Type
Article

on the murder of Nitin Garg

gargSo another young Indian man has been killed in Melbourne. Once again, the newspapers report an immediate denial that racism played any role in the murder, though all the police statement actually says is that investigators have no information as to what took place.

Furthermore, as Gautam Gupta from the Federation of Indian Students in Australia points out, Garg’s assailants didn’t take his possessions, suggesting the attack was not a simple robbery.

His mobile phone and his wallet were still there. There’s a lot of frustration because of the question of racism. What we have to see is how this anger is manifested. From their point of view, there can be no other motivation than race. Everyone I have spoken to says there’s a lot of fear and a lot of anger about it.

In any case, as Liz Thompson and Ben Rosenzweig argue, in these contexts race and class become fundamentally entwined. 

Here, international students increasingly make up racialised low-wage labour markets across the service sectors, with taxis, convenience stores, restaurants and domestic cleaning positions staffed largely by such students. Some enter sex-work economies because of the possibilities either of informal work or of being able to live on income from twenty hours of work.

[...]

International student visas nominally restrict overseas students and their spouses to no more than twenty hours of work a week. Given their ineligibility for any welfare, and the difficulty of living on twenty low-wage hours, the restrictions often mean that students seek, at least partially, off-the-books work. Since breaches of conditions are punished by mandatory visa cancellation and deportation, few can act overtly against employers profiting from occupational health and safety breaches, unpaid trial work and massive wage underpayment.

In other words, because of their economic and social marginality, young Indian men are uniquely vulnerable to violence, whether or not that violence is specifically or consciously racialised.Thus Garg’s housemate explains that Garg had previously been beaten and threatened at knifepoint at Newport train station. It would be interesting to know whether that attack was ever reported.

Not coincidentally, Footscray the suburb in which Gupta was killed – is about to become a test case for an astonishing new kind of policing. As the Age explains:

Police have targeted part of the Footscray central business district to test new search powers in a crackdown on drunkenness and violence.

Under new search laws enacted last month, police can declare areas designated search zones if they have a history of weapon use or if police believe an incident will happen.

On January 7, a block north of the Maribyrnong town hall will be the first area to be searched under the legislation. For three hours, police will be authorised to carry out weapons searches without warrants on members of the public, in their vehicles, and in ”anything” under their control.

Police can seize weapons, request identification and detain people or vehicles to carry out the search.

Such operations will, in all probability, now to be touted as a response to Garg’s death. But it’s hard to see how they  will make any difference to knife crime (or, for that matter, drunkenness) — and not just because  a three-hour program seems far more likely simply to move social problems along rather than achieve anything substantial.

More importantly, if overseas students are, as Thompson and Rosenzweig suggest, forced by visa conditions to embrace a semi-legal economy, a massive police presence will scarcely assist them. If you’re worried that if you come to the authorities’ attention, you might end up deported, you are hardly likely to seek assistance from the cop on the beat.

There’s a simple syllogism at work here: the more rights that young Indian students and workers enjoy, the safer they will be. Conversely, if they continue to be exploited by the education industry and then, secondarily, by employers, they will remain an ongoing target for deadly violence.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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Comments

  1. Jeff, it is capitalism that heavily exploits indians. While I was working for a leading bank years ago, we were told that many of us would be made redundant with the IT sector moving to India because ‘three of them is one of us’ in terms of pay. Where should retrenched workers direct their anger? Unfortunately, it’s the Indians that are blamed but really, the anger should be directed at money hungry corporate giants or better still, the government. If the government restricted or taxed companies that exploited indian workers we wouldn’t have this problem.

    • Capitalism exploits? Who denies them many forms of work – Government (an anti-capitalistic organization by definition) or private capitalist?…government.
      Who pulls the VISA’s ? Capitalist or government…government.

      So who creates this environment of exploitation…provate capitalist or government…Government.

      Capitalism is PRIVATE control of goods and property – as soon as government is interjected it is something other then capitalism – fascism, mercahntilesm, socialism, communism… but it ain/t capitalism when government is involved.

  2. “So another young Indian man has been killed in Melbourne.”

    My memory is pretty bad, but I can’t recall any Indian man being murdered in Melbourne previous to Mr Garg, and I don’t think your readers can as well.

