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OT: Human Rights Framework

7:33:17 PM
On 2/05/2010 zumojugo wrote:
>2) People come to a country for many reasons. People are more accepting
>of those that come for humanitarian reasons than those that come for economic
>reasons. Are you telling me that if you were living in poverty and you
>could go to another country where hard work might improve your life and
>the life of your family you wouldn't go?

Iím not in that situation so I canít say for sure but no doubt it would at least cross my mind.

>3) Once you get to your new country and discover that people aren't always
>very nice to you because you look funny and talk funny, wouldn't you look
>for people who treat you as an equal?

It would be clear to me that we are different and hence not equal. I would not expect to be treated perfectly equally to other people. This is realistic. My opinion would be that I am in someone elseís home hence I should do my best to fit in and not cause trouble. I would realize that a large part of the reason I have chosen to come to that country is because I consider it good which is in a large part due to the way the people are there, if I were to try to maintain my differences I could well be changing and damaging that hence another reason to try to fit in. If they have a negative attitude toward me then that is understandable. If I donít like it I can choose to leave, try harder, ignore it, fight against it, do what I have to survive. Some of those options might make them regret letting me come.

>4) Is a homogenous culture such a good thing?

No culture is going to be purely homogenous. In any case is it such a bad thing? Do you think every country on earth should import cultures from every corner of the globe? You must surely accept that it is ok for some people to want varying limits on diversity.

>If that's what you want
>go to almost any small town in Australia that's far from one of the capital
>cities and stay there. Everyone is the same, nobody has to think, a beautiful,
>blissful redneck wonderland with plenty of "us" and very few of "them".

You donít seem very positive about small town people. Is this one of the cultures you would reject? If so what makes it different?

>5) OR, stop worrying about immigration, enjoy the fact that it is a sign
>of economic prosperity, enjoy the fact that they are bringing great ideas
>and different culture and get in amongst the wonderful mix of different

Once again, you canít just assume it will always smell like roses.

>go and live in Bali, I think you'll find there that
>there are plenty of people just like you treating the locals just like

I havenít been there and seen what you are referring to but from what I imagine I doubt I would condone it. Would you understand if Balinese people there wanted to stop letting these supposed Ďpeople like meí come?
9:28:31 PM
Your pseudo-intellectual attempts to justify racism are hateful.
I'm one of those middle-of -the-road people who have the misfortune to see both sides of most things. Racism is the eexception.
I will oppose it absolutely.
Racism is simply evil. If you wish to be complicit in it then I will oppose you and despise you.
That is all. No compromises.

9:58:28 PM
Don't say "different hence not equal", say "same but different".
10:01:28 PM
Sorry Hendo - but I too am saddened by your attempts to explain your racist views, which only deepen the sad hole you are in. I really struggled to read through all your posts in this topic...

It really comes across that you would gladly let us turn back time and live back in the good old days when Australia was under the whites only policy. Really the true Australia started to implode when they started letting those coloured people into the motherland and allowed the natives the vote!!!

So many posts where to start...

How about accommodate and embrace diversity? How about learning a few words of another language? A few words in broken Mandarin or Cantonese would have made a wonderful connection with the waitress rather than such an awkward moment. One of the joys in travelling to other countries are that many of these are not so closeted - many are at minumum bilingual if not speaking 3 or 4 languages fluently!

The world truely is a melting pot - the bigotted, one race per country world is fortunately a thing of the past. Hopefully over time your racist views will finally join this old world mentality!

10:14:12 PM
On 2/05/2010 kieranl wrote:
>Racism is simply evil...
>That is all. No compromises.

I am interested in how you can't accept compromises with this. Perhaps we use racism to describe some differing things. Take my example about the restaurant

>One common example; you own a restaurant and you hire staff that are from
>the nationality of the food type for authenticity, Italian, chinese, whatever.
>Would you consider that unreasonable?

Do you consider this a form of racism (I do, but don't necessarily have a problem with it)? If so does that mean this is unacceptable, what should happen? I can think of all sorts of common grey areas.

I am honestly interested to hear what you think.

