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Dumb, Drunk and Racist
May 28, 2012 9:28 PM   Subscribe

Dumb, Drunk and Racist - Joe Hildebrand, writer for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, has a new TV show coming up on Australian TV, called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist", which was the phrase famously used during a training session in an Indian call centre about Australians. The show features four Indians from varying backgrounds visiting Australia - looks like very uncomfortable viewing (if you're Australian). (Slightly NSFW because of drunken boob-showing).
posted by awfurby (138 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Excellent trailer, really makes me want to see the film.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:36 PM on May 28, 2012


And it looks like they actually find some decent Australians. If you don't blink you'll see them.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:37 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes we are.

But not exclusively.



We're lots of things. And this should have been, "Are white Australians dumb, drunk and racist?" Australia is so diverse, it's only applicable for the subset of white blow-ins, post 1788.
posted by taff at 9:38 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


ALso.... when and where is it showing? SBS or ABC?
posted by taff at 9:38 PM on May 28, 2012


did that man eat his own tooth.
posted by boo_radley at 9:39 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow. I've certainly seen my share of dumb, drunk, and racist Australians :) I was very shocked, upon moving to Brisbane from country NSW/QLD, that the city folk were racist against Indians. I'd expected it from country people, going with the stereotype--and very rarely did you meet someone who was Indian, African, whatever, but then inner city Brisbane! Moorooka, or "little Africa", as it was called, is a haven for African immigrants, and because I moved there from what I swear was the land of the whites, at first my eyes were noting the skin colouring of everyone around me, because this was parsing as unusual, but this soon passed; what didn't pass was hearing what people were saying around me, about how the area had gone to shit because of immigrants, or how Indians were taking all the jobs and were making it hard for proper Aussies to get jobs.

"I want to catch a cab and not have a fucking Indian behind the wheel," I often heard, but hey for all they knew those were Pakistanis or Indian Fijians or whatever, but yeah.

So it does exist. I heard it often enough from people I thought would be better, people with tertiary education and whom I would have thought someone left-leaning. It's not like they wanted to be behind the counter of a 24-hour shop, or cleaning the supermarkets, or behind the wheel of a cab with some drunk younglings puking on you.

And now I'm in Melbourne, and I don't hear quite as much the same, but I'm sure it exists...
posted by owlrigh at 9:40 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ugh I absolutely cannot stand this guy. His flip attitude and general approach to "journalism" brings to me the image of the dude riding the atom bomb at the end of Dr Strangelove - the falling bomb being journalism and its descent.

Writing for the Tele is bad enough; watching the ABC regularly pay for his sneering, jejune "insight" about how shit our politicians, media, television, and public is takes me into active loathing. He's part of the problem.

I'm sure the show will delight in mocking Australian and Indian alike. And FYI Joe, how courageous of you to talking about racism when you work for one of its most active stokers.

You could do some actual research about attitudes towards Indians in Australia, but that'd take some work, I suppose.
posted by smoke at 9:40 PM on May 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Daily Telegraph is a lowbrow bogan tabloid, whose main stock in trade is sports news & outragefilter. This show is surely just a huge troll.

On preview: taff, I expect this will show right after A Current Affair or Today Tonight, similar bastions of trollish outrage. Probably as soon as singsong talent show The Voice and/or home renovation reality show The Block have finished their current seasons.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:43 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joe Hildebrand is LiB?
posted by vidur at 9:43 PM on May 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Ha, the education consultant at about 2:20..."We don't recommend Australia to students too much, by not too much I mean not at all."
posted by sweetkid at 9:46 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'd read about the guys that beat up an Indian grad student in accounting. Glad the students are demonstrating against racism, but it looks like they have their work cut out for them. Even small towns in the US are safer places for students from the subcontinent.
posted by discopolo at 9:57 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm think I'm slightly infatuated with the innocence of any telemarketer who when, after peddling cell-phone plans over the phone uninvited, is amazed when someone tells them to "fuck off."
posted by KokuRyu at 10:00 PM on May 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I had posted this video on the blue once.
posted by vidur at 10:03 PM on May 28, 2012


I know lots and lots of Malay and Chinese Malaysians go to Australia for university and hadn't heard anything particularly bad. Is it Indians specifically that are hated, and is there a reason for that?
posted by BinGregory at 10:04 PM on May 28, 2012


Speaking of uncomfortable shows about immigration, I would highly recommend Go Back To Where You Came From.
posted by vidur at 10:06 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not that Australians aren't dumb drunk and racist, but you work for a company that calls people during dinner time and bugging them to switch phone plans. Everyone hates that.
posted by savvysearch at 10:09 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know lots and lots of Malay and Chinese Malaysians go to Australia for university and hadn't heard anything particularly bad. Is it Indians specifically that are hated, and is there a reason for that?

Violence against Indians in Australia controversy
posted by vidur at 10:09 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm think I'm slightly infatuated with the innocence of any telemarketer who

They say she works in a call centre. Not all call centres are telemarketing companies. For instance, every time you call the number on your credit card, that's a call centre. I'm sure you can come up with more examples on your own.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:12 PM on May 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm think I'm slightly infatuated with the innocence of any telemarketer who when, after peddling cell-phone plans over the phone uninvited, is amazed when someone tells them to "fuck off."

They'd be more amazed by me telling them to "chale jaao, bhenchod".
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:14 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


They'd be more amazed by me telling them to "chale jaao, bhenchod".

Indeed. Because nobody in India says that.
posted by vidur at 10:15 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


UbuRoivas - I KNOW, right? But, no, it's ABC!
posted by gingerest at 10:15 PM on May 28, 2012


Indeed. Because nobody in India says that.

No, they're too polite.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:19 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


@BinGregory is there a reason for that?

I don't believe there is any animosity towards Indians in most of Melbourne, but there is an idiot slice who's bigotry is fanned by the newspapers that the presenter of this upcoming show writes for

If you speak to Indians professionals who live in Melbourne, you will get a very different impression of the city, to the one you will get from Indian students, and there is a reason for that.

The students who were protesting are not wealthy Indian students at major universities, but at private colleges which provide a mix of education and work opportunities.
Melbourne is an expensive city. If you come here from a developing country with a very tight budget you end living up in the worst places and exposed to the worst elements of our city. Lots of these students take unskilled jobs as taxi drivers, or working in twenty four hour stores.

The side of this city that they see is a side of this city that most of us have the option of not interacting with and choose not to.
posted by compound eye at 10:20 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


"chale jaao, bhenchod".

Neither here nor there, but my Indian playmates sure used to laugh when I put "Oh Susanna" on the tapedeck.
posted by BinGregory at 10:21 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


While I have no tremendous insight into Australian culture, I do have insight into being called by people in India at the most inexpedient times of day, some offering products and services, and others - increasingly - calling on behalf of outright scams. I can't help but think that being told to go stuff it over and over again will not endear call-centre workers to patrons of any nationality, least of all mine.

