20. The hate towards Asians has grown a lot in the past few months in the US and Europe. I remember having read your earlier post on this subject, as well. It is ironic that many people still have per-conceived ideas about nationality and origins. Not everyone is same even though there are so many similarities due to culture and religion. But directing hate against someone we hardly know about is not right. There have been so many hate and attack incidents against Indian students in Australia over the last few years. And then I also read your post which makes me wonder if it is rising a lot out there in down under? Take care, Mabel and thanks for bringing out such topics. Raising them definitely helps.

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    • Thanks for an articulate comment and reflection, Arv. It really is odd why people have stereotypical thoughts about certain people and places. People will have their own reasons for purposefully projecting hate on others bu that is no excuse and not acceptable.

      Over the last year it seems there is more discontent towards people of colour here, including violent attacks. I do think many of such incidents go unreported. I hope racism isn’t too prevalent where you are. Then again, racism happens everywhere. Take care.

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  21. Innocent American and Canadian residents/citizens of East Asian heritage have been unjustly made to pay for something China’s government may have done; they’ve suffered increasing verbal and/or physical assaults during the last 14 months, the perpetrators seemingly assuming their targets are willful creators/spreaders of the coronavirus (etcetera). Not long ago, I (a person of Eastern European heritage) read in the New York Daily News that a woman was unprovokedly attacked with a hammer in cosmopolitan New York City, resulting in her decision to return home to Taiwan. Many assault victims have no Chinese lineage, ironically, though their assailants seem to not care, maybe due to a hateful perception that they are ‘all the same’. I find it to be inexcusably horrendous treatment of fellow human beings who’ve done nothing at all to merit such vicious abuse. Also, overlooked is that there’s a good chance the assault victims came to the West to leave precisely that which many Westerners currently dislike about some authoritarian East Asian nation governments. It’s this latter fact that frustrates me considerably.

    The unprovoked hatred can be even worse if the target happens to be deemed professionally successful and/or has managed greater savings (etcetera), regardless of it all having been through hard work and/or thrift budgeting. Sometimes the victim is simply a convenient political football or scapegoat.

    The 2007-08 financial crisis resulted in the largest, and perhaps the most culpably corrupt, mainstream U.S. bankers not being criminally indicted but instead given their multi-million-dollar performance bonuses via taxpayer-funded bailout. However, the feds, in a classically cowardly move, only charged some high-level staff with a relatively very small-potatoes Chinese-American community bank; they likely acted as the typical figurative sacrificial lamb that couldn’t really fight back and, just as important, looked different from most other Americans.

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  22. What a sad society we live in when there’s so much hate and division out there. There’s really no excuse and I’m sorry you had to experience some of that first hand Mabel. Thanks for always being so authentic and real. Sending you lots of love. 🙏

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    • Thanks for your support, Miriam. It really is sad there is so much hate in society. If we could be a lot more compassionate and kind towards each other, the world would be a better place. And we would all get along better. Your last post really highlighted how a bit of kindness goes a long way. Take care 💕

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  23. Mabel, you have created quite an important conversation about culture and racism with this post. As a white woman working for Migrant Education in a primarily Hispanic culture, I had a lot of training about Equity and race. It’s a hard pill to swallow to admit that yes, you are racist – when you think you are very open.

    It was on that trip to the Museum of Tolerance where I learned how privileged I was – even though I had many trials through life. The Jews experienced the ultimate racism experience from the Aryan race. To non-Jews, the Holocaust was a prejudice of white against white – nose against nose, religion against religion, but the prejudice was deadly. At that museum they examine all types of prejudice from black against black as in Rwanda, to white against white – as in the Holocaust to white against color.

    I wish we as a world community knew the answer to stopping racism, but it pervades the world and is no respecter of race, creed, or ideology. Some people are evil and practice racism. Some people are ignorant and practice racism. Some people are under the influence of drugs or evil people and practice racism.

    I am so sorry that you had to endure this attack on your person. Worse, I’m sorry that it happens frequently and makes you fearful to move about freely. I hope that will change with time. Thank you for this thoughtful conversation. God bless.

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Marsha. You summed it up well when you said it’s a hard pill to swallow for one to admit that they are racist. Someone think they are open but in reality there is always another perception and you never know, what you do can rub someone the wrong way.That is great you are working for Migrant Education. I’ll need to check out your blog again to see if you touched upon that in depth. It’s always been an area of interest for me.