10:18:06 PM
I have some very close friends of non english speaking background and asian descent. They generally associate and live with only their own race. It used to annoy me, I used to think "You want to learn better english, why don't you share a flat with european australians?". What I learned is that it is not as easy as it sounds. If you have never tried to learn a foreign language or live in a foreign culture then you you are naturally prone to assuming that things will be as easy as it is for you. For some cultures, leaning english and accepting foreign customs is extremely difficult. Integrating into a foreign society and overcoming language and other cultural barriers is a fiercely dauting task. Its not a lack of willingness, a vast majority see australian life and culture as a better altenative to their own, thats why they came. We should try and see it from the other side, unfortunately we can't; we just dont know what we dont know. One thing my life has taught me is that if you have not lived through it then you will never truly understand it, period. My point is that we should not expect our immigrants to instantly integrate and accept our culture and way of life, we need to understand that it takes time. We also need to accept that the process may not always be pleasant and that at times we will feel threatened. Bearing all that in mind, and accepting some hardship, most importantly we should see that a culturally diverese society is far more preferable to the alternative.

10:36:42 PM
On 2/05/2010 dalai wrote:
>Sorry Hendo - but I too am saddened by your attempts to explain your racist

I am in part playing devil's advocate here. I have friends from many different nationalities etc. I can assure you that I am not a hating racist.

It just seems to me that racism, discrimination and these sorts of things are often blanketed as wrong when it is clear to me that this mindset doesn't really work and is unhelpful because it stops people really thinking about it critically and the grey levels which are there and important.

>which only deepen the sad hole you are in.

I'm sure there are many, many people around the world who are happy just living in their own community and don't view it as a sad hole, but could be rather proud of it, isolated as it might be. Can you not accept that some people might have a different point of view than you on this?

>How about accommodate and embrace diversity? How about learning a few
>words of another language? A few words in broken Mandarin or Cantonese
>would have made a wonderful connection with the waitress rather than such
>an awkward moment.

Sure, but what about the joy of having a good conversation with a waiter than can speak english and making a good friend. There are choices and options. What if I value this more than a few broken words. I might be able to learn a few words of some languages but I can't learn every language going around. I would actually like to learn another language but haven't found the right circumstances to do it. I imagine it would allow me to think about things slightly differently. I do wonder how babies or deaf people think aloud in their mind, that would be even more different.

>The world truely is a melting pot - the bigotted, one race per country
>world is fortunately a thing of the past.

Do you really think countries with predominately one or only a few races is wrong? A certain level of isolation is how different cultures get their diversity that you seem to embrace. If you stir the pot too fast it will all become the same. To me some mixing is fine and so is placing some upper limits.

10:56:19 PM
On 2/05/2010 Hendo wrote:
>Sure, but what about the joy of having a good conversation with a waiter
>than can speak english and making a good friend.

Hendo, let me tell you why I chose to learn a foreign language. I was in Thailand and a friend who I was travelling with, who new some Japanese, began helping some Japanese tourists in their own language; I cant even begin to described the instant connection that was formed. You mentioned you wanted to learn a foreign language, take a punt, go for it, you cant learn them all but just have a crack at one. I gaurantee that it will be a rich and rewarding experience. You can make that good friend in the english speaking restaurant, as you will likely do elsewhere, but the connection you will make with someone, when speaking their language, or at least trying, is just amazing. They will know that, at the very least, that you have taken some effort and sacrifice to get to know their culture; this is something a truly rewarding friendship can be based on.
10:58:58 PM
I said a few words as it appears it would be too much effort for you to learn more! In fact as shown in the European climbing areas thread earlier where you showed you have no interest in learning another language before you go - if there isn't incentive for you to learn a new language, I don't know what is? Saying you haven't found the right circumstances is a cop out!

You have friends of other nationalities - have you ever asked them to teach you some of their languages? Or are these friends only those that have assimulated into your view of what Australia/n's should be?

Can't learn all the languages, why not try? I have two main languages - English and German, learnt a semester of Japanese (need to get my notes out again) and am currently taking Maltese language classes. Learnt enough French to converse locally when over there climbing, some broken Russian when travelling through the Soviet block too! Plan to learn some more Italian which will allow me to understand more Spanish since there are many simularities...

11:02:43 PM
Back to a more general discussion while the lynch mob gets ready...

I think a distinction between "racism" and "tolerance/intolerance" is needed. Racism is a very very strong word that gets thrown around too much. Hence my question earlier. I believe some people don't have an accurate grasp of what real racism entails. Even Wendy's examples strike me as isolated incidents over a few years, not bad for such a diverse country. Overall, I think Australians aren't afraid to stand up and say whats on their mind, hence you occasionally get situations where culture or race is brought into the equation. However, I doubt these are the result of deep seeded racist beliefs rather mere intolerances or frustrations that will dissipate when the footy comes on...