    I know of two Indian students who died in Melbourne as a result of a car crash (see here), but surely that has no relevance to the current discussion of the death of Mr Garg.

    Please provide me with some evidence for your claim (as it relates to the death of Mr Garg) so I can read on.

    Regards,

    Michael Hudson.

  3. Look, I don’t know what’s going on over East in Melobourne; but here in Perth, Western Australia, I’ve never heard anyone making disparaging remarks about students from India or anywhere else for that matter. There are a lot of Asian students studying at Curtain University and I do think they become the target of attacks; but most of these attacks come from young people in the Aboriginal community who see these students as easy targets. But, in all, violence in Australia is NOTHING like the frequency and level of violence in the USA, where I used to live. And believe it or not, most of it is not racially motivated. Most of it comes from young people who are out to prove how ‘dangerous’ they are.

    One of my best friends and neighbours is a guy from the Torres Strait. He’s got cerebral palsey; but he can ride his bike around like a champ. He got attacked and mugged by some Aboriginal males at the shopping centre a few months back in broad daylight. There are also mostly young ‘white’ males who are looking for trouble, especially after drinking alcohol. Some people just can’t drink without becoming aggro.

    With that said, I’ve heard racist statements and assumptions coming from every sector of Australian society towards other sectors. So, I’m not saying that this particular act of violence wasn’t racially motivated. I am waiting for the evidence though.

  4. Koraly! You are talking absolute bullshit! Taxing people or corporations is no way to curb racial hatred. The government policy on foriegn students is prejudice! Why the fuck cvan’t we all just get on? I suspect that us ‘white’ guys are afraid of ‘foriegners’ becoming more inteligent than us! Maybe we’ll end up doing all the menial jobs for minimum pay? That’s what it’s all about.

    • All I’m saying is that the government creates the problem by allowing companies and the education system to exploit foreigners and that this contributes to the problem. I had to manage a group of Indians in my job while everyone was being made redundant around me. The threat of being made redundant was held over us and we had to work twice as fast. You can’t deny that a situation like this does not cause some sort of ambivalence towards Indians. And it’s happening in all the big companies in Australia.

      on Michael Hudson’s point, I was thinking yesterday while channel nine news flashed ‘another indian student murdered’ if mainstream media don’t actually add fuel to this racial problem. Immediately after that they said ‘and another man has been shot’ or something along those lines but they didn’t indicate his race. Are there really that many Indians being stabbed compared to other races? We probably wouldn’t know because we don’t usually get told it.

  5. Unfortunately with the trends in casualisation of labour, it is not only the foreign students who are restricted to 20 hours a week of work.

    Many locals are unable to find employment for 35 hours a week because such positions are rarely on offer.

    This situation is ideal for keeping this sub -stratum of the working populace in perpetual semi-slavery, unable to get out of the hole, but only able to tread water.

    If you only want part time work it is fine, but if part time work is all that is available, then we have a problem.

  6. The reaction to this murder has been quite astonishing.
    The default position of almost every authority figure quoted seems to be a blanket assertion about Australia’s wonderfulness, even to the exclusion of conveying commiserations to the young man’s family.
    It’s very odd, especially since, as the media keeps reminding us, overseas students provide billions of dollars in revenue. Even if they establish that whoever stabbed Garg was entirely colour blind, well, as his housemate told the Age: ‘[Nitin Garg] spent $40,000 studying and what did he get for it? He got knifed.’
    You’d think, then, that a certain sensitivity would be the order of the day for those in charge of spruiking export industries. But no, not so much. So what’s going on?
    Partly, I think, a kind of whining defensiveness has become central to Australian nationalism, a sense that white Australia is perpetually victimised and misunderstood by foreigners and sophisticates of all kinds. Hence in the coverage of these stories the media always focuses on what’s being said around the world, so that the emphasis shifts from the death of an Indian student to a pity party about how Australians are being blamed for things that aren’t their fault. Someone has been murdered right here, in Melbourne, Australia, but rather than any empathy — let alone discussions as to what might be done — we get instead a series of anecdotes about worse things that happen (particularly to Australians) overseas.
    It’s exactly the same rhetorical move we saw around the ‘Hey Hey’ blackface skit, where the discussion shifted almost at once from the crassness of a mainstream TV show screening blatant race humour to an aggressive and maudlin reiteration of how foreigners didn’t understand and Australia remained the best country in the world.
    The politicians understand this instinctively, and thus conclude that there’s more political mileage in showing solidarity with white Australians outraged at any criticism from foreigners than recognising that there is a serious problem here. Hence Tony Abbott: ‘I think that we are about as agreeable a place as any on earth … I certainly don’t believe that anyone should leap to unfavourable conclusions about the fundamental nature of Australian society.’