      Your trip to the Museum of Tolerance sounded like a very eye-opening one. There is much injustice and lessons to learn from the past. Most certainly there are different kinds of prejudice, as you mentioned from black against black to white against white. Many of us a privileged in different ways. There is nothing to be ashamed of to have privilege and be well-off, but it’s always worth remembering that privilege is also something that can be abused and divides others.

      Agreed, some people seem to have hatred for others or are simply ignorant, and that does contribute to racism quite a bit. I think racism is here to stay for a while. The least we can do is acknowledge it and learn to respect each other moving forward. I hope one day people like me can go about without looking over their shoulder for their safety. Much love to you.

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      • I am retired now, Mabel, but I loved my time with Migrant Education and I learned so much. I hope that you and others in your situation can live without fear. I have to admit that even living and working in a community that was at least 85% Hispanic, I never felt afraid for my safety. Maybe part of the privilege of being white are the expectations we have of others. I expect people to like me and not be prejudiced against me and even if they are, I expect them to treat me with respect. If people are mean for some reason, I do what you did, and ignore them until I can get away from them. The most important thing in those circumstances is the be safe. But you can change your expectations, I think. Be proud of who you are. I am often ashamed of what my people have done to others. However, it doesn’t stop me from being glad I’m me and happy that I have done well for myself by working hard. So head up, my friend. Lots of love to you, too. 🙂

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  24. Speaking of the gold rush era, I remember reading how Europeans ransacked the Chinese section of the gold fields on Lambing Flats and murdered Chinese. When I went to the town (now named Young) I searched for a sign and all I found was one stating that during the riots a European was killed — no mention that the jealous Caucasians who started the riot; no mention of the murdered Chinese.
    Unfortunately, this racist behaviour has escalated since Trump. I know it’s always been a problem in Australia (it’s why I left), but it’s not just Asians. Just this week in Canada a Caucasian man shot a Muslim husband, wife, daughter and grandmother. Their son is still in hospital — the only survivor in the family.

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    • That is interesting to hear of the town Young. If indeed many Chinese was killed and not acknowedged, then this part of history could be forgotten. Hopefully this history is acknowledge elsewhere, such as in a museum. Sometimes people just want you know one thing and not other things that happened. The recent events in Canada have been terrible, and not one deserves to be shot because of the way they look. I don’t think racism will go away anything soon and instead will persist given how some in power are very vocal about certain groups.

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      • I’d read about the Young riots while researching the gold rush at university — that’s how I found out about the attack on the Chinese who, by the way, were not permitted to stake a claim on a site until the whites had mined the site first!
        I try to be positive about racism because there are a lot of mixed marriages here, but change is always slow and I won’t see that bright future, but perhaps you will.

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        • Thanks for sharing, Mallee. Funny how some parts of history are hard to find, and you have to go digging for it. Acknowledging the past is important when it comes to moving forward as a society. Maybe one day I will see a future where racism isn’t as bad as it’s now. Change is slow, but any bit of change is progress.

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        • Yes, I’ve been to Melbourne’s Immigration Museum. The last time I went there was in around 2018 to see a Vietnamese in Australia exhibit. It documented the lives of Vietnamese immigration to present day here. It would be great to go back sometime.

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  25. Racial hatred is so unconscionable, Mabel. I’m horrified to think of you being subjected to such treatment. If only people would stop and think how they would feel on the receiving end of such insulting behaviour. Be safe my friend.

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    • The sad thing about racism is that some people express hatred deliberately. Very wisely said. If people would think about how they would feel if others treated them with such behaviour, they might think twice about lashing out. In the meantime, take care, Sylvia.

