All over one guy getting beat up, what a bunch of pussies
December 11, 2005 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: White people riot in Sydney, Australia They're upset that a lifeguard or something got beat up by a bunch of 'middle eastern looking' people.
posted by delmoi (163 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Ridiculous.
posted by adzm at 11:20 AM on December 11, 2005


For the record, what the hell is a "wog"? I've heard this racial epithet on British TV, but as an American, I've never heard it before.
posted by unreason at 11:23 AM on December 11, 2005


Ridiculous indeed? But isn't that how most riots get started. Take crowd, add alcohol. and then a street brawl gets out of hand. Then talking heads rush in to make a pointless melee into something with "higher meaning," so they can exploit it to their own ends. This is nothing new.
posted by jonmc at 11:24 AM on December 11, 2005


For the record, what the hell is a "wog"?

It's a British/Australian epithet for Arabs/Indians/Pakistanis, similar to "dothead," in the US.
posted by jonmc at 11:25 AM on December 11, 2005


These hoodlums should be exiled to an island in the middle of the ocean to start a society amongst themselves...no, wait...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:27 AM on December 11, 2005


Someone once told me that Australia is like the American South, except only they have kangaroos.
posted by j-urb at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2005


How dare those white people riot? Everyone knows rioting's only for people of color!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:35 AM on December 11, 2005


Thanks for speaking on behalf of us Brits, jonmc, but that isn't close to any use of the term wog I've come across. At urban dictionary check definition three for what I guess is closiest to common Australian use, and definition four for what is closest to British use. It's a really horrible term, but one I've never heard applied to "Arabs/Indians/Pakistanis".
posted by nthdegx at 11:39 AM on December 11, 2005


Thanks for speaking on behalf of us Brits, jonmc, but that isn't close to any use of the term wog I've come across. At urban dictionary check definition three for what I guess is closiest to common Australian use, and definition four for what is closest to British use. It's a really horrible term, but one I've never heard applied to "Arabs/Indians/Pakistanis".
posted by nthdegx at 11:39 AM on December 11, 2005


Thanks for speaking on behalf of us Brits, jonmc, but that isn't close to any use of the term wog I've come across. At urban dictionary check definition three for what I guess is closiest to common Australian use, and definition four for what is closest to British use. It's a really horrible term, but one I've never heard applied to "Arabs/Indians/Pakistanis".
posted by nthdegx at 11:39 AM on December 11, 2005


Apologies... I swear to God I pressed the button once.
posted by nthdegx at 11:39 AM on December 11, 2005


'wog' applies more to italians/greeks than it does to arabs/indians/pakistanis. i've never been to the american south, so can't dispute the comparison. but i'd feel a comparison to the whole of the states would be just as apt. the epidemic of dumb that's arisen in the last four or five years hasn't been confined only to the u.s.
posted by hayeled at 11:40 AM on December 11, 2005


Ok, now which of these three comments do I check?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:40 AM on December 11, 2005


if it is worth saying once it worth saying thrice :)
posted by edgeways at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2005


similar to "dothead," in the US.

No, no, no. I think the American equivalent to wog (which I believe is an acronym for "worthy oriental gentleman" but it doesn't appear as such in the Urban Disctionary) is "Eurotrash": people from impoverished, formerly communist European countries that wear flashy clothes, gaudy jewelry and drive showy cars.
posted by psmealey at 11:51 AM on December 11, 2005


what is a wog?

The current generation of wogs has seen a great deal of change take place in the way the word is used. Over the past 20 years our community has evolved and wogs have embraced the word. Simultaneously the word's creators, anglo australia, continued to use it and so it's meaning and the people it was applied to also evolved.

Wogs have a diverse range of views on who has the right to call themselves a wog, but country of origin is considered very important, the need to be "European" is a commonly held requrement for membership. Anglo Australia's definition of a wog isn't as preoccupied with country of origin as we are ourselves. An Anglo Australian (in fact any person) would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a Greek, Italian, Turk or Leb based solely on their appearance.

A wog, as seen through Anglo-Australian eyes, is a word applied to migrants and their children who come from non-english speaking backgrounds, and are not "asian". In fact even that is over analysing the decision that is made before deciding whether to call somebody a wog. More honestly being labelled a wog is simply determined based on a person's appearance, accent and to some extent habits.

posted by funambulist at 11:52 AM on December 11, 2005


"What has been occurring on some fronts is that people of Middle Eastern backgrounds that have been seen in the Cronulla area – a swarm of the crowd has approached these people with vile abuse, in the most un-Australian way," Mr Goodwin said.

Yeah, right. Abusing foreigners and ethnic minorities is about as un-Australian as a Ken Done painting of the Opera House.

Others in the crowd, carrying Australian flags and dressed in Australian shirts, yelled "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ... Oi, Oi, Oi".

Of course they were, silly journalist. We know the rioters were Australian, so that whole sentence is about as redundant as, 'The crowd appeared to be mostly bipedal mammals with two eyes, on average, positioned on the front of their heads.'
posted by Soulfather at 12:00 PM on December 11, 2005


wog is a pejorative term for any non-white person; it's a shortened form of "golliwog" - golliwogs being dolls that were caricatures of black Africans.

Most British bigots would agree with the sentiment that "the wogs begin at Calais", however. (Calais is the French port that is closest non-British place to England). Use of "wog" as a term for southern Europeans is a bit like the use of "guinea" for Italian-Americans. It's insulting because the insinuation is that the insultee is not even white.
posted by nowonmai at 12:01 PM on December 11, 2005


I used to live in Sydney for awhile, but never was a permanent resident. While I was there, Cronulla had a reputation for being a beach of good-ole-boys - hard-drinking, close-minded, violent, and very insular. There is some sort of tattoo that they all have, the surfers there. I was once waiting for a bus in downtown Sydney, on my way back to Coogie, and a very drunk Cronullan tried to pick a fight with me, asking me whether or not I was fag. I told him I wasn't and he went on and on, telling me all of the bones he would have broken had I told him that I was. They were quite a bunch. To those that are Sydney residents: does it surprise you that this happened? Is this way out of the ordinary?
posted by billysumday at 12:03 PM on December 11, 2005


funambulist has it. 'Wog' is definitely used for people from a non-Anglo European background, who make up a much larger part of Australia's population than Arabs/Indians/Pakistanis. 'Asian' here usually means South East Asian, too, rather than Indian/Arabic people. And 'skips' are people from an Anglo background.
posted by andraste at 12:05 PM on December 11, 2005


It's insulting because the insinuation is that the insultee is not even white.

Careful now...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:09 PM on December 11, 2005


white people riot like this, brown people riot like this.
posted by keswick at 12:22 PM on December 11, 2005


Hmm, One of the guys I work with is Australian, and I was shocked to find out that over there he wasn't 'white'. He looked pretty white to me, but his family is Greek or something.

I also learned that 'flip' is the racial epithet for white Anglo in Australia.
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on December 11, 2005


These hoodlums should be exiled to an island in the middle of the ocean to start a society amongst themselves...no, wait...

Iocaine comes from Australia, as everyone knows. And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals.
posted by sacrilicious at 12:27 PM on December 11, 2005


Early scuffle of the coming Great 21st Century Holy Wars.
posted by HTuttle at 12:28 PM on December 11, 2005


There are only two races in the world of humans: rich and other.
posted by yossarian1 at 12:28 PM on December 11, 2005


He's Greek Australian? Is that like African American? "White" is pretty racist. I mean, a lot of groups get lumped into white. I guess asian is the same. ...and black. "Race" is pretty racist now that I think about it. hmmm. oh, off topic. sorry.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:29 PM on December 11, 2005


Aren't people getting mixed up with 'wop' in their description of 'wog'?