    • I live in the Rainbow Region in norther New South Wales, a very different region socially, culturally and politically to inner or suburban Melbourne. My awareness of the (apparent) harrassment, injury and death of Indian students studying in Melbourne is occasional reading of articles in the print and on-line media and/or coverage on the news.
      While certainly not dismissing the possibility of racism and/or economic exploitation being elements in these incidents, what annoys is the simplistic reduction of a complex situation to the racism of white Australia and/or rip-offs by capitalists.
      Haven’t commentators like Jeff noticed that we live in a nation populated by people from many different countries, people who have lived here for two or three or seven generations? To simply harp on about ‘white Australia’ does not relate to my life, my material reality! And I certainly do not live in a part of Australia that I would describe as multi-cultural. The Rainbow Region is certainly dual-cultured (Anglo-Saxon and Indigenous) with small demographics from other nations. I used to live in inner Sydney which is multi-cultural. I guess inner or suburban Melbourne is similar.
      One thing I keep wondering is why foreign students from other countries like China or Malaysia are not being attacked. Or are they being attacked and these incidents are not being reported by the media? If all foreign students work and live in situations of economical marginalism, if follows that students from all countries are potential targets for violence of some description. I think this is such an important consideration as to be obvious. Yet it is never mentioned. If racism is involved on these incidents, racist individuals intent on violence do not think, ‘Oh, here comes a student from China, I’ll ignore him. But there’s one from India just behind him! Yeah, let’s get him.’
      In all the coverage I have read, I have always had the intuition that ‘something does not add up’. The situation is more complex than is presented. I suspect your blog correspondent, Mike M (4 Jan 2010) starts to hone-in on the actual realities of the situation. If we’re talking about racism, let’s discuss racism from individuals and groups of Anglo-Saxon heritage to whatever other group.
      At the same time, let’s also talk about the racism of other groups. My sister is a teacher at Marylands High School in Sydney’s west. She continually tells me about students of Lebanese extraction fighting students of Pacific Island heritage. This particular violence happens simply because of race. I continually challenge my Indigenous fuckbuddy about his racist comments about Muslims.
      I challenge myself about thinking negatively about passing groups of young Aboriginal men in the streets of Lismore late at night. But the reality is I am more at risk in this particular context of being mugged by young Aboriginal men than young men of other racial extractions. In other contexts, other factors come into play. Young Indidenous men are not a factor at all.
      Last year, I was walking past Mary Gilhooley’s Hotel on the corner of Keen and Woodlark Streets, Lismore. At the corner of the pub, a young ten-year old Aboriginal boy was with an older Aborigianl brother/friend/relative. They were both dressed better than I was. The kid asked me for two dollars. (I don’t give money to any individual of any race begging for dollars; I’m economically marginal myself as I live on the Disability Pension). I said no. They both turned around and called me “a faggot’. Also last year, another friend of mine in Lismore was attacked by a group of teenagers of mixed ethnic background, both Aboriginal and Anglo-Saxon. So please do not tell me that ‘white Australians’ are the only racists in the nation. The material reality of my life tells me differently.
      The ‘Hey Hey’ blackface skit? Again I only read marginally about this incident; I probably need to read more coverage about it. But wasn’t one of the individuals performing the skit a second, third or fourth generation Australian of South Asian heritage. Possibly I’m wrong about this particular fact. But if I’m right, doesn’t this complicate the situation? If I’m correct, doesn’t this mean it maybe, at least in part, black-on-black racism?
      I lived in Sydney for nearly twenty years before I moved to the North Coast. I remember catching a Newtown bus home late one night. On the bus, a young Aboriginal woman was bagging the ‘Wog’ bus driver very loudly for whatever reason. So again please do not tell me that non-white Australians are not racist.
      It seems that many Australians of whatever leftist political persuasion are blinded by their particular dogma, instead of using their analysis to unpack material reality in more attuned ways.