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  26. The scene you’ve described so vividly could have happened here in Berlin too, Mabel, with the only difference that the man in question would have screeched against Muslims/Turks/Arabics. And it was very wise from all of you not to react. If that man was really on drugs – and I think that’s very likely, but even if he wasn’t – it could have turned worse and let to physical harm. There’s no sense in risking your own safety in order to make a point, especially when the recipient is not likely to even get the meaning of what you say. There are many people here just like him and it’s better to avoid them if possible.
    As you can probably guess, I’m familiar with racism too, even though I’m not even a muslim/turkish/arabic and don’t have any accent whatsoever. But thanks to my Egyptian father I don’t look German either, and some people seem to react to it more than others. There are neighborhoods and districts I’d never set a foot in when I can avoid it, mostly in East Berlin and East Germany.
    As much as Germany wants for National Socialism to be over and a thing of the past, it’s very present and on the rise, with political parties representing those forces being part of the parliament as well (namely the AfD – Alternative for Deutschland/Germany).
    I wasn’t aware that Asian racism is so very present in Australia, and feel a bit shocked, since the picture I always got from your country and continent is that it’s liberal and open-minded. I guess that’s good publicity work.
    I’ve heard of many incidents involving Asians in the US however, especially when a certain Orange Man had a say in things. I can’t even grasp how much of an idiot one has to be to blame a virus on a particular group of people – as if those people didn’t suffer from it too, and violently so.
    It’s sometimes difficult to not despair at the state the world is in, but of course – despairing and giving up are no options. We have to have our voices heard, and now that Black Lives Matter has come to the attention of so many people, I hope that change for the better is indeed happening. It will just need an awful long time.

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    • I agree, it normally is best not to risk your safety or anyone’s safety around you when someone is being racist – normally best to avoid intervening. Pretty sure the man on the tram was on drugs or something. There’s no predicting how he would have reacted if anyone spoke to him. If I can get away from a racist attack physically alright, I count myself very lucky.

      That is unfortunate to hear racism does happen in Berlin too. Sorry you have to put up with it too and it must be scary when it happens. It must be hard knowing you shouldn’t be going to certain areas in Berlin because it is dangerous for you 😞 Some people are triggered just by someone’s looks or first impressions, and the saddest part is that they really mean it when they discriminate against you. Hopefully one day things change over there and you get to go wherever you want without fear.

      There’s a lot of racism in Australia. Some of it gets reported in the media, such as public transport racism. I don’t think Australians are as vocal as people in the US about racism so probaby that’s why you might not hear about racism here as much. Yes we are a laid-back bunch and open-minded in Australia…but racism does exist underneath all that. Sometimes you can say we are too laid-back and don’t take certain things as seriously as we should.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sarah. Much love to you.

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  27. Well Mabel, let me apologize for any racism you’ve experienced. The Asian hate crimes here in the US are relatively new (excluding of course the awful hate crimes during and after WWII. Until recently most of our abhorrent hate crimes were against blacks. Now of course Asians, Muslims and Jewish people are also being targeted. I suppose mostly hate crimes are evidence of lack of self esteem and the need to feel that you are better than someone else. If you are truly self-confident and well-bred you know you are NOT better than anyone else and you despise hate crimes every bit as much as those who suffer from them. In your example, the man was clearly not in his right mind. I see this quite often when I take the NYC subway. I too simply keep to myself because there is no way to deal effectively with those who are mentally challenged or drug addicted. I believe if he had physically accosted you others would have come to your defense. Please know that the vast majority of white people bear no grudge against any other race or religion – it is very much a minority who feel and demonstrate their hatred. Hopefully their crimes against others are recognized and punished. As long as there are multiple races there will be prejudice and bigotry. It seems to me that the next generation is a bit more evolved on the subject, at least if my granddaughter is any example. At age 15 she does not see color or race. Her friends are a rainbow of colors and hopefully her perspective will be very much that of the majority as time goes on.

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful reflection, Tina. You are right, many groups of people are being targeted these days just because of the way they look. This is really an issue in the Western world, and there’s also not forgetting that racism exists in different forms all over the world.

      You said it very well when you say, ‘hate crimes are evidence of lack of self esteem and the need to feel that you are better than someone else’. This is so true. Often people lash out at others due to a lack of something in their own lives or a fear or something. If you are self-confident, normally you will be focusing your attention and your immediate loved ones around, not taking out emotions on others.

      I have heard there are people who are mentally challenged or high on substances on the subway in NYC, and people never usually get into an empty carriage or avoid late night subway travels for fear of getting harassed. Agreed, best to avoid these people because who knows how many people they may hurt if you approach them.

      Definitely, most white people mean well, and I think most of us too. Those who are hostile tend to speak the loudest and get the most attention. As the saying goes, empty vessels make the loudest noise. It is lovely to hear your granddaughter has many friends from different backgrounds. She probably has learned a lot from them, as much as her friends are learning from her. Stay safe, Tina.

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  28. Mabel, I am truly sorry for what you have had to deal with. Thank you for sharing so honestly and from the heart. I wish it wasn’t so, but there is a “white privilege” in Canada. At times it may be subtle, but it is always there. As you shared, “white privilege exists unspoken and unconsciously on a large scale”. I have never, ever been singled out by the police. My friends who are indigenous, and from another race cannot say that. From time to time there are outright physical attacks.