The trend in upscale inbound call-centres has long been to locate them somewhere on the continent. (More than a few struggling post-industrial towns I know have seen abandoned supermarket after abandoned supermarket replaced with call centres.) On one hand, it stands to reason that people might prefer talking to operators who sound like them, speak the same native language as them, and share a cultural frame of reference. On the other, the very fact that we're going this way tells us something about how unpleasant the experience of those Indian operators must have been.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:23 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


My body hurts looking at those poor people in those horrible plastic chairs. They are too low to use their keyboards properly. I don't care where they or their ancestors came from, they deserve better chairs to work. But I'm highly prejudiced. For whatever reason, I tend to find Indian people beautiful. Go figure, I never could. I'm white from Whitelandia.
posted by Goofyy at 10:33 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


They say she works in a call centre. Not all call centres are telemarketing companies. For instance, every time you call the number on your credit card, that's a call centre. I'm sure you can come up with more examples on your own.

I guess you didn't RTFA, but it specifically says they were calling up Aussies to offer them cell phone plans.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:33 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even small towns in the US are safer places for students from the subcontinent.

That's an interesting contention - I have no idea whether it's true or not, do you have any particular insight or evidence comparing small towns in the US with the broader Australia?

Mary Dellamorte, in the video it's quite clear she's selling upgrades to mobile phone plans.

Of course, none of this is to minimise what I feel is the pervasive racism and hysterical denial of it at play in the broader Australian environment. I grew up in rural Queensland; I'm familiar with Australian racism.

However, I have absolutely no doubt that anything written by that muck-racking buffoon will be simplistic, derisive and dismissive. Your tax dollars at work as the ABC champions its increasing competitiveness in a race to the bottom. Thanks Mark Scott.
posted by smoke at 10:35 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Screw everything about this. They should just do a show all about"abuse a telemarketer" or even better "abuse a telemarketing executive" or even merely "abuse an executive".

Executives like money, right? Basically more than everything else, including themselves, no?

I think we're on to something, here. Line up all the executives and we'll throw genuine silver dollars at them really hard. The executives are finally paid a fair wage, they're kept out of positions where they just screw everything up anyway, society as a whole saves a ton of money and has long-living and truly useful products and we basic lives in paradise forever after.
posted by loquacious at 10:49 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Between this, The Shire, and Being Lara Bingle, the next few months should be a delightful season of trainwreck recreational slumming.

I'll need to organise my repertoire of popcorn recipes. Masala popcorn for the Indian show, dry popcorn with no butter for the Bingle, and popcorn on white bread with margarine for The Shire.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:52 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Screw everything about this. They should just do a show all about"abuse a telemarketer" or even better "abuse a telemarketing executive" or even merely "abuse an executive".
Huh? Most of those call center people aren't telemarketers, they're phone support. The people people talk to when the having a problem with their internet service, or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 10:52 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mary Dellamorte, in the video it's quite clear she's selling upgrades to mobile phone plans.

No, that's a different Indian woman. I watched the video again and it doesn't tell us what kind of call centre Mahima works in.

I guess you didn't RTFA

I did RTFA and I WTFV. The FA isn't about the FV. The FV gets it's name from the FA. Please RTFA and tell me where it states that Mahima works at the call centre in the article. My initial response was to the person who was calling Mahima a telemarketer and finding her proclamation of innocence to people telling her to fuck off infatuating.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:53 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Some context: some believe there is a shift of behaviour by a national broadcaster to accquire cheaper content from production houses instead of producing more expensive content in-house.

Executives like money, right? Basically more than everything else, including themselves, no?

The ABC doesn't stand to make much of a profit from this, unless there is a surprisingly lively sale of the show's DVDs.
posted by kithrater at 10:54 PM on May 28, 2012


No, they're too polite.

No, Ubu, you are too polite. "Chalo jao" would translate to something like "please leave", not "get lost". The word you are looking for is "bhaag", as in "Bhaag Bhenchod!" or even better "Bhaag Bhosadikey!"
posted by vidur at 10:54 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


They say she works in a call centre. Not all call centres are telemarketing companies. For instance, every time you call the number on your credit card, that's a call centre. I'm sure you can come up with more examples on your own.
I guess you didn't RTFA, but it specifically says they were calling up Aussies to offer them cell phone plans.


I think there are two different call centres under discussion. The woman in the documentary works at an unspecified call centre; the article in the post talks about the origin of the quotation "dumb, drunk and racist", which is a Mother Jones article found here, describing an American's experiences training and working for a summer in a presumably different call centre.

On preview, well, here is a link to a Mother Jones article.
posted by gingerest at 10:55 PM on May 28, 2012


I liked the part where they called an entire country with over 22 million people - dumb, drunk and racist.
posted by tegna56 at 10:58 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, they're too polite.

Heh, actually to my (Deccani, non-Delhi-ite) ears, "chale jaao, BC" actually sounds rather polite. The general standard is do something like, "Dafaa ho jao" or even better, insert some sarcastic remark first, like, "You think I have nothing else to do? Abbey hat, BC" or something like that.
posted by the cydonian at 11:01 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


On post-view: what vidur said.
posted by the cydonian at 11:02 PM on May 28, 2012


"Chalo jao" would translate to something like "please leave", not "get lost". The word you are looking for is "bhaag", as in "Bhaag Bhenchod!" or even better "Bhaag Bhosadikey!"

Thanks for the tip!

While we're on the topic, can anybody please explain to me what (something that sounds like) "ghaan maarao" means? (ghand marao?) It might possibly be Marathi, though. Is it an appropriate thing to say to a telemarketer?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:02 PM on May 28, 2012


The best filter for media beat-ups about national character is to insert 'some people' whenever you see 'Australians' (or 'Indians' for that matter) and see how it works.
posted by jjderooy at 11:04 PM on May 28, 2012


While we're on the topic, can anybody please explain to me what (something that sounds like) "ghaan maarao" means? (ghand marao?) It might possibly be Marathi, though.

That's Hindi. "Gaand Maraa" = "Get fucked in the ass" with homophobic connotations, depending on the context.

Is it an appropriate thing to say to a telemarketer?

Your call.
posted by vidur at 11:06 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


*smothers giggles*
posted by infini at 11:14 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Film crew denies provoking Aborigines in Alice
posted by unliteral at 11:18 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked the part where they called an entire country with over 22 million people - dumb, drunk and racist.

I liked the part at the end where Canada was labeled "Maple-Syrup-Eating Beaver Lovers".
posted by XMLicious at 11:21 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can i get all those phrases spelt out phonetically, please, to make sure I say them right?
posted by Jimbob at 11:23 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


My initial response was to the person who was calling Mahima a telemarketer and finding her proclamation of innocence to people telling her to fuck off infatuating.
Er, I assume you meant infuriating? Because I'm not sure who you were supposed to be falling in love with in that sentence :)

Also, there are different types of telemarketing, If you call your credit card company or cellphone company they might try to get you into some upgrade. That's different then cold calling and annoying people. I would guess that the majority of callcenter work is not cold-call telemarketing.
That's an interesting contention - I have no idea whether it's true or not, do you have any particular insight or evidence comparing small towns in the US with the broader Australia?
Well, the problem for Indians in the US is getting mistaken as being from a middle eastern, and therefore Muslim (in their minds) country. Obviously there are lots of actual Muslims from India too, There are occasionally attacks on random people due to people mistaking them for, Other than that I'm not really aware of too much racism directed at Indians qua being Indian. In fact, If you look at the deep south, for example, the governor of Louisiana and South Carolina are both of Indian descent (and both are republican), so I don't think it could be that big of an issue.