      • Peter, interesting points you’ve raised. It isn’t only ‘white Australians’ that are racist. Some Greeks I know are racist towards Indians. When my parents migrated to Australia in the 70s there was so much racial hatred towards the ‘wogs off the boat’. Is it possible that Indians are getting the brunt of this racism because they’re the ‘new kids on the block’ here in Australia? Ten years ago, Australia didn’t have many Indians but we had an influx of Asian students and I recall, as a student, there was racial hatred towards the Asians ‘coming here to study and get our jobs.’

  7. Meanwhile, in totally unrelated news, there’s this.
    http://www.news.com.au/national/race-hate-scandal-rocks-some-of-nations-most-elite-schools/story-e6frfkvr-1225815564158

    MORE than a dozen elite schools are embroiled in a race hate scandal as many of their students join a Facebook group calling for immigrants to get out of Australia.

    The group’s page, which features a picture of the Australian flag with the words “F— off we’re full” written across it, tells non-English speakers “if you wanna speak your crappy language, go back to were (sic) you came from”.

    The Facebook group is called “Mate speak english, you’re in australia now” and has more than 5000 members from across the nation. It is growing by more than 300 people a day.

    Anti-racism groups and school principals yesterday condemned the site, started as a prank, and called for Facebook to delete it.

    Its provocative and poorly spelled page features racist rants against Muslims, non-English speakers and migrants.

    The group includes students from Scotch College, Melbourne Grammar, Geelong Grammar, Trinity Grammar, Lauriston, Mentone Grammar, Ivanhoe Grammar, Camberwell Grammar, and Haileybury as well as a number of Victorian government schools.

  8. No. No it isn’t. In some ways private schools are probably quite an effective counter to racism/xenophobia, in fact, because they attract quite a large number of overseas students, who sometimes live in close quarters with boarders from country towns and farms.

    One wonders why News Limited identified the private schools but didn’t feel the need to identify the government schools involved.

  9. Jeff hasn’t replied to Peter Mitchell’s long post so I’ll have a go, because it annoyed me and I think it needs an answer.
    This is the comment that makes me angry:
    “While certainly not dismissing the possibility of racism and/or economic exploitation being elements in these incidents, what annoys is the simplistic reduction of a complex situation to the racism of white Australia and/or rip-offs by capitalists.”
    The most obvious thing wrong with this statement is the crude construction of a strawman it’s so clumsily tilting at. Jeff’s post is not an attempt at a royal commission into violence against Indians, or a sociological thesis attempting a complex and nuanced analysis of the causes of the violence, it’s an intervention in a debate.
    And what’s the contect of the debate? Well Indian students are being attacked with alarming regularity. No-one denies that people of a particular ethnicity are being targetted, but the authorities are twisting themselves into a bizzare series of PR convolutions to avoid admitting that the attacks have anything to do with race.
    So Jeff says “Duh…this is clearly a racist attack” and this is somehow reductionist?
    I just had a vision of the post that Peter would write to a discussion forum in a faraway kingdom, denouncing the little boy whose “reductionist” critique of the monarchy focussed only on the king’s nudity.
    But what really get’s my goat about Peter’s post is all the guff about how oppressed people can be racist too. I hate this sort of stuff. It’s usually trotted out by right-wingers trying to apologise for their own racism. In Peter’s case it’s more of a post-modern cop out. You Marxists are so reductionist. Let’s discuss the delightful complexities of racism rather than just crudely denouncing it.
    Yes there are complexities and unanswered questions. I’ve lived and worked in the West (Footscray and St Albans) for nearly twenty yers. A majority of the City of Maribyrnong speak English as a second language. Previous waves of immigrants have not suffered these sort of attacks. Why, for instance hasn’t there been the same level of attacks against the African immigrants who’ve arrived recently (apart from the obvious explanation that they’re physically bigger)?
    But none of these complexities alter the fact that these are racially motivated attacks; when the victims are from the same ethnicity (an ethnicity which is demographically a tiny percentage of the population) this is self-evident.
    The same points can be made regarding the argument made by Koraly about economic exploitation. It’s actually an exellent attempt to explore the sort of complexities Peter claims to want explored – far more illuminaing than his own patronising ruminations on the Islamophobia of his “Indigenous fuckbuddy”.
    If we want to know why this particular ethnic group are being targetted, then surely the fact that they have a unique socio-economic location has to be the start? What other “complexity” would Peter want us to explore – a dislike of curry, or accummulated rage at telemarketers?