Wog is someone who is not white.
Wop is someone who is southern European, Italian or Greek.

Not that I'm an expert on racial slurs.
posted by Navek Rednam at 12:32 PM on December 11, 2005


You have to put these incidents in the context of what's been happening in Australia recently. They are one of the few major supporters of the war in Iraq and confirmed foes of Osama Bin Laden who have not yet had a major terrorist event on their soil. For several years, there has been almost weekly press about the imminence of a terrorist attack on a popular Sydney target. Continuing raids reveal possible terrorist plots and arrests are made monthly of radical Muslims preaching hate. The Prime Minister constantly speaks of an "inevitable" terrorist event. Security around major sporting events is unusually tight. The fear is prevalent.

For many living in a constant state of fear and suspicion is worse than being effected by a catastrophe. That goes for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
posted by DirtyCreature at 12:34 PM on December 11, 2005


Err, I know people don't really mean any harm by it and don't realise what the underlying assumption is, but it's still there... and taking for granted that that being considered 'white' even if you really aren't is some sort of privileged status that was finally awarded to Greeks or Italians etc. is something that pisses me right off.
posted by funambulist at 12:37 PM on December 11, 2005


White Australia.
posted by dhartung at 12:40 PM on December 11, 2005


"Not that I'm an expert on racial slurs"

Obviously, as 'wop' traditionally is only an insult for Italians, not southern Europeans.
posted by dgaicun at 12:40 PM on December 11, 2005


Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species... Race?
posted by tomplus2 at 12:41 PM on December 11, 2005


> similar to "dothead," in the US.

That's common? I've never heard it before.
posted by pracowity at 12:41 PM on December 11, 2005


if it is worth saying once it worth saying thrice :)
posted by edgeways at 7:42 PM GMT on December 11


"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What i tell you three times is true."

- The Hunting Of The Snark by Lewis Carroll
posted by kaemaril at 12:48 PM on December 11, 2005


Yeah! Australia is for whites only! You people go back where you came from!

Oh, wait a second...
posted by fungible at 12:51 PM on December 11, 2005


No, no, no. I think the American equivalent to wog (which I believe is an acronym for "worthy oriental gentleman" but it doesn't appear as such in the Urban Disctionary) is "Eurotrash": people from impoverished, formerly communist European countries that wear flashy clothes, gaudy jewelry and drive showy cars.

Not that it's on-topic, but that is not at all what 'Eurotrash' means.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 12:53 PM on December 11, 2005


Exactly, and 'wop' isn't an acronym for anything.
posted by dgaicun at 12:56 PM on December 11, 2005


Wog, all of the above. Looks like a job for the Racial Slur Database.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:57 PM on December 11, 2005


Quick, what's the difference between Australia and yoghurt?
.
.
.
.
.
.
Yoghurt has culture.
posted by dvdgee at 12:58 PM on December 11, 2005


Wha? I thought "wop" is an acronym that comes from "without passport".
posted by billysumday at 12:58 PM on December 11, 2005


Here's 'Eurotrash' from dictionary.com
Here's 'Eurotrash' from Urban dictionary

Here's 'wop' from dictionary.com
Here's the etymology of 'wop'
posted by dgaicun at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2005


Not that it's on-topic, but that is not at all what 'Eurotrash' means.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 3:53 PM EST on December 11 [!]


Yeah. For one thing, it refers to people from Western Europe, not Eastern. It usually refers to the lower class Europeans of the sort that take package vacations to Florida.
posted by unreason at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2005


That's not all what Eurotrash means. Oh, on preview, IshmaelGraves said that already.
posted by keijo at 1:04 PM on December 11, 2005


Ok so is it lower class Europeans or rich socialists and snobs?

Someone please enlighten me - when I hear Eurotrash I think Antoine and naked Germans, not slurs, so I'm clueless here :)
posted by funambulist at 1:08 PM on December 11, 2005


... rich socialites (from the dictionary.com definition), not socialists, heh...

Though of course there are rich socialists too.
posted by funambulist at 1:10 PM on December 11, 2005


It usually refers to the lower class Europeans of the sort that take package vacations to Florida.
posted by unreason at 4:01 PM EST on December 11 [!]


I'm sorry, I just realized I'm getting my xenophobic slurs mixed up. Eurotrash basically means pretentious Western European yuppies.
posted by unreason at 1:11 PM on December 11, 2005


This is why undermoderated, unpersonalisable internet communities don't work. People don't have time to read a bunch of pseudo-teens discussing the term "wog" when they come here to discuss some riots in Sydney. 60% of all the posts as of the time I write this are discussing the word "wog". Why must the big boys always have to listen to the kiddies' chatter when they want to listen to the news?
posted by DirtyCreature at 1:12 PM on December 11, 2005


Wow, dgaicun. A link to a random guy on the internet! He must know what he's talking about!
posted by billysumday at 1:12 PM on December 11, 2005


People don't have time to read a bunch of pseudo-teens discussing the term "wog"

You apparently do, given that you read the posts.
posted by unreason at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2005


. . . means pretentious Western European yuppies

Yes.

"Wow, dgaicun. A link to a random guy on the internet! He must know what he's talking about!"

What a surprise, no link of your own, just senseless arrogant bullshit. The online etymology dictionary provides the same explanation.
posted by dgaicun at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2005


DirtyCreature, then practice what you preach and stop discussing the discussion over the word "wog", you're meta-wasting your own time, no?
posted by funambulist at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2005


I wouldn't say it means yuppies, for me it really means middle class people travelling to Florida as well. But I guess it depends on where you come from and how much you have watched the UK TV series "Eurotrash".
posted by keijo at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2005


MetaFilter: Meta-wasting your own time
posted by keijo at 1:20 PM on December 11, 2005


Before I say anything else, why oh why would any educated person fall for those silly made-up acronyms? WOP comes from "without passport"? WOG is "worthy oriental gentleman"? That's just ridiculous. For your own self-respect, please assume all such acronyms are jokes. It's embarrassing.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


Damn think hard think hard think hard I must come up with something new new and impressive new new and must seem racist grrr what what what what could I say mmhh mmhhh mhhh mhhh nigger wigger rigger pigger zigger ligger ?

OH....Xenophobophile !

You bunch of Xenophobophiles ! HP blue and yellow texted Xenophobophiles !
posted by elpapacito at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2005


Is it senseless arrogant bullshit? Really? Honestly? To not want links to random editorializing?

Ok, you win. You know a fact. A fact!
posted by billysumday at 1:22 PM on December 11, 2005


DirtyCreature you have presumably read the news in the FPP, now what do you hope to accomplish by discussing these riots?
posted by Joeforking at 1:26 PM on December 11, 2005


"Wog" in Australia means, as some people have said, Italians, Greeks etc.

The commercial media have played a very shameful part in all of this.

There was a text-message campaign where hundreds of people got a message saying "Wogs and lebs out! Take back the shire!", and it has been shown on the local news nearly every night this week. No wonder 5,000 people turned out.

I have no idea why the original incident happened, but it's certain that there was a fist fight between some life-savers and some "people who looked middle-eastern". In the media, it seems that the PWLM-E just appeared on the beach and started swinging, though that's a little hard to believe. I bet if you look into it, the lifesavers were protecting "their" women from the amorous attentions of the non-locals.

The police have a lot to answer for too.

The local chief of police has said that the people attacked were "Australian born" as if it's wrong to attack arabs born here, but open season on immigrants.