One interesting thing, though, is that I do remember this "humor" article in time magazine. I thought there was an FPP about it at some point, but I can't find it so maybe not. Anyway, he basically he understood how all those people in the southwest US could hate Mexicans because there were lots of Indians in his home town, and he hated it and then proceeded to spew a bunch racist nonsense about Indians (including talking about calling them 'dot-heads'). There was a bunch of commentary about that and some people of Indian decent actually mentioned getting beaten up by white kids in that town (while being called dot-heads) if I'm remembering right. So there may be some localized areas where it's more of an issue.

There's also the issue of just generalized stereotypes, complaining about call center workers, and so on. That kind of thing might be more prevalent. But it wouldn't result in people beating each other up.

posted by delmoi at 11:32 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by taff at 11:34 PM on May 28, 2012


This looks appalling. The Telegraph is a fish wrapper, and Joe Hildebrand is a tool of the highest order.

The Indian student controversy was an insane beat-up flamed by the media both in Australia and especially in India, which frankly went insane. On that point, the trailer is actually playing it down.

The trailer makes it looks like he's going to take some Indians round to see the dregs of our society. Well, that's just great. I'm sure that will make things so much better.

I also note that, apart from the shots of aboriginal children, I note a distinct lack of non-white faces in that trailer. Why not introduce them to the 20% of Australians that, like myself, were born overseas, or the additional 20% that constitute their children. The trailer seems to completely ignore how multi-cultural we are.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:35 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Huh? Most of those call center people aren't telemarketers, they're phone support. The people people talk to when the having a problem with their internet service, or whatever.

I was talking specifically about unsolicited telemarketers, but some call center employees should probably be included, yes.

Then I figured it would be more attractive as a plot element in this theoretical TV show that it should really be about the telemarketing executives, and, well, it was just too easy to expand that to most executives in all markers and sectors and how it would be the best TV reality TV show in the history and foreseeable future of reality TV shows and I got kind of carried away.

The ABC doesn't stand to make much of a profit from this, unless there is a surprisingly lively sale of the show's DVDs.


Apologies, I wasn't commenting about the income potential of the show or ABC's share in it. I' derailing but I'm not sure where you got that from since my comment was hopefully obviously off topic.
posted by loquacious at 11:37 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


My initial response was to the person who was calling Mahima a telemarketer and finding her proclamation of innocence to people telling her to fuck off infatuating.
Er, I assume you meant infuriating? Because I'm not sure who you were supposed to be falling in love with in that sentence :)
No:
I'm think I'm slightly infatuated with the innocence of any telemarketer who when, after peddling cell-phone plans over the phone uninvited, is amazed when someone tells them to "fuck off."
posted by KokuRyu at 2:30 PM on May 29
posted by gingerest at 11:43 PM on May 28, 2012


I liked the part where they called an entire country with over 22 million people - dumb, drunk and racist.

I liked the part at the end where Canada was labeled "Maple-Syrup-Eating Beaver Lovers".
posted by XMLicious at 7:21 AM on May 29


I liked the part where the shrimp-barbie-ing, cork-brimmed sheep shaggers still label us whingeing poms.

In other news, Aussie wine is still shite because it's still too fruity and sweet.
posted by Decani at 11:49 PM on May 28, 2012


I'd read about the guys that beat up an Indian grad student in accounting. Glad the students are demonstrating against racism, but it looks like they have their work cut out for them. Even small towns in the US are safer places for students from the subcontinent.

I'd be interested in evidence as to whether or not this is true.

Not to diminish the problems faced by international students from non-white, non-English speaking backgrounds in Australia, but you have to keep in mind that there are tens of thousands of them in the major cities. For a while "Australia is a dangerous place for Indian students" was a sexy media topic and so any attack that happened to involve this group of people was presented in race terms regardless of whether race was the motivation for the attack (as opposed to say, robbery). Also, as someone else pointed out above, cash-poor international students are probably more likely to live in places and work in jobs that expose them to greater risks.
posted by lwb at 11:53 PM on May 28, 2012


@His thoughts were red thoughts
you have my favorite name on mefi.
I get a shiver every time i see it.
for anyone who doesn't recognise the phrase, it is from Sredni Vashtar

posted by compound eye at 11:58 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Report from Australian Institute of Criminology: Crimes against international students in Australia: 2005–09

From the media release:
Key findings show:

- Rates of assault for Indian students were lower than or on par with rates for the general Australian population.
- Rates of robbery against Indian students were higher than average for Australians in larger states for most years.
- The proportion of robberies against Indian students occurring at commercial locations was approximately double that recorded for students from other countries.
- Over half of robberies against Indian students on commercial premises occurred at service stations.

Robbery is an opportunistic crime. The higher rates of robbery against Indian students, compared with other international students, and Australian comparison populations, appeared to be more likely to occur because of a range of factors: in particular, differences in employment, with large numbers of Indian students working in higher-risk employment (taxi driving and in convenience/fast food stores and service stations), working evening/night shifts and their use of public transport.

As the data did not include offender profiles, the AIC could not engage in specific analysis of racial motivation. The fact that assault rates on Indian students were either below or the same as the rates of assault for the general Australian community suggests that race is not a primary motivation.
Racism doesn't exist, I guess.
posted by vidur at 11:59 PM on May 28, 2012


I'm Canadian, and I lived for about 4 years in Australia, in total, in the 1990s and early 2000s. I love Australia and Australians.

For what it's worth, I don't think Australians are any dumber than anyone else, but being dumb and proud of it did seem to be a more acceptable social mode there than I had expected.

I'd say alcohol plays a bigger role in Aussie culture in general than it does in North America these days, but is probably on a par with UK drinking culture. I've been fond of a drink or three in my time, so I may not be the best judge.

I did find that casual racism was more prevalent and accepted there, even amongst the urban professional classes, overall. I found myself a little shocked by racist comments that were made quite blithely in ordinary conversation, or passed off as laddish humour.

That said, though, if I were feeling a bit negative and trying to characterize my northern Canadian hometown in a pithy phrase, despite my love for it, too, 'dumb drunk and racist' would serve pretty well. It's not like Australia has a monopoly on the whole thing.

You can turn over rocks to expose distasteful stuff no matter where you go, if you make an effort to do so. Sometimes it even serves a useful purpose. I'm not sure, judging by this trailer, if this is one of those times.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:01 AM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Daily Telegraph is a lowbrow bogan tabloid

What would a highbrow bogan tabloid be like?
posted by pracowity at 12:05 AM on May 29, 2012


The fact that assault rates on Indian students were either below or the same as the rates of assault for the general Australian community suggests that race is not a primary motivation Indian students are not going out, getting drunk, and doing dumb things that cause them to get into stupid fights.

Fixed that for the Institute of Criminology.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:05 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


What would a highbrow bogan tabloid be like?

