On a bright note, Xenophobia doesn’t just happen in Australia

June 1, 2009 — 14 Comments

The growing controversy over the bashing of Indian students in Melbourne has taken on nearly farcical levels of stupidity.

The allegations, particularly from the Indian press is that Indian students in Melbourne are being targeted on racial grounds, in what is being referred to as “curry bashing.”

That there has been attacks in which racial slurs were used is factual. That there is a wave of violence against Indian students isn’t.

It’s hard to get solid numbers, and local Indian representatives aren’t helping. On ABC radio last week, the head of the Indian Students Association claimed that there had been 60-70 incidents. Within that number, he included suicides that he blamed on fear of being attacked. Whether than number is accurate or not, I don’t know.

What I do know is that according to Victoria Police, there were 31,284 assaults recorded in Victoria in 2007/2008. Some of these so-called “curry bashing” incidents included robbery, of which there were 3,332 incidents in 2007/2008 for the entire state.

Numbers of the total numbers of Indian students in Melbourne are hard to pin down, but have been suggested to be around 30,000. This might be on top, or including the 50,000 odd people who said they were born in India in the 2006 census and the 30,000 from Sri Lanka (while I know there is a difference, your average racist thug at night couldn’t tell the difference). What we can add to that is the first and second generations of people born in Melbourne that have Indian or Sri Lankan heritage; I don’t have a number, but you’d probably double or triple the not-born here number.

So out of maybe 150,000 to 200,000 people of Indian or Sri Lankan heritage in Melbourne, 60-70 have been subject to assault, robbery, or death.

Remember, the incidents of assault in the general population is 563.9 incidents per 100,000 people. Given the population of people with heritage in India or Sri Lanka, there should have been roughly 1000 assaults….but there’s been maybe 60-70, and possibly less.

I’m don’t want to belittle any crime big or small, because ultimately they are all wrong and they shouldn’t happen. But perspective based on numbers vs what is now being called a trend that is threatening international relations between Australia and India? Give me a break.

The xenophobia in India is so out of control that you read shit like this article. It claims that a student who was found to have committed suicide was murdered by an Australian taxi driver. What this article fails to mention (and the others like it) is that if he was murdered by a taxi driver, and there is NO EVIDENCE to suggest that he was, that there’s a very strong chance the taxi driver WOULD HAVE BEEN INDIAN AS WELL. I don’t have numbers, but a rough guess would be at least 50% of taxi drivers in Melbourne are Indian from experience, if not higher. Those that aren’t Indian are often visitors or from other parts of the world, in particular Eastern Europe. But why let that get in the way of a good beat up.

I was going to be more scathing about the way the Indian press are dealing with story, but then it dawned on me that I’ve seen stories like this before.

In Australia.

Every time some idiot Australian tourist gets pinged for drugs or theft overseas, the media and general population fall into an orgy of xenophobia, one of cultural elitism that borders on outright racism. That the Indian media is now doing the same to us…well, it gives pause for thought, doesn’t it.