They also closed the pubs, but not until 5.30PM. Just when people might have drunk themselves into a peaceful stupor they turned off the supply.

Oh, and this isn't being reported much, I don't know why, but the gang of 5,000 "white" people attacked three people. One grown man and two teenage girls. That literally makes me sick.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:28 PM on December 11, 2005


heh... i've noticed racism in america is getting plain lazy. some idiot called me a "cracker" the other day and just failed to notice i'm brown. i would have much preferred dune-coon, dothead or towel-head.

honestly though, i don't see how this is striking or even NEWS...
posted by Doorstop at 1:29 PM on December 11, 2005


Is it senseless arrogant bullshit? Really? Honestly? To not want links to random editorializing?

Yes, brow-beating me for attempting to source my positions, while you don't even bother to contradict me with sources of your own (while hewing to a traditionally suspect acronym theory of the origin of a word), was a needless and belligerent display of arrogance.
posted by dgaicun at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2005


Sorry about the mistranslation, but that's how I'd heard the word used. My bad.
posted by jonmc at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2005


were protecting "their" women from the amorous attentions of the non-locals.

Where's the white wimen at !
posted by elpapacito at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2005


All I want is a system where I get to choose whose opinions I get to read and the rest have a n adjustable random probability of making it on to my radar screen. For those who haven't worked it out yet :

FIRST LAW OF INTERNET COMMUNITIES : Internet communities are populated by those who have the most time to waste. (Teens, housewives, support staff, junior programmers, undergrads etc)

Obligatory on-topic link : Try here for video and more information. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200512/s1528637.htm
posted by DirtyCreature at 1:33 PM on December 11, 2005


I am depressed and dismayed by these riots. What is not that uncommon really - differing youth cultures having turf wars over different chunks of a city has taken on racial overtones and got out of hand.

Interesting the different level of security services attention taken against a peaceful protester against Halliburton Scott Parkin versus them knowing in advance about this being plotted via SMS for a week.

As for wog its one of those terms that has been appropriated by its targets and now is used in a pretty friendly way (in context)..
see www.wog.com.au
posted by zog at 1:38 PM on December 11, 2005


I don't come here to discuss riots in Sydney. This is Metafilter, a lot of people come here to discuss cool links and bits of knowledge that they've found.

In that context, perhaps you can understand why analysing the etymology and precise meaning of racial slurs in different countries is more interesting than a bit of news that we could get from the newspaper tomorrow morning.

I notice that although you don't have time to read what a bunch of psuedo-teens have to write, you do have time to tell us what 'People' and the 'big boys' have time for and want to see. For some values of 'People', Newsfilter isn't it.

Personally, I don't mind newsfilter, especially not when there are comments from people such as yourself who are familiar with the context of the situation. But if some people are more interested in discussing regional differences in ethnic slurs, then that's also fine with me. And if you don't like 'undermoderated, unpersonalisable internet communities' then you are free to fuck off and find an internet community that does work for you.
posted by atrazine at 1:39 PM on December 11, 2005


how have they gotten out of hand? they're nothing new and they haven't grown as much as they have shrunk in the past decade. this idiocy isn't news, its someone getting uppity cuz they're seeing something they're not regularly exposed to. go live in a city for a few years, THEN tell me whether this is news.
posted by Doorstop at 1:41 PM on December 11, 2005


What is not that uncommon really - differing youth cultures having turf wars over different chunks of a city has taken on racial overtones

I can't speak for Australia, but in the US, urban "turf," wars have always had a racial or ethnic component to them. My Uncle Lenny grew up in East Harlem back when it was a racially mixed (Black, Italian, Puerto Rican) working-class area. He was a little guy, and one day his freshman year, he accidentaly bumped into a black kid bigger than him and knocked over his milk carton. "Pick that up," the kid said. My uncle knew that if he did, his ass was grass on the street, so he slammed the guy in the neck with his tray and they fought it out. These days, due to racial polarization, and weapons proliferation and a swarm of opportunists that incident could've a) become a riot, or b) been branded a racial incident or hate crime rather than simple schoolyard bullshit. Just a theory. I don't know how well it extrapolates to this current incident.
posted by jonmc at 1:46 PM on December 11, 2005


Racial slurs are interesting. I myself have been called cracker, gaijin, and blondie to my face on numerous occasions. It's refreshing to realize frome time to time that I'm not part of someone's inner circle, that I might be an outsider in a certain context.
posted by fraxil at 1:47 PM on December 11, 2005


dgaicun, fwiw, I enjoyed reading that last link.

Doorstop: I don't know, I've never seen 5,000 organised people attacking 3, I don't think it's that ordinary, do you? Or perhaps racist nationalism should be brushed off like it didn't matter?
posted by funambulist at 1:51 PM on December 11, 2005


delmoi: I haven't ever heard the term 'flip' for White looking Australian. The one I've heard is 'Skip'. The term derives from 'Skippy' the Bush Kanagaroo which was a show about a kangaroo that performed Lassie like acts. The Wikipedia Article about it.

Just to put Australia's ethnic makeup into context, one in four Australians was born outside Australia which is one of the highest percentages in the world.

That thing about the Australia being like the South with Kangaroos is surprising. I've lived in the South and in Australia and I don't think Australia is much like the South. Australia is a very outward looking place that is very interested about how the rest of the world sees it. Australian seems more like Canada with sunshine and good weather but not enough water. Like Canada, where most people live within two hundred or so miles of the US border, most Australians live within two hundred or so miles of the coast.
posted by sien at 2:02 PM on December 11, 2005


A lot of people dissing on Australia and Australians in this thread.

That's fine. We probably fucking deserve it. A lot of things have gone on in the last few years that have made me think to myself "I should probably blow this joint and head to New Zealand or Canada", but this is the frist thing that has made me absolutely ashamed to be Australian, ashamed to live on the same continent as these sick, vile fuckers. Here's hoping the police go through the video and photographic evidence and make more arrests.

Worried about Lebanese coming to your suburb and "disresepcting women"? Respond by chasing a muslim woman into a toilet block and then throwing rocks at the ambulance that comes to rescue her.

Complain that Lebanese "only fight in gangs, never willing to fight one-on-one"? Show up with 5,000 drink arseholes to take them on.

Worried that Lebanese "disrespect the beach"? Come and spend the night smashing car windows at the beach to retaliate.

Nothing more to say. Except, to stick off-topic, wog is a diverse term. It can mean:

(a) Greek / Italian
(b) Dark-skinned European
(c) Same as (b) but including Middle-Eastern
(d) Anyone who's not Anglo-Australian (although I doubt anyone would ever apply the term to Aboriginies)

The first version is the one I'm most familiar with. But I've also heard the term used to refer to asians and africans, so it can be as broad a brush as you like.
posted by Jimbob at 2:08 PM on December 11, 2005


Races, scientifically speaking, do not exist. We all interbreed with each other, always have, and we love it too, since breeding with people as genetically different from us as possible tends to creates stronger offspring.

So by definition, the idea of a 'race' is local, subjective, and ill-defined, so it's hardly surprising that the same goes for the racial slurs.

Some people love fights. If they didn't have foreigners to pick on, they'd start a fight with the people from the next village, or someone from their own families. Stupidity, aggression, and alcohol are the cause of these behaviors, more so than racism, I think. Education might help.
posted by cleardawn at 2:09 PM on December 11, 2005


I should probably blow this joint and head to New Zealand or Canada

New Zealand? I don't think so. They have race problems of their own.
posted by DirtyCreature at 2:16 PM on December 11, 2005


Races, scientifically speaking, do exist, which is why biologists use it in their taxonomy.