    Canada has committed some horrific atrocities in the colonizing of this country. When the transcontinental railroad was built, it was extremely dangerous work, particularly in the mountains with blasting rock. There was 15,000 Chinese labourers, working in harsh conditions for little pay. At least 600 died.

    Employers are not supposed to discriminate applicants according to race, gender, sexual identity, religion, age and so on, but it still happens all the time. Being a white male has made it sad to say “easier”. This past decade, for the 1st time I have felt ageism while trying to find employment. Lots of 1st interviews, they see how old I am, and it doesn’t go any further.

    But that is the extent of it Mabel. It is not the hatred like you experienced on the tram. But also I am sure subtly day by day. You are a very strong person to share this. I have so much respect for you.

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    • Thank you for reading and reflecting, and for your kind words, Carl. It is very honest of you to admit there is white privilege in Canada, sadly just as it is throughout the world. You are spot on when you say it is ‘subtle, but it is always there’. I am not too familiar with Canada’s history, and thanks for sharing that. Hopefully these stories of colonisation and the past are remembered through history lessons in school and places such as museums.

      You are so right in saying there is different kinds of discrimination out there. Sorry to hear you are experiencing ‘ageism’ when it comes to finding employment. I have some friends who are older than me in Australia and they are facing this as well. There’s this perception if you are part of a certain age group, you will fit a certain workplace (and its culture) more. That is not true. You can be any age with relevant skills and be able to perform the job as required. I wish you all the best and good luck on this front.

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      • I appreciate this, Mabel.. Thank you.

        I think as a country Canada is doing a bit better job of bringing out in the open some of the history that has been buried. It is only when dark history has been dealt with, that there can be a better tomorrow!

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        • You are welcome, Carl. Thank you for chiming in. It is great Canada is acknowledging its history, and hopefully more stories of the past are talked about. Everyone I’ve met from Canada is lovely, and that gives me the impression that Canada is a welcoming country – which I am sure it is.

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  29. Mabel, my heart goes out to you and the nightmare of a tram journey. The way you wrote about the incident, weaving it through the article about racism raised my tension and fear for you, for the others. Alas, racism seems to be something that never goes away and the past year gave its ugliness a wider platform. Ignorance in part but mainly pure mean spirited.

    I experienced a couple of events like this … for being a foreigner in the former DDR (East Germany) as part of a student exchange program. Loving my walks I was out for a walk around Leipzig when I ended up in a quiet area and happened upon a group of skinheads. They spotted me and immediately started following me, harassing me for being an ‘Auslaender’ (foreigner), to go home etc etc. I was very scared, especially as they got closer and the threats more agitated but at last, I was back in the main city with other people. Let’s just say that was my last walk alone for a long time.

    The sense of belonging is a complex one when an immigrant to another country, or if perceived as different from the norm. Whilst all can be resolved within yourself you realise others see you as something quite different.

    Dear friend, I hope you never come across anything like this again, that the world becomes enlightened … it is so simple. We are all humans – nothing else to it! xx

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Annika. I am glad you enjoyed reading the narrative of the incident, even though it is an unpleasant story and a story without a definitive ending. You are right, racism is something that never goes away, and there are so many different forms of racism out there. People can certainly be ignorant and choose to live in their own bubble without a care for others. It’s an unfortunate reality.

      I am sorry to hear you were discriminated against and threatened on your student exchange program. That group sounded like trouble and they could have turned violent at any moment. Glad you got away okay. We should all be able to walk around alone and feeling safe, but alas that isn’t the case a lot of the time – and sadly especially if you are a woman. Sarah in the comments earlier lives in that part of the world and it seems she echoed your sentiments in parts of Germany.

      Indeed, a sense of belonging is a complex one. I studied that as part of my postgraduate studies, and a major theme that kept coming up was that belonging and home may never be definitive for immigrants, and looking different and getting harassed for that never helps to feeling a sense of belonging.

      Let’s hope we all learn to respect each other, and the world will then be better off. Take care and stay safe.

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  30. Mabel, I am so sorry you are being forced to experience racial hate. My stepdaughter and my niece are experiencing this discrimination towards Asians. Fortunately, both live in cities that don’t have a lot of race discrimination, Denver and Las Vegas. Still, because of the pandemic, they are getting the looks and seeing the people talk in whispers.