  10. What Robert said.
    Also, while I don’t agree with everything in the Thompson/Rosenzweig article, I do think that their focus on the intersection of class and race is really important. The visas that most foreign students have push them into exploitative and dangerous jobs (taxi driving, late night convenience stores, etc) and also leave them fearful of authorities (since it’s easy for visa to be cancelled). The result is a group of people ripe for victimisation.
    So the question about race is more complicated than it seems. It may well transpire that Nitin Garg was the victim of an attack without an explicit racial motive (eg a simple robbery). But it’s probably also the case that the restrictions imposed on overseas students push them into dangerous situations where they’re more likely to face violence.

  11. I went to work Mom
    I remembered what you said
    You told me not to Work late, Mom,
    But I had to work a bit late
    I really felt proud inside, Mom,
    The way you said I would.
    I didn’t work much late , Mom,
    Even though the others said I should.
    I know I did the right thing, Mom,
    I know you are always right.
    Now the work is finally ending, Mom,
    As everyone is walking out of sight.
    As I got out of my work, Mom,
    I knew I’d get home in one piece.
    Because of the way you raised me,
    So responsible and sweet.
    I started to walk, Mom,
    But as I started walking alone on the road,
    Some guys came and Mom
    And hit me like a load.
    As I lay there on the road, Mom,
    I hear Them saying Hit Him Hard
    “The other guy is drunk,” Mom,
    And now I’m the one who will pay.
    I’m lying here dying, Mom….
    I wish you’d get here soon.
    How could this happen to me, Mom?
    My life just burst like a balloon.
    There is blood all around me, Mom,
    And most of it is mine.
    I hear them saying Mom,
    he will die in a short time.
    I just wanted to tell you, Mom,
    I swear I didn’t do anything
    It was the others, Mom.
    The others didn’t think.
    He was probably human being as ME
    The only difference is, he drank
    And I will die.
    It can ruin your whole life.
    I’m feeling sharp pains now.
    Pains just like a knife.
    The guy who hit me is walking, Mom,
    And I don’t think it’s fair.
    I’m lying here dying
    And all he can do is stare.
    Tell my brother not to cry, Mom.
    Tell Daddy to be brave.
    And when I go to heaven, Mom,
    Put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave.
    Someone should have told him, Mom,
    Not to Kill someone without reason
    If only they had told him, Mom,
    I would still be alive.
    My breath is getting shorter, Mom.
    I’m becoming very scared.
    Please don’t cry for me, Mom.
    When I needed you, you were always there.
    I have one last question, Mom.
    Before I say good bye.
    I didn’t do anyhthing Wrong
    So why am I the one to die?

  12. No, I don’t think so. More like:

    Dear mama
    good day
    I hope that when these few lines reach you they may
    find you in the best of health
    I doun know how to tell ya dis
    for I did mek a solemn promise
    to tek care a lickle Jim
    an try mi bes fi look out fi him

    mama, I really did try mi bes
    but none a di less
    sorry fi tell ya seh, poor lickle Jim get arres
    it was de miggle a di rush hour
    hevrybody jus a hustle and a bustle
    to go home fi dem evenin shower
    mi an Jim stan up waitin pon a bus
    not causin no fuss

    when all of a sudden a police van pull up
    out jump tree policemen
    de whole a dem carryin baton
    dem walk straight up to me and Jim
    one a dem hold on to Jim
    seh dem tekin him in
    Jim tell him fi leggo a him
    for him nah do nutt’n
    and ‘im nah t’ief, not even a but’n
    Jim start to wriggle
    de police start to giggle

    mama, mek I tell you wa dem do to Jim?
    mek I tell you wa dem do to ‘im?