Please don't drag your political views into biology.
posted by dgaicun at 2:23 PM on December 11, 2005


I've lived in both Australia and the Southern U.S., and the first similarity that leaps to mind is that the racism is more overt in both places than it is in, say, the Northern U.S. It seems to me that racism is still more institutionalized and less openly contested in Australia than in the U.S. - of course, most of my time there was spent working with Aboriginal people in the Central Desert, so my perspective may have been a bit wonky.
posted by Uccellina at 2:25 PM on December 11, 2005


I bet if you look into it, the lifesavers were protecting "their" women from the amorous attentions of the non-locals. No AmbroseChapel they weren't. Youth had been playing soccer up on the beach amongst the crowds sitting and sunbaking. People had complained and the lifesavers told them to stop playing soccer. They got beaten up for this. So 'payback' would have been the spark that lit this fuse. Not that this 'amorous attentions' of which you speak wouldn't have had a part to play in it inasmuch as it is a very in-your-face sort of 'amorous attention' that is a real goad to delicate young men's sensibilities.
posted by tellurian at 2:28 PM on December 11, 2005


I'm with Jimbob on this (though not thinking about Canada, too close to you know where).

Sydney has serious issues, the settlement patterns have been more concentrated and divisive. There are ethnic enclaves unlike in other cities And there are at least 5 000 fuckwits in any big city with the ability to send texts to each other. It was a hot day, there was too much grog, a mob mentality kicked in. The police will deal with it. Now the talk-back outrage will be the biggest hypocrisy - having whipped up a storm, they'll now turn on the dickheads who listened to their message.

Just on wog-dom, it's pretty bloody simple. Caucasians from the mediterranean and middle east. OK? Italians through to Iranians and everyone one in between, anyone basically who arrived from 1945 - 1975 without speaking da lingo.

It's not a very strong insult. My wife's a wog, she uses the term herself.

Origiginally I was led to believe it was a 'western oriental gentleman', but that's was a long time ago and is irrelevant.
posted by wilful at 2:30 PM on December 11, 2005


taking for granted that that being considered 'white' even if you really aren't is some sort of privileged status that was finally awarded to Greeks or Italians etc. is something that pisses me right off.
posted by funambulist at 3:37 PM EST on December 11 [!]


You could see how the 'whiteness' matters from a non-bigoted standpoint if it's seen as a sign of 'who's us, who's them' rather than 'who's special, who's not'...
posted by Firas at 2:34 PM on December 11, 2005


Not that xenophobia isn't bigoted to start with, just that pointing out that (say) Greeks and Italians are white isn't an endorsement of racism.
posted by Firas at 2:37 PM on December 11, 2005


The fallout continued overnight.
posted by wilful at 2:38 PM on December 11, 2005


Come on, people. There's hyperbole, and then there's hyperbole, and I'm pretty sure five thousand against three is on the italicized side of that line.

Unless we're talking about five thousand five-year-olds, and then it becomes a little more plausible, but only just a little.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:58 PM on December 11, 2005


There's hyperbole, and then there's hyperbole, and I'm pretty sure five thousand against three is on the italicized side of that line.

Well five-thousand turned up, the other side of the equation was down to how many middle-eastern looking people they happened to find along the way.
posted by Jimbob at 3:02 PM on December 11, 2005


Everyone's fighting over the racial epithets, yet no one has mentionned the "pussies" in the page title.
posted by arcticwoman at 3:05 PM on December 11, 2005


Everyone's fighting over the racial epithets, yet no one has mentionned the "pussies" in the page title.

I don't think there's any argument about that. They were as cowardly as baby kittens. Enough said.
posted by Jimbob at 3:07 PM on December 11, 2005


arcticwoman, comparing effeminateness to gutlessness is something men and women of all stripes do all the time. Not to say that it's logically ok, just that it doesn't trip the outrage-meter usually.
posted by Firas at 3:09 PM on December 11, 2005


Form the Sydney Morning Herald: By last night, youths of Middle Eastern background were out for revenge, which included vandalising more than 100 cars at Maroubra. This isn't going to go away anytime soon.
As an aside, Metafilter was given a plug in the weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald [Icon - printed version only] again (that's twice in six weeks). Any staff from the SMH here running a recruitment drive?
posted by tellurian at 3:18 PM on December 11, 2005


I always figured "eurotrash" simply meant White trash but born in Europe, still having an accent.
posted by delmoi at 3:47 PM on December 11, 2005


dgaicun: Races, scientifically speaking, do exist, which is why biologists use it in their taxonomy

Ugh. I don't want to participate in that argument again, but suffice it to say that the subject is subject to some considerable debate.
posted by Popular Ethics at 3:49 PM on December 11, 2005


Ugh, Popular Ethics, I think you're misinterpreting things here.
Kate Durrant, a postdoctoral fellow with the National Zoo's Genetics Lab, focused her work on one of the eight races of Australian magpie, the white-backed magpie, which inhabits the southeastern portion of Australia.

She determined the social and genetic mating system of this race and compared it to that of another race, the western (or varied) magpie, which lives in western Australia.

There are several races of the magpie in its native Australia but only two, the black-backed form (race: tibicen) and the white-backed form (race: hypoleuca) appear in New Zealand.

posted by Jimbob at 4:01 PM on December 11, 2005


Popular Ethics, not really. I know some scientists put on a show, but the facts remain:

1) Biologists have been polled, and virtually all of the accept 'race' as a biological classification.

2) Furthermore the grand majority of them accept that the human species is no "special" exception.

3) Furthermore, the higher you go up in professional eminence the less controversial it becomes (i.e. community college professors are more likely to say there are no races, than e.g. University professors.)

4) Furthermore, when you look at the actual scientific literature (instead of polemics or popular magazines), race is widely used as would be expected from biologists own affirmations. This goes for plant, animal, and human research.

5) Arguments against race are clearly fallacious (i.e. more variation in than between; as if that means a damn thing) or irrelevant (races aren't species therefore they don't exist).

6) Arguments against races are always transparently nested within some allegedly humanitarian "social protest", as evidenced by cleardawn even bringing it up in this thread. This can't be said for the countless uses of race in biology journals.

So I would say the issue is pretty clear-cut.
posted by dgaicun at 4:13 PM on December 11, 2005


jimbob. there is one human race. please don't be a dick.
posted by rodney stewart at 4:14 PM on December 11, 2005


Jimbob: Hey! Kittens aren't cowards! Small and breakable, mebbe, but if you've ever seen a kitten leap upon the back of a rotty, well.. can't call THAT pussy pussy! ;)
posted by coriolisdave at 4:18 PM on December 11, 2005


I HATE xenophobia. There should be a law against it. Better yet we should drive all the xenophobian's from our midst and into the sea! The bastards! Who's with me?
posted by tkchrist at 4:18 PM on December 11, 2005


Sorry, wasn't trying to be a dick - a comment was made that race is an accepted taxonomical term. Popular Ethics seemed to interpret this as a comment on bioloigical treatment of human races and disagreed, and I was just pointing out examples of some acceptable taxonomic uses of the term, meaning something close to "sub-species", in some taxa.
posted by Jimbob at 4:19 PM on December 11, 2005


Terribly embarrassing. I turned off the news after a minute. I live very close to Cronulla.

Mob mentality combined with alcohol. Oy.
posted by peacay at 4:27 PM on December 11, 2005


Actually, on-topic, I heard a comment on the news this morning referring to these riots as an outpouring of patriotism. I'd just like to say, from the bottom of my heart: That's not fucking patriotism, and it insults any of the true patriots (ANZACs, I'm lookin' at you) who died under that moniker.