Oh and for those interested, here's an example of the bigger picture which i was beginning to allude to, Australia does not even register on the scale in terms of comparison:
11:13:32 PM
Wendy has offered just a few examples but there are many more... Your personal view of the lack of racism in Australia is because you are white. You would see things differently if you weren't, confronting the very frequent abuse that is prevalent...

11:18:42 PM
On 2/05/2010 dalai wrote:
>Wendy has offered just a few examples but there are many more... Your personal
>view of the lack of racism in Australia is because you are white. You would
>see things differently if you weren't, confronting the very frequent abuse
>that is prevalent...
True, but we are not a racist country. That is what i'm getting at. So many people, and the notorious media are willing jump to conclusions at the slightest hitch.

11:19:27 PM
On 2/05/2010 ambyeok wrote:
For some cultures,
>leaning english and accepting foreign customs is extremely difficult. Integrating
>into a foreign society and overcoming language and other cultural barriers
>is a fiercely dauting task.

I don't doubt this at all. I look at a number of my friends parents who have never really learnt to speak english and have therefore been isolated from the broader Australian society and spend most of their time in their own home and maybe a few other places. They also miss their family and memories etc. I often think they might have lived a more full life if they had stayed with their own people and therefore able to be active in their society. There is argument that their coming here is detrimental to them in some ways.

Perhaps they came from a poor country or a country you might consider 'bad' or inferior or too poor etc, but you can't really work with the view that there are all these countries in the world that people shouldn't be living in because you think they could do better somewhere else and Australia is so much better so they should leave and come to here or another place. It might limit them in some ways but I imagine people are often able make a life for themselves there. It would be fairly snobbish to think otherwise and their country needs them to develop.

>My point is that we should not expect our immigrants to instantly
>integrate and accept our culture and way of life, we need to understand
>that it takes time. We also need to accept that the process may not always
>be pleasant and that at times we will feel threatened.

Hence it is worth considering how many people to take, how forceful to be in getting them to integrate if at all, how to manage it etc.

>Bearing all that
>in mind, and accepting some hardship, most importantly we should see that
>a culturally diverese society is far more preferable to the alternative.

What level of diversity is ok? Would you let any amount of people come? If not how many? What if so many of one culture go to one area that the area is no longer diverse what kind of level would you place here? How many different nationalities? How much should they be expected to conform if at all? Interesting and important to consider if you ask me.
Mr Milk
11:22:36 PM

There ought not be any apologies made for condemning your opinions. Quibbling over semantics and claiming to play the devil's advocate in no way justify your insane and irrational racial prejudice and longing for cultural isolationism. Furthermore, your long and tiring posts fail to address any criticism of your flimsy and ill-imagined argument. I am embarrassed that by our country of origin we share an association.

Some people are a waste of food.

dave h.
11:25:04 PM
I can see why political threads don't often appear on Chockstone. I'm a little disappointed that this has turned into a thread so filled with acrimony.

I know Hendo, and I would not be hasty to condemn him as a racist, as many here seem so quick to do. I agree with Sabu's point about the need to clearly articulate what precisely we're talking about.

Edit: Let me say that I don't think that it's OK to force people to integrate.

Hendo is a nice guy and I think some of his points (for instance, when he tried to point out that employers often select positively based on race) have been largely lost on people. He's not suggesting that as a caucasian he's intrinsically superior to any other race. At most I'd say he's expressed a preference for one culture as opposed to another. I am yet to be convinced that this makes him a racist.

Who are we to say that all Australians have to like all cultures equally?

Are we to be set adrift upon a sea of cultural relativism - how then do we propose to condemn cultural practices which (I assume) most of us find abhorrent (eg female 'circumcision'/genital mutilation).

Dalia, kieranl, and the others who are forming the lynch mob - you're after the wrong guy here.

I think the word 'racism' is getting bandied around a lot here. I think there are shades of racism.

1) Your extreme racist: all people of colour/different race/etc are of less value than my own race (or are sub-human, etc). The racism of the Nazi party.

2) Your 'middle-of-the-road' racist. The kind of person who might stereotype people based on race or on culture. I'd say this is a broad class which includes people who have both positive and negative racial stereotypes.