Newsweek.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:06 AM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


dumb, drunk and racist is no way to go through life, son
posted by Hoopo at 12:08 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're dumb, drunk and racist I feel bad for you, son.
I got 99 problems but a bitch [herd of racist morons dredged up by a third-rate hack for a fourth-rate TV show] ain't one.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:13 AM on May 29, 2012


That looks a hell of a lot better than anything currently on american TV.
posted by Ardiril at 12:16 AM on May 29, 2012


I met Joe Hildebrand once. He was a sweet, quiet, almost shy bloke.

I strongly suspect he might have a 'totally different persona for public consumption' thing going on. So I'm going to reserve judgement until I watch the whole program tonight.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 12:21 AM on May 29, 2012


What would a highbrow bogan tabloid be like?
The Australian?
posted by dumbland at 12:24 AM on May 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


I was under the impression that all Australians were bartenders in England.
posted by srboisvert at 12:25 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


That looks a hell of a lot better than anything currently on american TV.

I'd watch it. I like a bit of lowbrow bogan TV from time to time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:26 AM on May 29, 2012


He was a sweet, quiet, almost shy bloke.

Wow. That is the complete opposite from his public persona, both in the Tele, and in his seemingly innumerable appearances on ABC as some kind of "larrikin" "journalist". I despise him, and he's a wonderful emblem for the shit-stirring, half-dimensional, horse-race-calling invective that passes for news in this country's papers and national broadcaster. It's a role he seems to embrace with vigour.
posted by smoke at 12:47 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do think the robbery thing might be, in addition to the housing and employment factors already mentioned, the belief that many people have that international students are all rich, and thus more likely to be carrying valuables.

I did find that casual racism was more prevalent and accepted there

I agree with this. I am constantly surprised by what (a lot of, not all) people feel completely comfortable saying, even educated people. They are often shocked (and really, really defensive) if you call them on it, and it sometimes seems like they genuinely don't realise there's anything racist about their comments - or perhaps the culture teaches them that they won't be called on casual racism.

I've had a few conversations where people start complaining about immigrants, and when I point out that I myself am an immigrant, they'll invariably say something along the lines of "I don't mean people like you!" For most of these people, it isn't about jobs or housing or any of those things they like to claim it's about: it's about racism.
posted by lwb at 12:59 AM on May 29, 2012


[Comment deleted; if you want to get personally insulting and/or bring a gallon of gasoline and some matches to this thread, please keep moving.]
posted by taz at 1:10 AM on May 29, 2012


Then I figured it would be more attractive as a plot element in this theoretical TV show that it should really be about the telemarketing executives, and, well, it was just too easy to expand that to most executives in all markers and sectors and how it would be the best TV reality TV show in the history and foreseeable future of reality TV shows and I got kind of carried away.
Uh right, but it's not clear what telemarketing executives have to so with the premise, since although some of these people work in call centers, there isn't any indication they work as telemarketers and say they don't.
No:
Ooooh, I see. I didn't get that bit of context. Yeah. I assumed she was just criticizing the ignorant comments, rather then correcting another poster who had mistakenly thought the comments were warranted on the basis of the subject being a telemarketer.
posted by delmoi at 1:37 AM on May 29, 2012


3.79 litres of petrol
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:38 AM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


most Australians are dumb, drunk and racist.

But, if you scroll forward to 2.02 in the video the Indian call center worker says Australians refer to them as "you bloody Asians" ... which is quite cute as Australians call people from India Indians ... Asians is a Brittish term. As an Australian I had never heard an Indian called Asian until I traveled to the UK.

Because, you know, I wouldn't want to get countries and nationalities mixed up whilst I am slagging them off.
posted by jannw at 1:41 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've had a few conversations where people start complaining about immigrants, and when I point out that I myself am an immigrant, they'll invariably say something along the lines of "I don't mean people like you!" For most of these people, it isn't about jobs or housing or any of those things they like to claim it's about: it's about racism.

This happens to me all the time in England. Once it even happened when I was sitting with a bank employee arranging a cash remittance back to my home country as I am not on the Obama's pace for student loan repayment :( . Of course it was to Canada where English people store their aunts and uncles so they didn't seem to realize that my wife and I were immigrants and that not only had we taken some of their better jobs, we were taking money out of their economy and sending it to a foreign country!

So it isn't just Australia that has this coded racism problem.
posted by srboisvert at 2:07 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The YouTube link is now dead, pulled for nudity.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:18 AM on May 29, 2012


Isn't labelling an entire nationality a group of negative attributes, in itself racist?

When I was reading the comments in Indian news web sites about the students being assaulted in Australia controversy it was interesting to note the amount of apparent racism or negative attitudes by Indians against other Indians of differing caste or regional origin.
posted by zog at 2:22 AM on May 29, 2012


He was a sweet, quiet, almost shy bloke.

Wow. That is the complete opposite from his public persona, both in the Tele, and in his seemingly innumerable appearances on ABC as some kind of "larrikin" "journalist".

posted by smoke


I agree wholeheartedly. But I met him... counts on fingers... maybe 4 years ago, before he started popping up on commercial tv as well as the ABC as well as the Tele, etc. Maybe it's all gone to his head, maybe it is a public persona, maybe he's a genuine arsehole. I really don't know but I thought I'd share my perspective.

(And my female companion was instantly smitten, she fell in lerve!)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:29 AM on May 29, 2012


Film crew denies provoking Aborigines in Alice:

Aurora Hotel manager Ron Thynne called Hildebrand and the crew members "cowardly", saying they hid in their hotel rooms and left two of his female reception staff to be allegedly assaulted with a camera tripod in the hotel foyer...

"Everyone knows you do not point cameras at Aboriginal people in central Australia without their permission. They told me they didn't ask permission because they didn't want to have to fill out the indemnity forms."

posted by mediareport at 2:33 AM on May 29, 2012


most Australians are dumb, drunk and racist.

Dude, we're standing right here!

Seriously though, that attitude is obnoxious and boorish. Cut it out please.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:33 AM on May 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


The jury is out on my dumbness, I'm well on my way to being drunk, and I'm not racist (I hate everyone equally, regardless of their gender, race, colour or creed).

Hang on, I do plead guilty to dumbness... I thought the show was being broadcast tonight. Apparently I have to wait until 20 June.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:47 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


lwb: " it sometimes seems like they genuinely don't realise there's anything racist about their comments - or perhaps the culture teaches them that they won't be called on casual racism."

From my time there, this strikes me as perfectly true. Insulting each other seems to be a pretty ingrained part of Aussie culture, and until the 80s there were few Asians to take offence at it. It's not surprising that it's getting louder as the minorities become more visible.

For the record, India is no different - if anything racism is so deeply inculcated in our society that it's hidden in plain sight. Nobody calls it racism. It's just common sense that Mallus are like this and Punjus are like that and Dalits get all the university seats and girls from the North-East are easy. We're just somewhat less publicly vocal about it (not any more though - thanks Internet!), while Aussies have no trouble telling people what they think for better or worse.

I had to turn off that video once the Indian TV news screamers came on though, as I am irrationally biased against talking heads. Those people and their culture have no redeeming qualities.
posted by vanar sena at 3:00 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Moorooka, or "little Africa", as it was called, is a haven for African immigrants, and because I moved there from what I swear was the land of the whites, at first my eyes were noting the skin colouring of everyone around me, because this was parsing as unusual, but this soon passed; what didn't pass was hearing what people were saying around me, about how the area had gone to shit because of immigrants, or how Indians were taking all the jobs and were making it hard for proper Aussies to get jobs.