This was racism, yobbism, hooliganism, anything but patriotism.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:27 PM on December 11, 2005


jimbob. there is one human race. please don't be a dick.

No, actually you're being a dick. Ernst Mayr is one of the most eminent evolutionists of this century. He formulated the species concept and the subspecies concept most preferred by working biologists today. Here is his commentary from 2002, very much in disagreement with your statement.

So the man who scientifically defined species and race (a definition used by the EPA), says there is more than "one human race".
posted by dgaicun at 4:33 PM on December 11, 2005


the only 'sub-species' of human beings that i'm aware of are gorillas, apes and chimpanzees. a persons continent of origin does not nor ever has equated with the 'race' or 'sub-species' tag.

it's simply another crappy biblical term that aussies and yanks have come to believe as suited as a acceptable way of classifying human beings. it's total and utter bollocks and shows you haven't travelled much.
posted by rodney stewart at 4:43 PM on December 11, 2005


dgaicun, no shit, eh? What's the point? And what does the EPA have to do with anything? That's just weird.
posted by snsranch at 4:43 PM on December 11, 2005


the only 'sub-species' of human beings that i'm aware of are gorillas, apes and chimpanzees.

Those are different species!

a persons continent of origin does not nor ever has equated with the 'race' or 'sub-species' tag.

Which of course was contradicted by my link, someone who would have more scientific authority on the subject than any other single person. Polls of biologists also belie your ignorant assertions.

dgaicun, no shit, eh? What's the point? And what does the EPA have to do with anything?

Different races of animals are protected under the same scientififcally accepted use of race which tells us there is more than "one race" of human beings.
posted by dgaicun at 4:51 PM on December 11, 2005


the only 'sub-species' of human beings that i'm aware of are gorillas, apes and chimpanzees.

That wasn't a very smart comment.

Gorillas, apes and chimpanzees aren't different subspecies from humans. They aren't even just different species. They're in a different genus entirely.

Homo sapiens: Human
Pan troglodytes: Chimpanzee
Gorilla gorilla: One guess...
posted by Jimbob at 4:54 PM on December 11, 2005


This is getting way OT. Lets get back to talking about the drunken bogans.
posted by Jimbob at 4:55 PM on December 11, 2005


This conversation is moronic. Clearly scientifically illiterate people are trying to misuse biological terms for sociological ends.

There are races, they do exist, they are scientifically valid to study.

Which says nothing about whether racism is OK or not, OK?
posted by wilful at 4:58 PM on December 11, 2005


On a more serious note, I've been worried that something like this might happen. I remember after 9/11 all of my Arab liquor store buddies suddenly started acting strangely. It was as if every customer was a potential threat to them, like, "Oh shit, this guy is pissed at arabs."

I really have great empathy for those guys. Many of them are true friends too. If I needed help they would be there for me. Period. And I would for them too.

Spread the word folks, the terrorst element is just that, a very small minority element that does not at all represent Arab Culture or the Middle East.

On Preview, you are all humans, start acting like it!
posted by snsranch at 4:59 PM on December 11, 2005


snsranch, the scary thing is, they are.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on December 11, 2005


hey jimbob. meet the primate family
posted by rodney stewart at 5:16 PM on December 11, 2005


This thread is what would happen if MeFites got drunk and went down to the beach to start a riot. Someone would start a racist chant, and then someone else would gently chime in remarking that that particular racist slur was not wholly appropriate given the context. An earnest discussion would ensue. Wikipedia would be consulted. Languagehat would be called. Hours would pass. The police would look on, baffled.

Myself, I'd like a clear definition of 'bogan' Jimbob.
posted by Ritchie at 5:22 PM on December 11, 2005


Family > Genus > Species > Sub-species

We're arguing at cross purposes. You're interested in relationships between entities. I'm interested in the correct scientific nomenclature that others insist on abusing.
posted by Jimbob at 5:22 PM on December 11, 2005


Bogan.

In fact, I probably used the term rather incorrectly. My impression of the Cronulla Cronies is that they're middle-class NIMBYs rather than salt-of-the-earth types.
posted by Jimbob at 5:25 PM on December 11, 2005


Rodney, read your own link. We're all from the order primates. Gorillas, etc. are NOT subspecies of humans. When you are talking about biology the words that you use to describe relationships actually matter.

Given that forensic anthropologists can identify a skeleton's race from examining its skull (hello, Discovery channel), I don't see how it can be argued that the races don't exist. Our bones kind of give it away. This is the same shit as trying to pretend that except for penises and vaginas, men and women are interchangeable. BEING different is not bad, it's TREATING people differently that is bad (like the news story here). It seems like somewhere along the way people lost sight of that and now it is un-PC to acknowledge any differences between anyone. Sigh.
posted by gatorae at 5:30 PM on December 11, 2005


Are Bogans a race?
posted by sien at 6:01 PM on December 11, 2005


Worried about Lebanese coming to your suburb and "disresepcting women"? Respond by chasing a muslim woman into a toilet block and then throwing rocks at the ambulance that comes to rescue her.

You're nearly there. Except, we don't know that she actually was muslim or even arabic, all we know is she had darkish skin and hair. I don't imagine the mob checked before that started beating and kicking her. She'll probably turn out to be the daughter of the president of Italy or something. Or jewish.

Two updates:

* I take back my comments about why it probably started, having heard the explanation that it started over people playing soccer. What a great way to mark Australia getting into the World Cup. I still reckon the lifeguards must have been partly to blame. There's a difference between "please stop playing soccer" and "fuck off this is our beach you lebanese cunt". I would put a million dollars on it being closer to the latter than the former.

* Independent news sources are saying that neo-nazi groups were involved, which would explain the blond, cropped-hair boys I saw on TV wrapping themselves in flags and saying "this is our country"...
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:29 PM on December 11, 2005


There's a difference between "please stop playing soccer" and "fuck off this is our beach you lebanese cunt". I would put a million dollars on it being closer to the latter than the former.

Of course we'll never know the truth, but don't go too far in hating middle Australia. While the mob were certainly a pack of fuckwits, there are plenty of yobbo racist shites (sorry t link to that woeful 'journo') amongst the lebanese community. You still do NOT bash a lifeguard who asks you to stop playing soccer, no matter how rudely he asks.
posted by wilful at 6:55 PM on December 11, 2005


You still do NOT bash a lifeguard who asks you to stop playing soccer, no matter how rudely he asks.

This whole thing will, inevitably descend into a "they said this, but they did that" shit fest, but one report I read said the lifeguard made an over-heard comment along the lines of "fucking Lebs" before the bashing occurred.

Which isn't a justification. But my understanding is the attack wasn't an immediate response to being asked to stop playing soccer.

Sydney beaches are way too crowded. There's not enough room to lay down your towel, let alone play soccer. They should come down to Adelaide and enjoy our spacious, golden beaches, and replace some of our scarpering population while they're here.
posted by Jimbob at 7:16 PM on December 11, 2005


Everything I know about wogs comes from the dialogue at the end of "The Immigrant Lad," by The Animals:
If you hang about with me mate, you know. I'll show you some places you can meet some good people, you know.

Oh, good people I've met.

What?

There's, at
[unintelligible] street. There's darkies, there's wogs, there's Egyptians, there's Arabs, there's all sorts living.

Well mate, I live and work, you know, with Irishmen, Jews, darkies, everybody mate, and after awhile, you know, you put up with it. And it doesn't seem hard to get along, along with, you know?