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    • Sorry to hear your stepdaughter and niece are experiencing discrimination. Getting looks and people whispering around them sounds so scary, and I hope they aren’t too affected by all this. People can be so cruel sometimes. You and your family stay safe, Glynis.

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  31. I’m so sorry to hear about what’s going on with this sickening racism in your neck of the woods too. Seems hatred in the world is the worst virus. It seems to be spreading everywhere and it must be stopped! ❤

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  32. One problem is that Asians don’t want to “make a scene”. We barely voiced concerns. We were taught to live silently, avoid any public attention when living abroad. Because of what? Visa, permanent residency, etc. I remember a Caucasian teacher who sat on my reserved seat. But he insisted that I was wrong because I’m Asian. He kept telling me I didn’t understand the seating plan until I showed him the ticket 🙂 He moved but didn’t apologise. His students also said nothing. On another occasion, a passenger kept shouting at me and my friend because we were chatting in Vietnamese. He said that we should speak German, or go home. I told him I can speak German, but I just don’t want to 😛 He was furious haha. Those are just some minor discriminations. But if we don’t fight back, white supremacy will continue.

    P.S.: If you happen to encounter that raggedy man again. You can tell him: “I don’t look at you! I am looking in that direction. And you accidentally stand in my way”. It will surely drive him mad 🙂

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    • You said it very well, Len. Many Asians certainly don’t want to make a scene. Getting a visa to study or work in another country is a lot of work to get. You wouldn’t want to be upsetting a local person and they end up reporting you to the police – which could affect your visa applications in the future.

      I am sorry to hear you experienced racism too – and over a seating plan and talking in your own language, quite trivial things compared to many other things in life. It sounded like you were aware of what was happening and kept calm. You are right. If we don’t speak up, people will keep getting away with racism and we will have to put up with it. So we should speak up and good you spoke up, and glad you are okay 🙂

      I haven’t seen the raggedly man again. If I ever do see him again I think I will avoid him as much as possible 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Very unpleasant experience. Sorry about that. The man was probably a psycho. Delusional. But some aren’t. I have a Philipino blogger friend in the US who has spoken about Asian racism in the US. (Including the fact that 97% of “Caucasians· can’t tell the difference between Chinese, Philipino, Malay, Japanese, etc.
    I have a somewhat different view on racism. I was the “white boy” (young man) in Africa. And of course there is African racism against whites. Interesting to be the minority. So my response is to ignore it. And move away if you can. Even if it means going down at another station. Racism is just a form of human violence.
    Remember: if it happens again, (God forbid) alight at the next station. Then take the next tram. Be safe. 🙏🏻

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    • Definitely a very unpleasant experience. Had no idea how the man would react one second or the next. Your blogger friend sounds like he has experienced and seen quite a fair bit of racism. I do think people in the States are more outspoken about it. Here in Australia, for most part people just want to get on with their day – even if you are the victim.

      It is an interesting kind of racism you experienced as a minority. I remember reading somewhere it happens in South Korea too, where white expats are marginalised. When I lived in Singapore, I fit right in with the majority Chinese…but I would still get called out for being ‘Aussie’ like it was some kind of thing to be admired. It was a weird kind of racism.

      I had another racist experience the other day on the tram, and it involved someone swearing at me. I kept my distance. You are right. Racism is another form of human violence. If you can avoid it, avoid it. If not, stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My philipina friend (a young woman like you) says it’s the old people who are most at risk. An old Vietnamese neighbour of hers had recently been attacked. Physically I think. Sad.
        Asia is “reverse” isn’t it? Everything Western is admired. We traveled with our grandson a year and a half old. Ash-blonde curls. He conquered many an Asian woman’s heart. The young women in the restaurants in Thailand were in love. 😍
        Sorry about the other experience in the tram. Is there no way to report it?
        Stay safe.

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        • I think your Filipina friend is right. The elderly normally have a lower chance of defending themselves in a racist attack making them easy targets. It is very, very sad.

          It is true, and so odd, in Asia, Westerners are admired although there may be racist sentiments towards them. For most part, I do think admiration for Westerners here don’t come from a bad place. Hope your grandson had a good time in Asia.