That's Moorooka all right
posted by moorooka at 3:01 AM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


it sometimes seems like they genuinely don't realise there's anything racist about their comments - or perhaps the culture teaches them that they won't be called on casual racism.

I'm ethnically Indian. I've lived in Australia for over a decade. I went to high school for a couple of years here, and university here. I worked in a few different industries, and in both government and private practice. I've spent time in (what passes for) big cities, and in small towns and rural areas.

All I can say is that your comment does not reflect my experience in Australia. Certainly, as a student here I never experienced a single jot of racism. The vast majority of people that I've met and deal with daily are not racist. Further, I don't feel that the prevailing culture, as represented by the people I interact with, condones racism.

I have seen racist elements in my adopted society - for example, vociferous objection to the development of a mosque or Muslim school in western Sydney, or the idiotic scuffle referred to as the Cronulla riots. Shock jocks jock shockingly, and can be pretty racist. Racist rhetoric has featured in politics a fair amount - the current opposition leader has a serious grudge against 'boat people' (nice dehumanizing there, Tony), and refugee policy is pretty bad because they are constantly making it a political football, but that's a far cry from the inane racist rantings of flash-in-the-pan, fringe throwback Pauline Hanson which garnered so much international attention. To me, these issues stick out in my mind because they deviate from the mainstream, not because they are indicative of it.

I think that the racism in Australia is endemic to any multicultural society comprised of a number of different ethnic groups. People are tribal, and it's easy to distinguish yourself from different ethnicities. I think it's something that we (both Australia and the world), will have to grow out of.

Tl;dr I think this show is likely to portray the attitudes of a fringe group of idiots as far more prevalent than they actually are.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:39 AM on May 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


"I liked the part where they called an entire country with over 22 million people - dumb, drunk and racist."

There's 25 million people living in Texas. A lot of folk here on MeFi don't have a problem with characterizing that population in even more stereotypical, negative terms.

Not that I'm not guilty of it, myself. I hate Texas, actually, even though I've spent a total of at least ten years of my life living there. But I found Austin to be the only city I really liked and which didn't creep me out with Texan chauvinism/bigotry/racism and, even there in what is easily the most progressive large city in Texas (and which is, on the whole, more progressive than many other nominally progressive cities around the US) it was always still there, just under the surface.

But I lived there and I have numerous close, non-racist, progressive and open-minded friends who are native Texans and I'm always a little defensive on their behalf at such generalizations, sometimes even against myself when I find I'm making them. So, it's complicated.

Different large groupings of people who share a lot of cultural history do, in fact, quite often share a lot of negative traits and it's not entirely inaccurate or unfair to generalize about them negatively. This applies to Americans, of course. It even applies to Canadians. (My ex-wife was Canadian and I was shocked at the casual racism expressed against Chinese in Toronto when I was there in the early nineties by the very same people who otherwise saw themselves as so hugely more tolerant and less racist than Americans — they simply didn't see the ubiquitous comments about the Chinese immigrants as racist, it was simply true. Taught me a good, but sad, lesson.)

My probably-not-very-trustworthy observation about Australians that has some relevance to this — not the least informed by my experience with Aussies here — is that there's a strong tendency toward iconoclasm and being contrary. Not being afraid to say unpopular things (and taking some delight in any uproar that results from saying unpopular things). That plays very strongly into the social acceptability of expressing racism for those who are otherwise inclined in that direction. This very likely makes something more visible, though not necessarily more present.

That said, I have mixed feelings about this because my own experience in Texas has been that the southerner "we're only open and honest about racism while northerners pretend they're not racist but they're actually worse" very quickly began to annoy the living shit out of me after the fifteenth time I heard/read it. There is some truth to this, as many northern cities are more segregated and there's more de facto institutionalized racism than in many southern cities. It's a good point to keep in mind; just as it's important to realize, as I did, that the Canadian smug superiority relative to the US's history of racism provides a kind of cover for a self-delusion of near-perfect innocence. Still, this argument itself ends up being an attempt at avoiding any blame or responsibility and cover for self-delusion. People who espouse it somehow convince themselves into thinking that since their culture is openly racist, that's somehow a good thing.

And it's not a good thing. I certainly didn't experience it that way. Even growing up in Eastern New Mexico, and in a small town at that, I rarely experienced openly expressed racism during my childhood. It was only when I moved to Texas that I began to regularly encounter open, explicit racism. And although I'm white, it felt oppressive to me. You can't convince me that it doesn't send some strong message when open racism is culturally tolerated as opposed to being forced to be covert.

Incidentally, that small town, culturally Texan (as all of Eastern New Mexico is, it was unsettled by anyone until Texans settled it at the beginning of the 20th), of only 12K people has a university in in which accounts for half of the population. And there was always a considerable "foreign student" population, dominated by Indians and Pakistanis. And a fair number of Africans (but that's partly because it had one of the best cross-country track teams in the US and so we got a lot of Kenyans). Even any racism against the Africans was either subdued or non-existant — after all, they were so very identifiably foreign (and so polite!) and most of the anti-black racism attached itself to African-Americans who attended the university. But I don't think I ever heard any racist comments about the foreign students from the sub-continent, ever, and this was the 70s and 80s. One bit of anecdata about the "Indian foreign college students in small US towns" speculation.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:40 AM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


25 million people live in Texas??? Fuck me and the horse I rode in on. That's more than our entire population. Colour me gobsmacked.

And when I'm sober tomorrow morning I'll be a tad more sensible. But. Bloody hell. 25 million people live in Texas? It's so little, compared to our home, the largest island/smallest continent.

Mind blown.

posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:17 AM on May 29, 2012


And when I'm sober tomorrow morning I'll be a tad more sensible. But. Bloody hell. 25 million people live in Texas? It's so little, compared to our home, the largest island/smallest continent.

Australia's population: 22,900,000
Population of National Capital Region, India: 22,157,000

And this is before I talk about Greater Mumbai, with another 20 mil, or Greater Kolkata with about 15 mil a piece.
posted by the cydonian at 4:33 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, Texas looks to be about the geographic size of New South Wales and so may be, eyeballing it, about one-sixth the size of Australia. That's pretty big.

The population is more evenly distributed than yours is (of course, as Australia is sort of like Canada with regard to being very uneven) but is still pretty concentrated into a sort of Dallas/Ft Worth-Austin-San Antonio-Houston arc. And those DFW, Houston, and SA metro areas are huge in terms of population (well, and area, too). Houston is the fourth-largest metro area in the US. It's that big. DFW taken as a whole (though classified, I think, as two metro areas) is sixth, I think. Or thereabouts. San Antonio is ninth, or thereabouts. Texas now accounts for three of the top ten metro areas in the US.

Also, Australia's 2008 GDP according to the World Bank was US$831B while Texas's was US$1,223B, a full fifty percent larger. (Just about Canada's. Also, for comparison, Canada has about 34M people.)