Eh, well, [unintelligible], the only, the only black people we see at work is, is the fellow when he comes in the pit, you know, and you can wash that off, you know. [unintelligible]

[unintelligible] get along with it.

Well, I'll tell you what, if it doesn't get better, then money's just not doing us any good at all.
posted by bigbigdog at 7:18 PM on December 11, 2005


Disclaimer: I was born in Sydney, and my brother lives in Cronulla.

This is not, as delmoi claims "all over one guy getting beat up". The Shire has developed a siege mentality over a number of years, and the locals' gripe with Lebanese ricers goes way back before this particular incident.

The inhabitants of the Shire exemplify a stereotypical "Australian" culture - surfboards, barbecues, a Sunday arvo beer at Northies, a cattle dog in your ute, Barnsey on the stereo, 2.3 children jumping over the sprinkler under the Hills hoist, safe behind a white picket fence.

The Shire seems to be predominately white; at least, it seems to me that there are far, far fewer people of Mediterranean and Asian descent around that in, say, the southern or western suburbs. There never used to be an "us" and "them" attitude, at least one defined by race - there was the Shire, and then there was everybody else in Sydney. It's a white enclave, much like Cabramatta for Vietnamese people.

Over the years, Shire residents have become concerned about an increasing number of incidents in which Lebanese ricers have disrupted the peace, particularly around Cronulla Beach. I have no idea why they started. Perhaps perfectly peaceful Lebanese visitors were hassled by locals. Perhaps less-than-innocent gangsta-wannabes saw the Shire as a symbol of a society that scorns them and thought they'd rock the boat a bit. I've seen both happen on my Sunday afternoon visits, and both make me sick.

Isolated incidents of cruising the beach, yelling insults out of the car at your enemy and having insults hurled back became more frequent. They escalated as young Lebanese men felt the need to prove something to these white guys who thought they owned the beach, and young Shire men felt the need to protect their turf.

Bashings became more common - not frequent, by any means, but enough to nag at the insular Shire's sense of wellbeing. Lebanese guys would drive into a quieter part of Cronulla, pick somebody leaving a pub or cafe, and then either start hurling insults, trying to provoke a fight, or just leap out and start wailing on them. Shire lads would respond by preemptively kicking the crap out of anybody who wasn't wearing a Billabong shirt and singing Advance Australia Fair.

I think the violence, and in particular, targetting people based purely on their race, is deplorable. I just wanted to point out that it's been simmering for years, and it won't be easy to put the lid back on this boil-over. As long as Lebanese hoons see the Shire as someplace to raid for glory and live out their "bling bling" gangsta fantasies, and as long as the residents of the Shire sees these incursions as a threat to their way of life, it'll probably continue. I suspect there'll be gunfire soon, and the victims will probably be innocent people trying to live a happy life, not the fuckheads on both sides who thrive on hate and drama.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:26 PM on December 11, 2005


Here's an eyewitness account.
posted by wilful at 7:27 PM on December 11, 2005


Commentary. From a New Zealander, but with good links.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:30 PM on December 11, 2005


this is the frist thing that has made me absolutely ashamed to be Australian

You idiot.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:41 PM on December 11, 2005


Did you want to actually contribute anything, uncanny hengeman, or are you just doing the drive-by-insult today?

Frankly, if any ont thing were to make one ashamed to be Australian, this is a good choice.
posted by coriolisdave at 7:46 PM on December 11, 2005


Cheers!
posted by Jimbob at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2005


Thanks wilful, I've been waiting for Crikey's take on things to come up.
posted by Jimbob at 7:49 PM on December 11, 2005


Did you want to actually contribute anything, uncanny hengeman, or are you just doing the drive-by-insult today?

LOL. I'll pay that.

Er, to answer your question: the latter.

Everyone: read obiwanwasabi's post. This has been building up for years.

(The Police "Service" - as they like to call themselves in Oz - aughta have a bit of a look in the mirror as well.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:54 PM on December 11, 2005


So was the guy a lifeguard, or not?

Damn lifeguards.
posted by Balisong at 7:55 PM on December 11, 2005


(The Police "Service" - as they like to call themselves in Oz - aughta have a bit of a look in the mirror as well.)

Nope, they're the police force. According to the half dozen serving officers I know at least. But what do you mean by that comment any way? Have the police incited it, a la Paris and LA? Or were they inadequate in their response? What?
posted by wilful at 8:16 PM on December 11, 2005



Nope, they're the police force. According to the half dozen serving officers I know at least.

My bad. It’s called the Police "Service" where I’m from.

Interestingly, a Google search for "nsw police service" vs. "nsw police force" gets over 4 times as many links.

According to this page, it might just be plain old "NSW Police". You might wanna tell those serving officer buddies of yours who they actually work for.



But what do you mean by that comment any way? Have the police incited it, a la Paris and LA? Or were they inadequate in their response? What?

Neither of those options. What were the police doing in the years leading up to this yob-fest? How did it get to this point?

(I’ve seen a few post yob-fest interviews already and I think I know the answer: blame the politicians. And hey, they might be right.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:46 PM on December 11, 2005


And to all you generalizing xenophobes (and there's been a lot of you clowns on this thread): they’re called lifesavers in Australia.

(But more than likely, will go the way of "tomato sauce" and end up being Americanized!)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:00 PM on December 11, 2005


uncanny hengeman and I think I know the answer: blame the politicians.
Kneejerkers like Baird maybe:
Rioting at Cronulla Beach in Sydney is revenge for the Bali bombings and the September 11 attacks, federal Liberal backbencher Bruce Baird says.
Mr Baird, whose Cook electorate takes in many of the south-eastern Sydney suburbs affected by a wave of violence at the weekend, said tensions had been simmering within the primarily Anglo-Saxon community against people of Middle Eastern descent for some time.
He said many locals were angry, particularly after six women from the area were killed in the 2002 Bali bombings.
"Where this riot took place is actually the site of where we've got the Bali memorial for these women," Mr Baird told ABC Radio.
Asked if the riots were revenge for Bali and September 11, Mr Baird said: "I think so.
"I think there's been increasing emphasis on terrorism and our security," he said.
"There has been high-profile rape cases in Sydney and of course, the Sutherland Shire itself is very much an Anglo-Celtic enclave and during the week it is pretty much Anglo and on the weekends there are lots of visitors that come from elsewhere."

posted by tellurian at 10:19 PM on December 11, 2005


Americanized!

Was that subtle irony or what?
posted by wilful at 10:22 PM on December 11, 2005


As long as Lebanese hoons see the Shire as someplace to raid for glory and live out their "bling bling" gangsta fantasies,

This sounds a lot like the urban legends coming out of New Orleans to me... Or more particularly, the stories coming out of Houston about the New Orleans people who were staying there.

Folk tales fabricated to justify prejudice.
posted by Chuckles at 10:30 PM on December 11, 2005


What were the police doing in the years leading up to this yob-fest? How did it get to this point?

I'm assuming the Australian police don't have any special anti-dumbass powers that police elsewhere are missing. What about the parents and community leaders? I'd say they're a lot more to blame than the police.
posted by fshgrl at 10:41 PM on December 11, 2005


Americanized!

Was that subtle irony or what?
posted by wilful at 3:22 PM JST on December 12


Americanized with a z is the more common spelling. In fact, the trend towards ise in Commonwealth countries is largely a backlash against the perceived Americanization of English. Previously, there were many more words that the rest of us would have spelt ize but academia and the quality press have left many people who regard themselves as careful users of English with the idea that ize is Yank and therefore lazy, crap and wrong. Sort of like nite or lite.