    Dem thump him him in him belly and it turn to jelly
    Dem lick ‘im pon ‘im back and ‘im rib get pop
    Dem thump him pon him head but it tough like lead
    Dem kick ‘im in ‘im seed and it started to bleed

    Mama, I jus couldn’t stan up deh, nah do nuttin’

    So mi jook one in him eye and him started fi cry
    me thump him pon him mout and him started fi shout
    me kick him pon him shin so him started fi spin
    me hit him pon him chin an him drop pon a bin
    – an crash, an dead

    More policman come dung
    dem beat me to the grung
    dem charge Jim fi sus
    dem charge mi fi murdah

    mama, doan fret
    doan get depress an downhearted
    be of good courage
    till I hear from you
    I remain
    Your son,
    Sonny

    – Linton Kwesi Johnson
    Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-sus Poem) lyrics

  13. In response to Michael’s question about allegations of student murders:

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/foreign-student-death-details-suppressed-20090630-d3sg.html

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/how-did-he-die-asks-indian-family-20090701-d3y4.html

    These articles give some understanding of how difficult it can be for families, and anyone else, to actually determine cause of death when it comes to international students.

    Martin: I agree that not getting enough work can be a problem for many who are struggling, but I do think it is reasonable to make a distinction between those who can’t find work who do have access to the welfare state and Centrelink (PR and citizens) and those who cannot work over 20 hours, on pain of deportation, and don’t have access to the welfare state and Centrelink.

    Peter – other international students are being attacked, murdered, raped – if you go to http://www.nlc.edu.au and check out their media page, you will find many articles on the murders of Chinese students in Tasmania, and attacks elsewhere. What Benjamin and I have tried to suggest is that there is something specific about the labour markets of international students – and the examples we use are labour markets dominated in particular by male Indian international students (taxis and 7-11s). Yes, we are talking about racism, but not in a ridiculous way that compares body counts in India and Australia. I think I safely speak for myself and Ben when I say that we think that those who are desperate to point out that Lebanese kids beat up Indians in Sydney, so its not racism from white Australia, are somewhat missing the point. The purpose of an analysis of the commodification of the border, is to try to talk about the materiality of race, its relation to economies, class, labour markets. An attempt to try to de-mystify the ways in which race has a function within labour markets, as a form of or barrier to mobility, and, perhaps more importantly for our purposes, how it is actually constitutive of labour markets.

    And TimT – the idea that private schools are some kind of bulwark of anti-racism cos they have international student market share is pretty lazy thinking. I could tell you an anecdote about the two terrified international students from Hong Kong who whispered in hushed tones about what the country boarders at MLC would do to them after dark, but I don’t think we need to resort to trading anecdotes. Australia has international student market share the envy of many larger economies. This does not seem to have made us less racist, judging by, oh, I don’t know: Hey Hey its Saturday, user-pays concentration camps, temporary protection visas, and yes, dead or battered international students.

    Robert – I’m not sure that you can claim that previous waves of migrants have not suffered these levels of physical assault. Especially when one considers the gang of men and women in blue uniforms regularly terrorising the Somali community out west and the Sudanese community out east. I think the dynamic of the public visibility of the assaults is the extraordinary factor, and their relation to labour markets, the education industry and the global financial crisis. The student’s response to the assaults is what forced the story out of the pages of the Indian community papers, which have had a stream of these reports for many years, and into the public arena. International students, reviled but necessary to prop up a massive export industry, seemed to be hinting that they might use their only source of power: the power to stop coming here. As much as the government doesn’t want the poorer international students, it needs them. So whilst it wants to pretend that racist assaults don’t happen, there is a need to placate somewhat, to ameliorate the risk that students will take their money elsewhere. I don’t think its a question of the number of assaults, compared to other waves of migrants, because I don’t know how one could even really go about looking at that (lots of people who aren’t white don’t bother complaining to the police, and therefore don’t show up in official statistics for reasons that are too obvious to go into here – Indian students are becoming an exception, one to manage, mind you, because of their potential threat to the economy).

    And Jeff – what don’t you agree with in the article? I’m interested in what you think we haven’t got right, as this analysis is very much a moving feast/work in progress

    Oh yeah – and I just saw this article about labour disputes and assaults:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/indians-abroad/Labour-dispute-may-have-claimed-Indians-life-in-Australia/articleshow/5413151.cms

  14. I never said that private schools were a ‘bulwark of anti-racism’, or words to that effect, Liz. You say my thinking is lazy. Well, your interpretation is lazy.