So...yeah. That just compounds the problem, really. There's so many people, surely it's terribly unfair to generalize about them. But, on the other hand, because there's so many people, in their own way they're like New Yorkers or Californians in being parochial for the same reasons. And the size provides a rationale for being self-involved and chauvinistic. (Though they've always been that way.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:39 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked the part where the shrimp-barbie-ing, cork-brimmed sheep shaggers still label us whingeing poms.

Sheep shaggers??? I know it's easy to get confused given that it is right next door, but I'm pretty sure you're thinking of New Zealand (the ones that beat you at rugby, we're the ones that beat you at cricket).

In other news, Aussie wine is still shite because it's still too fruity and sweet.

/Cracks open a Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon

Sez you!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:47 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, today is loading-up-the-moving-truck day and tomorrow I will move to Kansas City, MO, where my mom and sister both now live. According to my mom, she's encountered more open racism in Kansas City in the last sixteen years that she's lived there than she did in the ten years she lived in Amarillo, TX. And my experience of my two years in Amarillo were that it was a racist pit. This does not encourage me in my already-uncertain move to KC. But, as I understand it, Missouri is really kind of the South even though I've always thought of it as the Midwest.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:49 AM on May 29, 2012


All I can say is that your comment does not reflect my experience in Australia. Certainly, as a student here I never experienced a single jot of racism.

Well, I'm certainly not trying to suggest that everybody in Australia is racist - I actually think, or perhaps would like to think, that most people are pretty welcoming in general. I'm just saying that I hear more casually racist comments than I would expect, especially from people who are educated and otherwise progressive on most social issues.

I assume that, for example, the "Indians/Asians/refugees are stealing all our jobs, they should stop letting them in, I'm not racist, I'm just telling it how it is" crowd are probably just socially aware enough that they're more comfortable saying those things around people that they assume will share their views or at least not feel strongly enough about it it to call them on it. I'm not sure you would be privy to that sort of conversation unless somebody's filter had been turned off in a big way.
posted by lwb at 4:56 AM on May 29, 2012


And this is before I talk about Greater Mumbai, with another 20 mil, or Greater Kolkata with about 15 mil a piece.

Cairo had 18 million last time I was there, so probably over 20 million by now.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:03 AM on May 29, 2012


most Australians are dumb, drunk and racist.

I have not found this to be the case.
posted by gingerest at 5:13 AM on May 29, 2012


If I read this thread I'm gonna be all "fuck you all" or "that is so true".
posted by Mezentian at 5:15 AM on May 29, 2012


I'm not sure you would be privy to that sort of conversation unless somebody's filter had been turned off in a big way.

Well, if the racists are being racists in secret, I think I can live with that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:23 AM on May 29, 2012


Unbeknownst to Hello, I'm David McGahan we've replaced his Coonawarra Cab Sav with Kaiser Stuhl Fruity Lexia mixed with with Ribena.

Let's see if he notices.
posted by Mezentian at 5:26 AM on May 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I did notice, but the fruity lexia was making me nostalgic for being 16 again so I decided not to say anything....
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:34 AM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Anyone for a Passion Pop?
posted by taff at 5:38 AM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


but the fruity lexia was making me nostalgic for being 16 again so I decided not to say anything...

Time to teach the Seppos Wheel of Goon then.
posted by Mezentian at 5:42 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cairo had 18 million last time I was there, so probably over 20 million by now.

I like to imagine you were there nine months ago, and somehow are taking credit for the population jump.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:45 AM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


"This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy on nudity or sexual content."
posted by crunchland at 6:09 AM on May 29, 2012


Sydney is the only place I've ever stopped a cab and asked to get out so I didn't have to listen to the racist diatribe spewing forth from my cab driver any more. And I'm from London.

However, I don't really think Australia is significantly more racist than most other countries including my own. I can't think of another way to express this without making another generalisation so here goes anyway. There seems to be something in the Australian national "voice" that means people are less likely to alter their opinions depending on the audience. This means that racist opinions are more likely to be aired, and this gives the impression of a more racist society, whereas in fact I think the average person's willingness to express their views can make for a healthier national debate on such issues.
posted by greatbiglizard at 6:39 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since the video's been taken down, here's video instead of Hildebrand and his crew hiding from the two Aboriginal women who objected to the filming near them, and the women's subsequent attack on the clerk left at the hotel desk. I especially like the way Hildebrand claims in this article that "we were blissfully unaware that anything was happening...We didn't realise that we'd been followed to the hotel," which is kind of hard to square with the hotel camera footage or the reports they told the clerk to lock the doors before they hid.
posted by mediareport at 6:50 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've had a few conversations where people start complaining about immigrants, and when I point out that I myself am an immigrant, they'll invariably say something along the lines of "I don't mean people like you!" For most of these people, it isn't about jobs or housing or any of those things they like to claim it's about: it's about racism.
Here's an interesting g interview from Louis CK on that phenomenon w.r.t Mexicans in Arizona.
The YouTube link is now dead, pulled for nudity.
Hmm, any alternate links? Earlier I was just curious to see what people had to say. But now that I CAN'T see it, I want to see it more then anything. Maybe the whole thing will be online after it airs.
Well, Texas looks to be about the geographic size of New South Wales and so may be, eyeballing it, about one-sixth the size of Australia. That's pretty big.
By the way, check out the size comparison of the US and Australia.
posted by delmoi at 6:57 AM on May 29, 2012


Well, the contiguous USA. That map doesn't include Alaska, which is pretty big. Or Hawaii, which isn't.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:05 AM on May 29, 2012


It would be interesting to hear from someone non-white living in Vancouver and the surrounding municipalities about what their experience of racism has been like.

I do know that in rural communities in British Columbia, society can be segregated between "white" and "native". There's native bars and white bars, for example.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:45 AM on May 29, 2012


Or in Texas. When in Houston on business I frequently worked with Taiwanese Americans and Taiwanese or Chinese nationals. Evidently Houston is one of the larger concentrations of ethnic Chinese in the U.S.
posted by XMLicious at 8:09 AM on May 29, 2012


I did notice, but the fruity lexia was making me nostalgic for being 16 again so I decided not to say anything...

Well, well, well, get a load of his Lordship. When I was sixteen we made do by leaving undiluted orange cordial out in the sun.
posted by Ritchie at 8:41 AM on May 29, 2012


According to my mom, she's encountered more open racism in Kansas City in the last sixteen years that she's lived there than she did in the ten years she lived in Amarillo, TX.

When my uncle lived in a suburb of KC back in the '90s, the thing that finally convinced him to move was when the Klan burned a cross on his neighbors' lawn. His neighbors were Catholic. Missouri is kind of fucked, yo.


I liked the part at the end where Canada was labeled "Maple-Syrup-Eating Beaver Lovers".

What's wrong with maple syrup? It's natural, delicious, and has an almost unique flavor. Maple sugar is even better.

This beaver? It...uh...belongs to a friend. Yeah...I'm just holding it...uh...for a friend.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:55 AM on May 29, 2012


Nuts. I really wished a glimpse of the drunken boob.
posted by tcv at 8:56 AM on May 29, 2012


The last racist diatribe I heard from a cabbie was stated enthusiastically in a heavy Turkish accent. There was something delightful about listening to him crabbing on about those people, coming over here, taking our jobs, while periodically changing lanes without indicating, like he'd found his Australian dream and was damn well going to have all of it, unsavoury racism and all.
posted by Jilder at 9:21 AM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sydney is the only place I've ever stopped a cab and asked to get out so I didn't have to listen to the racist diatribe spewing forth from my cab driver any more.