Granted, American culture is largely lazy, crap (and even manages to be wrong) but ize is quintessentially American in another regard. They are masters both in the innovation of crap and in holding out against meaningful progress i.e. death penalty, imperial measurement, keeping religion out of secular affairs &c.

I'm kind of neutral with regard to the ise/ize thing though. Personally, I use the ise spelling largely as a badge of my virulent anti-Americanism and arrogant lefty smugness. However, it's the Seppos that are carrying the standard for tradition when they write their moronic drivel using the ize spelling.
posted by Jenga at 10:53 PM on December 11, 2005


Greg Egan's going to be so pissed.
posted by Tlogmer at 11:09 PM on December 11, 2005


you take the fun outta things.
posted by wilful at 11:16 PM on December 11, 2005


obiwanwasabi, thanks for what reads like an insider, local perspective. It's interesting to read and seems to match up perfectly with what the MP was saying about a mainly white enclave, where on the weekends different types of people come into town.

question, i dont' know all the slang, what is a 'ricer' and a 'hoon'?
posted by cell divide at 11:19 PM on December 11, 2005


A hoon is a hooligan. I have no real knowledge of what a ricer might be, but a guess would be someone who eats rice as a standard part of his diet.
http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html for study.
posted by Cranberry at 11:41 PM on December 11, 2005


I thought a ricer was an asian guy who liked to hot up his four cylinder japanese coupe. Hoon, bogan, same diff.
posted by wilful at 11:56 PM on December 11, 2005


Hoon is derived from hooligan but is now only a sub-species. Specifically, he's a hooligan with an Aussie made V8 who likes to soup up his car, drive aggressively (and usually dangerously) believing that it is what driving skill is about. He's equally like to be a wog or a skip (mind you, skips never self-identify themselves as such) although woggy and Aussie hoons never commingle and indeed, detest each other as much as I hate them all. I am a motorcyclist.

The other divide is between the Ford acolytes and the Holden (Aussie subsidiary of GM) acolytes. They can commingle though, albeit with much mutual derision. V8 Supercars, which is the Aussie analogue to Nascar, is their religion with the Mecca at Bathurst. I'm guessing this is somewhat like Daytona for the Nascar trogs.

Ricers are the dickheads (mostly wogs) with the small, souped up Japanese cars like the Civics or WRXs. It is the pinnacle of achievement to own a Rexxie for these shitheads.
posted by Jenga at 12:12 AM on December 12, 2005


Exactly, and 'wop' isn't an acronym for anything.

Wha? I thought "wop" is an acronym that comes from "without passport".



With Out Papers. Apparently, the story has it that Italian immigrants would often show up with out their immigration papers, and were called WOPs.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:21 AM on December 12, 2005


In case you haven't read it, make sure you read obiwanwasabi's comment above. As someone who has spent a number of years living in Australia, it sums up the situation perfectly.
posted by jay at 1:24 AM on December 12, 2005


sorry to insist on an OT, but Firas: Not that xenophobia isn't bigoted to start with, just that pointing out that (say) Greeks and Italians are white isn't an endorsement of racism.

It is (even unknowingly), because they are not white. (well, not they, we, I'm "half breed wog" as someone on Urban Dictionary would put it) It's Mediterranean people. Which also includes Northern African and Arab and Turkish influences. Sure there's all sorts of other influences too but often you can't even tell between Lebanese, Tunisian, Lebanese or Italian or Greek or Turkish based on looks. Because there is common ancestry (and the funny thing is Greek or Italian racists themselves pretend it's not there). Go on a beach in Greece, you can instantly spot the locals from the English or German or Swede tourists. A mile away.

Just saying, you know, as a neutral thing. I don't give a damn how racists see it, racism is no reason to be colour-blind and more importantly culture-blind. Differences are good, make things interesting, make you curious about different cultures if you're not an idiot, so there's neutral and benign aspects to it and I don't see a reason to let racists take over the concept. See how in Australia the term "wog" has been reclaimed, perhaps even excessively, but it's better than pretending there is no difference whatsoever between anglosaxon origins and mediterranean origins.
posted by funambulist at 1:27 AM on December 12, 2005


Here's another video from Reuters (click on "Rough Cut - Racial tensions boil over in Sydney", third from left in the "SELECTED CHANNEL: Top News Channel" box).
posted by funambulist at 1:49 AM on December 12, 2005


Bringing the war home, eh?
posted by warbaby at 4:27 AM on December 12, 2005


Racism is a significant problem in all countries, but it seems to me that in Australia, racist rhetoric and parties have been given more legitimacy than in, say, Canada (similar size and racial history). It's not that Australia is more racist, but that holding racist and anti-immigration views has more legitimacy there, perhaps because at least one explicitly racist party have held seats in the legislature (parliament?). (Our racist parties, like the Bloc, like to stay more dicreet, or at least keep their worst comments to French.)

But this legitimacy does create a bad situation in which racist sentiments can flourish - just look at Australian refugee policy versus Canadian.

On a lighter side, looking at one of the photos from the riots featuring a sign saying "Free snacs [sic] no tabuli" makes me want to go out for a nice falafel and tabuli salad, and find some arabic pop to listen to.

Or maybe make up a nice "If you don't like immigrants, Go home to Britain" sign.
posted by jb at 4:45 AM on December 12, 2005


"Free snacs [sic] no tabuli"

Makes me feel like going out for a nice Barossa Grenache.
posted by shoos at 6:40 AM on December 12, 2005


Updates and more detailed information at wikipedia current events.

There has been a second night of rioting, now by middle-eastern people in retaliation. This may just get worse before it gets better.
posted by jb at 7:23 AM on December 12, 2005


We were driving through the West End (like the ghetto but with grass and trees) a while back and a young black kid (12?) called me a "White honkey!" I cracked up laughing: is there any other kind of honkey? Will all you "Middle-Eastern-looking", Zulu or Chinese honkies please raise your hands?

Oh: in Louisville before "9/11" the "Middle-Eastern-looking" people counted as "White" because they're not "Black" or "Oriental" (by which is meant East Asian -- Chinese etc.), but now "Arab-appearing" folks are "terrorists" and "ragheads". It also seems that now white racists are slackening somewhat against their customary target, e.g. "At least the niggers are Americans!" (Thank you Osama.)

My point, in case anyone misses it, is that racial epithets are stupid things used stupidly.

Anyway, about Australia: y'all do realize that Australia was a major U.S. ally in the war on "the Middle East" even before Colin Powell waved his little bottle of baby powder, don't you?
posted by davy at 7:41 AM on December 12, 2005


With Out Papers. Apparently, the story has it that Italian immigrants would often show up with out their immigration papers, and were called WOPs.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:21 AM EST on December 12 [!]


That story is wrong (as are virtually all stories alleging that words come from acronyms). Wop is from Spanish guapo; some etymologists say it came via Italian guappo, but this guy makes a plausible (and entertaining) case that it's directly from Spanish.

A quote from the Casselman rant I just linked to:
If written and printed proof mean anything, perhaps the American and British dictionary people might like to pay attention to the evidence gathered by Spanish etymologists. However it is notoriously difficult to get etymologies offered by non-British lexicographers into the sainted precincts of the OED or indeed for non-American linguistic discoveries to appear in Merriam-Webster dictionaries of English. Who can say why? Well, I can say why, but I won't. Let's just state that for skin-corrugating disdain, palpable loathing, and practically visible opprobrium nobody beats a British academic.
posted by languagehat at 10:35 AM on December 12, 2005


Any nation that can refuse a boatload of refugees from Afghanistan and have what seems like the worlds biggest percentage of backpackers inflicting their tiresome inane drivel about saving up enough money to go to Prague as though it were the lost city of Atlantis worries me deeply.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:58 AM on December 12, 2005


This sounds a lot like the urban legends coming out of New Orleans to me...Folk tales fabricated to justify prejudice.

