Australia is not a part of the world I am familiar with. Too much world, not enough me. Sorry.
I was interested in the Pauline Hanson thread. Why is an anti-immigrant platform poular among Australians? I noticed Assie politicos seem to have more leeway than American politicians? I’m not saying they are worse, but for example, Trent Lott was thrown out of the Senate by his own party for vague statements that might have indicated racism. (Ironically enough, I am assured by a family member that some of the conservative members of Congress that are reviled in the media, and perhaps rightly so, are often very nice poele in person. Go fig.) Is this true? I was also wondering about Pauline Hanson making statements against aborigines. I was trying to understand what they could possibly be doing that she doesn’t like. I mean, the ones in the cities are just like everyone else, and the ones not in the cities are more or less living on their own terms in their own modern-but-not-modern lifestyle, right?
It’s too late at night for a coherent response to a Pauline Hanson thread. I think you’ll find the answers in the original thread. Simply put, she appeals to fuckwits. Long answer is a bit more complex.
BTW, I don’t think this:
…would get you many nods of agreement from the aboriginal community. Aborigines living in the city are marginalised, and tend to be at the bottom of the socio-economic scale, and those living a so-called “traditional” lifestyle are battling Western diseases, alcoholism, petrol sniffing, drugs, racist cops, contaminated drinking water, and lots of other fun stuff. They have also been forced out of many traditional areas (ie. most of the freakin’ country).
Pauline Hanson appeals to the ignorant racism that unfortunately is an aspect of our culture. Australians are mostly unaware of the consequences of the colonisation of Australia, and the remnants of the people who originally inhabited the continent are poorly looked upon: the addictions and welfare problems plaguing the Aboriginal people is considered inherent, rather than symptomatic of their plight.
Basically, in parts of Australia, there is a certain (strong) amount of red-neckism and in particularly anti-Asian (east Asian) feeling. It has been there for a long time, and may have lessened today, but still has strong elements.
Gun rights, clamping down on crime and “family values” are also high on the agenda.
Not in defence of racism but as an attempt to understand some of its origins today: in recent decades some (white) Australian farmers have had to give up land to Aboriginal communities that have won it back. Obviously this causes enormous resentment.
I’ll supplement what istara had to say with some personal anecdotes.
I recall being at a Midnight Oil concert quite a while ago. Midnight Oil is a rock band notable for their pro-Aboriginal rights lyrics. They have a huge following amongst surfers. I overheard a guy after the concert discussing a moral quandry: could he be a Midnight Oil fan and still hate Aborigines?
Many dispossed Aborigines live in inner cities, succumbed to addiction and poverty. They are viewed by some Australians as welfare-leeches and criminals.
I should disclose at this juncture that I have, remotely, some Aboriginal blood, although no-one would know unless I told them (I have green eyes and straight hair). I mentioned this once to some friends in law school - it was a good way to kill a racist conversation about land rights. A few weeks later I beat a guy in a law school trial advocacy competition. He came up to me a day later in our law library and started taunting me with racist remarks. I’m not a small guy - I nearly threw him through a window. Deep racist undercurrents form part of our culture.
I have been asked by Asian friends and clients in both Hong Kong and Osaka if in fact Australians are racist, citing Pauline Hanson as an example. The questions made me squirm. Intolerance is embarrassing in any country, but when someone like Hanson gets elected so publicly, its an anathema.