          I could have reported the racist incidents on the tram. Doubt anything would come of them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Racists are cowards. (Amongst other things)
            It may be a love/hate relationship? As long as one gets only the love part, fine with me. It may also have to do with the typical cultural blindness of the “Westerners”. I noticed that in Asia, you don’t pass on an object with one hand. Rude, clearly. So I picked it up. Two hands. On the flight back, we had a stop over in China. The immigration officer asked for my passport. I gave it to her with two hands. She was very surprised and said an emphatic xie-xie. She noticed. Grandson had a great time.
            I know it’s a hassle, but if you do, it will increase stats and then maybe somebody will do something.
            Bye.

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  34. Hatred in any form, Mabel, is extremely harmful and must stop. Here in the states white supremacy is the crime, for now I being white am the problem. Hate and cultural discrimination are being taught right now in our schools, as children of color are being taught they are the oppressed and the whites are the oppressors. It is horrible. It is sickening. If teachers don’t stand up and stop this insanity, or parents don’t step in, hatred will become the norm. NO! There are many of us creating LOVE and love trumps hate every time. I am confident, Mabel, that hatred will be pushed back, not accepted, nullified, as Love takes a flying leap to change the world at large. You told me yourself you feel the difference in energy. That is LOVE, dear friend, winning, taking back what was stolen from us, and eventually that which will change the wrongs that are being taught in schools and elsewhere. People are people regardless of color or creed or culture. There is no divide. We are all brothers and sisters. Love will not tolerate this attack on human lives. Time is running out for those who insist on allowing hatred to reside in their hearts.

    Great post!!! The way you express yourself is incredible!! Hang in there for a Great Change has begun. Baby steps at first and then it shall gain momentum. Sending you much love your way!! xo

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    • You are not only very thoughtful with your words but also with your time, Amy. It is a terrible time we are living in where people get away with committing hate crimes and being violent. Even more terrible that things like these are being taught to the younger generation. Some of us can be so ignorant and choose to be ignorant.

      I so agree when you say ‘love trumps hate every time’. There is always good to come out from love, and good things come with being respectful and kindness too. I definitely feel the shift of energy, and so glad you wrote about it. It has been a challenging time for the world, but I think many of us are starting to realise that love in its purest form around us is the answer to moving forward and living in harmony – without divide as you said.

      I take inspiration from you, Amy, in the way you express yourself and allow yourself to feel the higher dimensions around you – and let them speak to you. Take care my friend 🌹💖

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mabel, thank YOU for the encouragement you give to me. I’m still looked upon as an “oddball” living and being who I am. Yet, I am seeing more people aware of the pure energies pouring in right now and changing because of this energy. In order for change to happen, what needs to be changed has to be first seen. Always.

        That IMO is why so much horror is being seen today. If people choose to remain ignorant, that is on them. I refuse to be ignorant and do what I can everywhere I go to make a positive difference. It’s not easy at times especially when I find the “heavy pockets” where folks are consumed still in fear or anger or hate.

        I know that I know a New Way of living, of existence, is what we are all walking into. You have expressed you feel this change for the better. Well, that is going to spread and keep spreading until all the dark evil ways are flipped to that of light and of Love. I know this like I know myself.

        I “feel” your energy, and this I will say. You’ve broken free of your inner prison. I am so happy for you that you are experiencing the incredible power of Love. That is exactly what this energy is that is coming into this world. OH for the joy!!! BIG SMILE!! You take care too and keep on shining your light. You are making a difference whether you know it or not. Bless you! xo

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        • People can think whatever they want of you, Amy, but that only reflects upon them. You are you and so glad you recognise the light that you are. The light is always around you and most importantly, within you and thanks for sharing that.

          You are right, people can choose to remain ignorant. Good on you for choosing to make a positive difference and try not to let other energies affect you. Sometimes others around you need to find their way at their own pace.

          Thank you so much for your kind words and big smile to you to, Amy. Keep feeling the shift in energies around you and may you keep following the path that lights the way for you 💖

          Liked by 1 person

  35. Mabel dearHeart – after learning of you and your blog in far away Sweden have arrived closer to home. Shall not comment on, to me, the obvious, but want to take the weekend to learn who is here and what has been said. Way back when I also was an incomer to a then very Anglo-Saxon Australia. My skin is white . . . I then put my faith down as Christian . . . it was not all plain sailing either ! Shall be back if allowed . . . have a good weekend . . . hoping you are not near all those fallen trees . . . .best

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    • You are so kind to come by here, Eha. It sounds like you have been on quite a journey in Sweden and Australia. It’s never easy moving from one country to another – there’s so much changes to handle and also a lot to learn. I’m not near the fallen trees. Some people close to me were affected with no power, and thankfully they are okay now. Thank you for your nice words and please take care.