*shrug* I don't know anything about NOLA/Houston, but I do know what I've seen with my own eyes on multiple occasions. Last night's efforts are just a dramatic escalation of what's been happening for years on a smaller scale. The guy who got stabbed, the girlfriend who was threatened with rape, the woman who got a baseball bat in the head for defending her car - they're not "folk tales".
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:35 PM on December 12, 2005


The guy who got stabbed, the girlfriend who was threatened with rape, the woman who got a baseball bat in the head for defending her car - they're not "folk tales".

But you see, this shit happens everywhere. Head down to the outer suburbs of Adelaide and the exact same shit is going on - except with young white kids holding the baseball bats and knives. Remember the other "white riots" last year in Perth, hundreds of white kids going on drunken rampages through the suburbs for the sheer hell of it? Go to other parts of the country, and it's Aboriginies getting in trouble. Go to other parts and its Vietnamese. Go anywhere outside the major cities, in the great white hinterland, and you'll find good old aussie drunken louts beating up women and causing fights. It's not new - it's been going on since Adam was a lad. It's not restricted to any one racial group - it's restricted to stupid, bored young men.

You can head down to an Adelaide beach - Glenelg, Semaphore, wherever, and find ricers rocking up to stir up shit on a Friday night, disturbing the locals, being crude, rude arseholes. The difference is the majority of them are white, and the others are a mix of all different races (often in the same car). There's no scapegoat. The locals can see they are just young hooligans. It appears that in Cronulla, the particular racial mix had lead the arrogant locals to pull out the same old racist stereotypes to label a youth problem as a race problem, with the results we've just seen.
posted by Jimbob at 4:06 PM on December 12, 2005


Jimbob - dam straight. This shouldn't be a race thing, this is an "asshole" thing.

It's all just a poor pathetic excuse for drunk, bored, arrogant louts to get into a fight. Look how many of the idiots in the photos are smiling, laughing and holding stubbies of VB. These people aren't interested in "taking back the shire", they're just out for some "fun".

And yes, Adelaide is no different, just there's not enough people under 25 here to cause problems, they've all moved to Melbourne :D
posted by oliyoung at 4:23 PM on December 12, 2005


True, that ;)
posted by Jimbob at 4:29 PM on December 12, 2005


W?
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T?

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F?


posted by dgaicun at 6:21 PM on December 12, 2005


There's not much point in suggesting this shouldn't be a race thing, when both sides have made it perfectly clear that it already is. It'd be like saying that the Rodney King riots weren't a race thing, because rioting isn't restricted to black people, and because non-black people have rioted in other places, or that the Holocaust wasn't about race, because the Nazis murdered all kinds of people who weren't Jews (like homosexuals and the disabled) as well.

This isn't a clash over "youth culture" or "assholes" - the protagonists on both sides are young men, and both sides have more than their fair share of fuckwits. It isn't a clash about hoons or hooliganism - they don't come much worse than the Bra Boys.

This is about "us and them", and what defines "them", in this case, is race. There aren't any white people from Lakemba coming to smash cars in Cronulla, or Muslims from the Shire lining up outside the mosque - it's not a "turf war", with shire against shire. Nobody was chanting "no ricers" - it was "no Lebs". The latest SMS doing the rounds in the west doesn't pick Shire people in general - just "Aussies", by which they mean white Australians. The kid who ran into the pub was a local, but he was of "Middle Eastern appearance", and that was enough to have people screaming "string him up!" The couple in the toilet block could've been from Perth as far as anybody knew.

If the lifesavers had fought with a couple of bikers, or soldiers from Holsworthy, nobody would've raised an eyebrow, let alone rioted in the street. It would've been another case of local lads roughing it up after a few too many at Northies.

When all the people on one side are of one race, and all the people on the other are another race, and when race is really the only thing that makes the two sides different in any way (they all drive too fast, make too much noise, have stupid hair and listen to Nova FM), how can it not be about race?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:23 PM on December 12, 2005


But you see, this shit happens everywhere.

Bullshit, Jimbob. Lebs take it to another level. Lebs are SCARY mofos! That’s what I was thinking when I saw the *coff* disturbance in Cronulla. Weedy drunk 18 year olds and big unfit 30-something beer hounds. And I’m thinking "these Leb mofos would eat you alive!"

What do you do if you are in disagreement with a former triple world boxing champion? You and your mates beat him up and attack him with a broken bottle and then do a drive-by-shooting on his house.

What do you do when you want to put the cops on notice in an area you believe to be your suburb? Why, a drive by shooting of the local police station, of course. Just as likely to happen in Adelaide with white kids, hey Jimbob.

And let’s not forget the Lebanese gang rapists specifically targeting white girls.

What obiwanwasabi said. I don’t wish it to be so but it is so.


Was that subtle irony or what?

Yes it was. Well spotted. I normally use the "s" but am considering changing allegiances very soon. I also spell "program" not "programme", and I gave up on "tomato sauce" about 5 years ago.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:53 PM on December 12, 2005


And while we're at it, can the Aussies in this thread please try to spell "arsehole" correctly?

And yeah, I think there is an extra dimension to the Sydney problems than just a matter of young pissed fuckwits with a mob mentality.

Meanwhile, how's this pickup from Crikey?

In an election speech in October 2001, the Prime Minister described the suburbs which over the past few days have hosted some of Australia's worst race riots as an area which "brings together all of the great aspirations of the mainstream of the Australian community ... a part of Sydney which has always represented to me what middle Australia is all about." And, he continued, "if you listen to the people of this part of Sydney, you've got a pretty good idea of what the people of Australia are thinking and what the people of Australia want from their leaders."

If John Howard still believes his words of 2001, the "people of Australia" are thinking some pretty bad thoughts right now. Yesterday, the Prime Minister said he doesn't "accept that there is underlying racism in this country," and that "the overwhelming majority of Australians have the proper instincts and decent attitudes and decent values." Which leaves this question, PM: are the "overwhelming majority of Australians" who have "decent attitudes and decent values" the same Australians who live in the "part of Sydney which has always represented to me what middle Australia is all about"?

posted by wilful at 7:17 PM on December 12, 2005


Free snacs [sic] no tabuli

No, that was clearly free snags, as in barbecued sausages. Furthermore, they actually managed to spell tabouli correctly, not 'tabuli'. All in all a fine effort on the part of the sign's author, as far as stupid racist digs go.
posted by Ritchie at 2:10 AM on December 13, 2005


Races, scientifically speaking, do not exist.

The FDA thinks they do.

Or did you mean "do not exist" in a Sartrean sense?
posted by shoos at 5:05 AM on December 13, 2005




It sounds like the Shire is another Howard Beach.
posted by amberglow at 7:00 AM on December 13, 2005


Whew! that's a relief, no more riots. Just don't be of middle-eastern appearance within the vicinty of any unrest - you may have your car and mobile phone confiscated for a week or so, and when you are brought before the magistrate you may have some difficulty securing bail and may have to spend a month or so in jail waiting for your hearing. Also anybody drinking in a nearby pub will probably have to go home or to another suburb because chances are it'll be 'time ladies and gentlemen'. These laws are absolutely necessary if we are to keep the general community locked down safe.
posted by tellurian at 10:43 PM on December 14, 2005


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