I've had that wonderful experience in Singapore, where a cabbie to my face asked why us Indians were breeding like ants and filling up Singapore's Little India area. Asked to stop the car, made a point of calling the taxi firm's hotline in front of him and telling the operator that while I wanted to finish my journey, I no longer wish to either continue with that guy or to pay him for his services and that they book me another taxi to pick me up from that spot to continue my journey. They huffed initially but finally relented.

And I turned to the cabbie and told him, you know what my friend, these might be just seven measly bucks that I'm not paying you now, but you'll never forget this, will you.
posted by the cydonian at 9:29 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


smoke: About racial violence in America.

For some reason I don't get calls from Indian telemarketers, and anyhow I don't know if I could tell an Indian accent from a Pashti accent. I'm pretty sure my small town (here in southern Oregon) hardly ever tries to drag Indian nationals around behind their cars. Not that they don't bitch about them, of course. Seems like nobody here wants to talk to them on the phone either. I think it's some psychological substitution, because they don't get to wear their white hoods in public anymore, and they no longer are allowed to kill our Native Americans the way their grandfathers did--repeal of the sundown laws, and all that. Some habits die hard.

Mostly it's the illegal Mexicans that get the bad press around here. Even though a huge portion of our local Latino population really comes from various places in South America, I still hear mumblings in supermarket lines about how them goddam Mexicans are taking their jobs away and sucking up all the welfare benefits. You'd think that those guys at least would be grateful that these immigrants don't try to get jobs as telemarketers.

Anyhow, you guys in Australia sure know how to have a good time.
posted by mule98J at 9:30 AM on May 29, 2012


"This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy on nudity or sexual content."
posted by alby at 9:40 AM on May 29, 2012


KokuRyu "It would be interesting to hear from someone non-white living in Vancouver and the surrounding municipalities about what their experience of racism has been like."

Not quite a complete first-hand account, but I'm married to a non-white (Indian) and living in Vancouver. I can only think of a handful of experiences that she's related in the past 7+ years, and then these were related in considerable astonishment and surprise to our friends. Interestingly she also told me that she got considerably more respect at her (large, roughly-50%-east-Asian, 50% white) workplace once her co-workers found out that I was not Indian as well. I'm honestly not sure if that's indicative of racism per se, or was rather the reversal of a general dismissal of those immigrants who fail to integrate (once they found out that she had integrated).

As a separate point of anecdata, some of the most overt racism that we have received as an inter-racial couple has been from Indians themselves. It's ridiculous the number of stares we get if we walk down Fraser street (a largely Indian neighbourhood) together. Not to say that that's a general rule, of course -- but the above attitude is present amongst the south Asian community to at least a noticeable degree.

That said, I hope that it isn't just me favouring my direct experience over second-hand accounts.
posted by Arandia at 10:11 AM on May 29, 2012


Over 100 comments in and nobody is disputing the dumb and drunk!
posted by srboisvert at 12:35 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm think I'm slightly infatuated with the innocence of any telemarketer who when, after peddling cell-phone plans over the phone uninvited, is amazed when someone tells them to "fuck off."
posted by KokuRyu at 10:00 PM on May 28 [7 favorites +] [!]

Expecting someone to not be a total douche for no reason [other than a stupid, ill-gotten sense of superiority] is "innocent"?
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:22 PM on May 29, 2012


while periodically changing lanes without indicating

Sounds like that cabbie has assimilated perfectly.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:33 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


RE:"Indians/Asians/refugees are stealing all our jobs , protesting indian taxi drivers and and taxi driver racism.

The taxi system in Australia is a ridiculously exploitative system.

A taxi, not the taxi driver must have a special taxi licence that is issued by the state government.
Except that aren't issuing them anymore. If you want one you have to buy one of someone who already has it. Last I heard, in Melbourne a taxi licence will cost you close to a million.

Which means taxi licences are out of reach for most taxi drivers.
If you have a taxi licence you try and keep your car running 24 hours a day, and pay your drivers as little as possible in order to make a profit.

Thirty years ago most taxi drivers were working class guys with families to support. But taxi driving wages have dropped so low, that single students are finding it hard to support themselves.

Taxi drivers know they are being ripped off. They blame the government for the system that privileges taxi owners over drivers, the taxi owners who are ripping drivers off, and of course they blame whoever the latest wave of new taxi drivers are for accepting lower wages, who undermine any possibility of putting pressure on taxi owners for better conditions.

And that dynamic is pretty much reality.

Catching taxis in melbourne, I've had plenty of older Indian taxi drivers complain, in a torrent of racist garbage about the latest wave of immigrants from Punjab region.
posted by compound eye at 2:25 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


A taxi, not the taxi driver must have a special taxi licence that is issued by the state government.
Except that aren't issuing them anymore. If you want one you have to buy one of someone who already has it. Last I heard, in Melbourne a taxi licence will cost you close to a million.


So it's like New York then?
posted by acb at 2:40 PM on May 29, 2012


Dumb, drunk & racist woman on London tube jailed for 21 weeks. [previously]
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:53 PM on May 29, 2012


small because this is a bit of a de-rail, I don't know about new york, but it's not like london where drivers themselves are licensed.
It's an exploitative rort, that makes taxi driving a marginal job for people without other options.
My impression is that it relies on the desperation of foreign workers who have no access to the welfare system. Perhaps that's just like new york too, i wouldn't know.
There's little pressure for reform to the system because except when they do exceptional things like blockade the flinders st intersection, taxi drivers have little political weight, they are a transitory workforce, foreign and almost by definition on a low income.

Taxi licence holders on the other hand are wealthy business men who do not want the value of their licences diluted, and would sue the government for compensation if the value of their asset it was affected by new government policy.

wikipedia has the number of cabs in melbourne at 3774 and a 2009 licence value of 464000.

So buying those licences back at that price would cost around 2 billion. If the current million dollar price is accurate then double that. It's much easier for the government to let foreign workers be exploited


posted by compound eye at 4:33 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


does anyone have another link to the nsfw trailer?
posted by philllip at 4:34 PM on May 29, 2012


Over 100 comments in and nobody is disputing the dumb and drunk!

Ahem.
posted by gingerest at 4:40 PM on May 29, 2012


trailer here
posted by compound eye at 4:42 PM on May 29, 2012


Expecting someone to not be a total douche for no reason [other than a stupid, ill-gotten sense of superiority] is "innocent"?

You'd have to read the article, but there are folks in India selling cell-phone plans. I don't know about you, but it's not reasonable to expect that everyone will always be pleasant to telemarketers.

In terms of outsourced help-desks, yes, it is expected that we should be always be polite to people tasked with helping us with our mobile phones.