  15. Okay, then I think that saying “In some ways private schools are probably quite an effective counter to racism/xenophobia, in fact, because they attract quite a large number of overseas students, who sometimes live in close quarters with boarders from country towns and farms.” demonstrates lazy thinking as it assumes that just living alongside each other somehow diminishes or destroys all the other structural, material factors that create, sustain and render effective, racism. I call it lazy because it smacks of the kind of superficial tolerance discourse that suggests we can just magic away racism over a hearty meal of roast chicken.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/nothing-like-roast-chook-to-bridge-the-cultural-divide-20091228-lhca.html

    I would suggest to you that there is absolutely no evidence that your assertion about private schools and their relationship to racism has any material reality. If you have anything at all to suggest otherwise, I withdraw the lazy thinking jibe. Let’s have more discussion of what is actually going on out there.

  16. ‘Twas just speculation on my part, Liz. I’m an arty person, not a sciency one. I can’t come up with studies or evidence like that. I abjectly apologise if that makes me lazy. However, here’s a little snippet of evidence that suggests racism is more of a problem at government schools, not private ones:

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/newshome/6651045

  17. The KFC thing? Sorry I think I have missed something, unless I have ended up at the wrong link. What is the government school connection?

  18. How did I know that would be brought up somehow. My family saw this ad together over christmas. What the fuck has it got to do with either this thread (or African America for that matter.The ad is clearly a racist sterotype of WEST INDIANS. I am West Indian. I am Australian. This is offensive).

    I don’t understand the link either, Tim??? Just out of interest (and I really am interested, so please don’t mistake my tone as sometimes happens in these comment debates), did you go to a private school?

  19. Holy disclaimer, batman! It is difficult to tell whether it is Andrew Norton or the researchers themselves who provide more reasons why the conclusions of this study should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I suspect the relevant line is supposed to be this:

    “The result in this case indicated that those students who attend a catholic school are 1.7
    times LESS likely to report experiences of racism than students attending government
    schools.”

    It seems difficult to know how to assess a study like this that does not talk about the ethnic composition of the schools in terms of respondents (, and also indicates that 39% of the respondents were white. At my Catholic primary school you could count the brown kids on both hands (with a few fingers left over) and I remember there being one Asian family. The rest were whiteys. We didn’t have much experience of racism to report, that’s for sure.

  20. Maybe more study is justified, but the simplest explanation would seem to be that students at non-government schools (in the context of that link, Catholic schools) report less racism because racism is less prevalent.

  21. It’s probably because the study is about Catholic schools, and Jesus was a rasta. I like that you give a little Tim: I’m yet to learn that grace :)

  22. Reading the comments of the likes of Liz and Jeff, I am struck by the ethnocentric assumptions being banded about here. Your presumption that Australia is “white” and therefore any foreigner who gets into trouble is the victim of white Australian racism would be offensive if it were not so pig ignorant. Do you ever read the newspapers, watch television, or travel? If you did you would realize that inter-ethnic conflict is rife globally, with Indians and India being the axis of some of the globe’s more deadly and violent conflicts.

    You really need to get out more. Have you ever been to the western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne? I hate to break it to you but these areas left the 1950s quite some ago, and are the centre of multiracial/ethnic Australia. Your presumption that Australians are “white” sums up your complete lack of logic, ability to deal with data and reality.

    Shorter Jeff and Liz: Indian students should not come here unless they have made sufficient financial preparation, so they don’t have to live among Westies! Why don’t they all move to South Yarra!? Well DER! Why don’t you just come out and say it?

    Give it a rest.

  23. Thanks for your comments Peter with which I generally agree. This is to let you know that I have used some of your argument in a post on Larvatus Prodeo about the issue of violence against Indian students. My comment is at l63 by Patricia WA this time today. You may interested in the whole thread.

  24. Skeptikus – Have u read what ben and I have written? It doesn’t seem so. I am not sure what in there leads u to assume that I think australia is just whiteys. The argument we put forward about the materiality of race in a particular economy is a little more sophisticated thn that, I think you’ll find.

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