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  36. Mabel, NONE of us can help the skin color we were born with! What the bloody hell. Racism in any form just sends me into outrage. How dare any of us judge another, for and by whatever means? And so many of these bigots are Christians, supposedly, and one of the First things Christ teaches is “judge not, lest ye be judged!”

    Personally, I cannot imagine a world of white. We have long lived in multicultural environments On Purpose. We want to learn from (all) others, not exclude (any of) them! Diversity is rich, necessary in a world striving for balance. As it must. Imagine creating a dish with no spices, no colors, just bland and white. Or all birds being white doves. Or every single day being sunny and cloudless.

    I wonder if all this nonsense is moving us toward Oneness in the only way it can, apparently – according to Jung, we Must integrate the human Shadow if our species is to survive. And what an ugly Shadow it is. I recall my (lesbian) daughter writing a poem about anyone pointing a finger at another, where the other four fingers are directed back to the self. I suspect these radicals are in the grip of fear, and perhaps I can have some compassion there, but there simply is no time for this blaming and attacking entire groups of people, just because they are threatened by what’s going down in their own minds!

    Love you, and sorry you’ve had to endure this overt and harmful racism. Good post, brilliant photos, as always. ❤

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Bela. We definitely can’t help the way we are. At the end of the day, we are all who we are and it’s disappointing there are those out there who will judge you and discriminate against you. I so agree witwh you that most of us want to learn from others as opposed to exclude others. There’s so much to be learnt and shared with each other, and this only helps us and the world in the long run. I like your analogy of a dish with no spices and no colours. That dish would suit some palates but at the same time, it would be bland especially if you were to eat it over and over again.

      That sounds like a thoughtful poem your daughter wrote about fingers being pointed back at oneself. Fear can make others turn against each other. However some are just ignorant and it can be hard to get across to them. I am quite pessimistic and don’t think racism will ever go away, and the least we can do is speak up about it and try to educate others as much as possible about respect and encourage kindness.

      Thank you for your kind words, Bela. I enjoyed taking these photos.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your photos are always spectacular! You have quite an eye for them.

        I agree, racism probably isn’t going anywhere. But you should definitely speak up, as you do; as I do when I notice it. We don’t see it so much up here in the mountains or in Santa Fe, the nearest city. Things are pretty multicultural here. But you know, it goes on everywhere and behind closed doors. Humans! What are you gonna do!?

        Happy solstice to you, Mabel! 🌖🦚🌿🦋💜

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  37. Hi Mabel. :). I hope you are managing to stay healthy during all the restrictions and continuing outbreaks of COVID.
    Mabel, I too am sorry for they way you are treated by so many Australians. I just want you to know that I will always stand up for you, my fellow human. Take care and stay warm 🙂

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    • Hello Andy 🙂 Yes, we are doing alright over here amidst the restrictions and outbreaks. Things are constantly changing, and it is what it is.

      You are very kind, Andy. Hope you are enjoying the winter warmth up there in Queensland. You take care too 🙂

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  38. Well, we are living in historic times and mass emergencies (and a pandemic is that) reveals the worse in some people.

    I’ve written up post a few wks. ago. There will be a part 2.

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    • So true, we are indeed living in historic times and a global, modern world emergency. It is unfortunate this has resulted in more hate towards each other. Thank you for sharing your perspective on things. Looking forward to part 2.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. I am incredibly fascinated by the AAPI (ESEA) diaspora outside of the U.S. I was wondering if there are any podcasts or other media you recommend about the Asian-Australian experience? My experiences and the literature I read is more centered around the Asian American experience because I am Asian American because that’s all I find. The history of Asians in Australian is very similar to Asians in America. We had the Chinese Exclusion Act and there was the Naturalization Act of 1970 where citizenship was only given to all white persons and people of African descent.

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    • That’s so interesting to hear that you are interested in the Asian Australian experience. Personally I feel there isn’t as much literature and work on being Asian Australian, and most of the literature centres around being Asian American. I do like Asia Society’s Australia section (https://asiasociety.org/australia) where it discussing current affairs from an Asian and Australian perspective, and have more personal articles from time to time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been listening to a few podcasts from Asians based in the UK and the EU and they do make a lot of references to the Asian American experience. I do chuckle about how they know about news, politics, trends, and history around the Asian American experience because I am so embarrassed how little news I know over there.

        Like

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