I am very glad that I was able to sort this out for you.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:03 PM on May 29, 2012


Yeah the taxi situation in Australia pretty much reminds me of the property situation in Australia. Governments are scared of pissing off investors/landlords by doing anything that might lower property prices or rental demand, so they highly restrict the amount of new housing available. We end up with insanely high property and rental prices, affecting a whole swathe of the population's living standards, but those ever-escalating prices are held up as an example of our wonderful booming economy.
posted by Jimbob at 5:49 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I once spent 27 minutes on the phone with an 'Indian' tele-scammer (India's a big place, and between the faux-Western accents and the crappy line quality, and my unfamiliarity with the many dialects of Greater India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka we'll just go with Indian):

They, as the Windows Worldwide Anti-Virus Team, were trying to get me to install some remote access software. Naturally I was sceptical that my Windows computer was "sprewing out" viruses onto the internet at large, but in my most helpful voice I attempted to comply with the nice person's instructions.

Alas, I was unfamiliar with the insides of Windows, and they were clearly script-bound.
All the while, as I translated Windows instructions to my Linux machine as best I could, I asked many questions about the Windows Worldwide Anti-Virus Team, their relationship to Microsoft, their credentials and how I could protect myself against internet scams.

They couldn't answer.

At one point I was *accidentally* cut off, and they called straight back and put me through to a supervisor.

The conversation reached a point where I asked them if they knew that this was a common scam, and that they were deliberately participating in an illegal operation to try and swindle credit card information out of elderly people.

The torrent of abuse was worse than anything I ever received during my experience doing telemarketing. Then they hung up.

I get, on average, five or six calls like that a week. And I am on the national Do Not Call List (which works great, except for these boiler room scams).

Sometimes they are viruses, sometimes phone sellers, sometimes they are doing "no obligation" surveys (which quickly turn into social engineering).

Six times a week, on average. Usually during the day if I am home, sometimes at dinner time. But that suggests to me they are targeting the vulnerable.

It's no wonder an Indian telemarketer thinks Australians are racist.

I haven't dealt with an Inbound Telecentre for a long time. Because they just could not get over the language barrier, and they seem to have all been brought back home.

I'm also curious about where all these Indian taxi drivers are. In my experience there's been a shift over the past 10 years to Syrian/Persian/Kurdish and Somali/Sudanese immigrants, more often than not.

And, the two most racist diatribes I got from my drivers were an English immigrant, who did not have nice things to say about his darker hued co-drivers (and that was before the rape story here) and a Kurdish man, who was not disposed to his fellow Turkish or Iraqi immigrants, sharing these, our boundless plains.

Is Australia drunk, dumb and racist? Of course it is. Just look at the 'Fuck Off We're Full' stickers. Or the rise of One Australia/Howard & his immigant policies.

Are Australians dumb and racist? Generally no more than anyone else is anywhere. But we're an island in the middle of nowhere (size doesn't matter) with diverse populations in living in small pockets, and a pretty good record of multiculturalism for most of the past 50 years.

You're going to find a lot of casual racism around, because part of the 'vibe of the place' is like that. But it's hollow. It usually means nothing, because it isn't meant seriously, usually.

It's not like we have a recent history of race riots or the like, unlike the UK and US.
posted by Mezentian at 6:58 PM on May 29, 2012


I spoke to a lovely Asian woman today about spray paint at the Home Depot in Anaheim. She was very helpful. She seemed to know instinctively that when someone calls me "Mr. Mike", I get a self-important fuzzy feeling. The end.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:06 PM on May 29, 2012


Joe Hildebrand is the one who doubled-down with a 'retarded' joke after the ABC's disability advocate Stella Young wrote a really restrained post about Hildebrand calling airport staff mentally handicapped: Disability is not a cute little joke. You can see his response to it in the bold update at the end of the post, before the comments.

This was just a few months ago. I won't be watching or reading anything he's had a hand in.
posted by harriet vane at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have faced more racist remarks and comments from those who come from a similar background as myself (brown immigrants) than I have from any dumb, drunk white racists. However, the racist comments and actions from Anglo Aussies have left me feeling vastly more threatened and fearful and shaken up. Overall though, I don't even find the casual racism any more common than it is in other countries.

So, yay team?
posted by liquorice at 9:44 PM on May 29, 2012


I have faced more racist remarks and comments from those who come from a similar background as myself (brown immigrants) than I have from any dumb, drunk white racists.

I'm just curious - have these been directed at you? I ask because my subcontinental and Asian friends often use racial slurs amongst themselves in a non-serious, ironic manner - reclaiming the terms, I suppose. For example, I have some Sri Lankan friends that refer to themselves as 'curries'. I'm sure they would be offended if an Anglo-Aussie called them' curry munchers'.

I presume that's not what you're talking about here.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:17 AM on May 30, 2012


Yes and no. They're directed at me when I'm out with my non-brown partner or when I'm at the cricket in an Australian jersey, but also just the casual racism about other racial groups I hear often amongst older family friends generally about Australians of African or other Asian descent.
posted by liquorice at 12:23 AM on May 30, 2012


I have some Sri Lankan friends that refer to themselves as 'curries'. I'm sure they would be offended if an Anglo-Aussie called them' curry munchers'.

I presume that's not what you're talking about here.


Ninja say what?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:57 AM on May 30, 2012


trailer here
That's only an 18 second thing, which doesn't include anything NSFW.
posted by delmoi at 11:55 AM on May 30, 2012


and then a few days after the problem of economic injustice in the taxi laws was discussed on metafilter...
posted by compound eye at 12:50 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


taxi laws what, meant taxi industry...
posted by compound eye at 12:50 AM on May 31, 2012


The other night I was walking to the laundromat and I saw a very drunk woman being kicked out of a taxi, god only knows why. As the taxi driver drove off, she screamed obscenities at him, then tried to forcibly yank open the door of the taxi that happened to have been driving behind the first one while alternating yelling NOOO with racial epithets. When that taxi drove off, she started bashing and practically climbing the bonnet of a third taxi that had the misfortune to be shortly behind the first two. That driver eventually let her in, I thought at the time that he probably thought it was the best way to avoid somebody actually getting killed, but reading all this makes me think maybe he really was just that desperate for a fare. Brave guy, either way.

I guess what I'm saying is, Melbourne taxi driver is a shitty, shitty job. I wouldn't want to do it. Massive respect to those that do.
posted by lwb at 7:03 AM on May 31, 2012


A family friend of mine is a senior exec at one of Melbourne's largest taxi companies. He told me that every Saturday and Sunday morning the first thing he does after he wakes up is check his Blackberry to find out how many taxi drivers were assaulted the previous night.
posted by awfurby at 3:08 PM on May 31, 2012


Ninja say what?

Oh, ubu, that was awesome. And exactly what I was talking about. Especially the bit at the end, with the brown dude coming in, and everyone is unsure about whether he counts as 'Asian' or not.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:34 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes and no. They're directed at me when I'm out with my non-brown partner or when I'm at the cricket in an Australian jersey, but also just the casual racism about other racial groups I hear often amongst older family friends generally about Australians of African or other Asian descent.

Yeah, these kinds of debates usually end up glossing over the fact that racism is multi-directional, and that it is not the exclusive domain of the ethnic/cultural majority.

But that really sucks, liquorice. In the last ten years, I've haven't caught flack for having a non-brown girlfriend in any forum. But then again, we don't really go to sporting matches a lot either.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:42 PM on May 31, 2012


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