3) The racism ET alluded to, when he said that no-one is colour-blind. No doubt we could go on....
11:32:03 PM
Not after a lynching dave h. Just glad to know in a generation or two these views will have been hopefully bred out of existence...

Edit - much of Hendos posts come across as Racist 1.

dave h.
11:52:29 PM
When talking about Racist 1, I meant someone who thought that people of another race are not human, or are of less intrinsic value.

On my reading of them, his posts do not reflect that view.

I'd be very surprised if that was Hendo. This is based partly on re-reading the thread twice and having known him for the last couple of years.

1:43:53 AM
I think declaring the whole of Australia as racist is a generality and as such is fairly dangerous. I will however declare that a sizable number of Australians have behaved in some cases in a clearly racist way, and many hold clearly racist views.

Wendy mentioned a few examples, the Cronulla riots being one of the more shameful. When people are deliberately assaulting / harassing people based on their perceived race, especially while draped in a flag - that is a VERY clear racist act.

Pauline Hanson's political career, and later Howards dogwhistling showed very strongly that there are a sizable portion of Australian's who believe fairly tribal beliefs - the white anglo's against the darker coloured people, or asians, or whatever their bug bear is. Whoever is not like them. Typically this is, in my view, pathetic, lazy stupidity.

People too lazy to want to have to deal with people as individuals and make individual assessments, who would much rather be able to paint entire classes by some easy visual means - colour, obvious religion etc.

Just to address two of Hendo's earlier examples:

If I was choosing sprinters to train (and acknowledging that some races tend to be physically better disposed to certain events due to fast twitch muscles etc.) I would still be choosing who to train by their times and results, not their colour or race. If bob and james both run, and bob runs much faster, then he's the one I want to train. I don't need to know or care what his skin colour is.

Likewise if I go to an Italian restaurant, I don't care about authenticity in terms of the race or appearance of the waitress or the cook - I care about the quality of the food and the service.

One of the worlds most renowned Thai cooks is a white (british?) guy. I don't care as long as the food is good.

Back to Sabu's comment: I'm not sure I want to call Australia as a whole a 'racist' country, but many people here ARE racists, when people go out 'curry bashing' that is nothing else. And hiding from the fact, denying that racism plays such a key part is insanity. Try talking to police officers involved in these crimes, (as compared to the media facing and politically driven senior staff) and they certainly have no illusions about it.

I'd much rather people face up, say, yes some people are racist, lets work on that, than pretend it doesn't exist.

And just for the record, since people seem to have different semantic understandings: I'm classing racism as any case where someone makes assumptions or indeed actions about someone else based on their racial appearance.
2:36:33 AM
This is all very interesting.

I don't really know where to start with the arguments presented here. Some of them are really scary. Others are on the right track and exhibit true compassion.

I will take some time to read more carefully and attempt to reply tomorrow at length.

Just a quick thought to start. When one demands human rights based on a notion of moral equality this is not because people are all factually equal. Obviously humans are all different. The question we must ask ourselves is, are these differences sufficient reasons for giving the interest of any person less consideration? Is someones race a sufficient reason for giving their interests less consideration?

People are not factually equal. But I contend that people are morally equal. Understanding why this is so might go a long way to rooting out some problems in the arguments I have read.

I suggest that everyone interested in understanding this argument reads Peter Singer's Practical Ethics. This book is something that will help when confronted with a thinly veiled racist argument and show it for what it truly is. Criticising racism disguised as rational factual discrimination is a tough job if you don't know basic moral philosophy.

On another note I'd like to point out that when we say things like "i'd prefer the world suit my interests and everyone else can get stuffed," we categorically discount the interests of others for no good reason. I also contend that just because the land you stand on is part of the country that you were born in does not make this amoral statement of absolute selfishness suddenly moral. Your citizenship is just another fact that, like race or eye colour, is irrelevant to morality.


Phil Box
7:15:37 AM
On 3/05/2010 Dave132 wrote:
> But I contend that people are morally equal.

Rubbish, no way am I equal to that low life scum pedophile Dennis Ferguson.

As for Peter Singer, he preaches one thing then does the completely opposite thing.

Gaaaahhh, I had intended to hang on to that forty foot barge pole in regards to this thread. We've always steered well clear of political threads here in good olde friendly chocky. This really is a climbing website and not a political website. I'd rather disciminate towards keeping it this way.

By the way I hate intolerance in any way shape or form, I simply cannot tolerate intolerance.

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