||[Jan. 25th, 2010|11:56 pm]
Tomorrow there will be a lot of young, drunken, yob idiots walking around, using Australia day as an excuse to abuse, verbally or physically, people with cultural backgrounds different than their own.
It sickens me. To me these 'patriots' are the unAustralian ones. They are thugs looking for an excuse to belt someone, and Australia Day is a handy excuse because it's so very easy - pick on the people who don't look like you.
When I was droving I worked and lived amongst yobs and bogans and thieves and murderers, and most of them, while still maintaining aspects of the low level racist attitude they were brought up with, actually got along well with 'new-Australians.'
They'd invite them out for a beer, or around for a barbecue, they'd talk to them and hang with them, and hang shit on them to a degree that was more or less equal to the amount they hung on each other. They dished it out, and took it in return. So the Maoris told the white guys they had small dicks, the white guys commented that the pelting block looked a bit dark and needed some lights on, etc. Oh you still got the cultural grouping to some degree - the Greeks would hang together a bit more, as would the Maoris, Aboriginals, etc. But for the most part they mixed and were friends.
Oh, don't get me wrong, there were full-on racists, most of them white, but in that environment, they were hugely out-numbered. And in most cases they didn't go to things that were open invites, because they knew some of the 'others' would be there. So you went to a barbie knowing that most of that particular brand of idiot wouldn't be there. Didn't save you from the other brands of idiot, but at least the aboriginal, greek, maori, and other guys you liked were likely to rock up.
I'm not pretending it was perfect. There were still people who came out with terribly racist remarks even as they drunkenly attempted to understand some subtle cultural nuance. And in many cases they so desperately wanted to understand, because this was their mate, so they should know this stuff. They were always so earnest about it. You'd watch the person from the other background trying to get them to let it go simply because they knew educating them about this topic was at best left for a time when they could stand without swaying, and at worst a lost cause without first educating them on five hundred plus years of history.
And even forgetting the inherent racism, there was the varying levels of sexism, homophobia, and so on to deal with. So, pretty far from perfect.
But you know what? Those people never made me feel ashamed for my country. I might have felt bad for someone they were talking to, or for them showing their ignorance, but they never made me feel ashamed to be born here.
Whereas the arseholes who'll be out and about tomorrow, picking on people they perceive as different, do just that. They make me ashamed. Their blind hatred, pack mentality, and sheer willing ignorance make me sick to my stomach.
There's not a huge point to the post, beyond that. I think if someone decides they want to come and live here, that makes them Australian enough for me. And I'm far happier to share my country with them, than I could ever be to share it with the sorts of people who will be targeting them tomorrow.
I'll finish on a moment from my abattoir days that has always stayed with me.
I still remember the day a couple of young blokes were going off, within earshot of the folks in question, about how we shouldn't have Vietnamese working there. It was the usual bullshit about stealing jobs, not belonging here, yada yada...
Then Cowboy stood up. He was an old yob, a big guy, and even in the hottest weather always wore long pants. He walked over to them and pulled up his pants legs. He had puckered holes in the skin of both his legs you could put your fingers into, and told the blokes that he got them from a Vietnamese landmine when he was in 'Nam.
You could see the moment as, grinning, these young blokes waited for Cowboy to hold forth on why the Vietnamese were bad people. Their smiles became almost awestruck.
And that's the moment when Cowboy grabbed each of the guys by the shoulder and pushed them back against the wall, hard. And what he said, to the best of my memory, was, "An' if I say they have every right to live and work in this fuckin' country, so you can just shut the fuck up. And you know what, it's cunts like you that cause wars in the first place. So shut your fuckin' mouths before I shut them for ya."
The confusion on their faces was beautiful. They didn't even try to answer back, which was probably the most intelligent thing they ever did.
Then Cowboy walked over and apologised to the Vietnamese for them having to listen to such rubbish.