Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Racy reporting

I'd rather this issue went away in reality, but it hasn't, and it certainly hasn't left the media's attention, with protests and violence in Harris Park today. I'm talking about the attacks in Australian cities on Indian and other foreign students. To my mind, while there are many very disturbing aspects to these events, the most concerning display of racism is in the fact that the issue is receiving the most prominent reporting in the Australian press only now that a minority ethnicity is used to describe the perpetrators of one group of attacks, as well as the victims.

I suspect that many of the attackers - whatever their ethnicity - are, figuratively and sometimes even literally, simply schoolyard bullies who need little excuse, racial or otherwise, to bully. Anti-racism campaigns and other approaches may or may not change their behaviour over time, but the sort of attitude we see in the press all the time serves to create and sustain an environment where ethnic conflict of all sorts can grow.


scorpicity said...

I see this as a case of general rogues latching on to this excuse and hype on racism to commit these crimes. In a way all the attention in the media has perhaps drawn them. You are right on this. Things might be better if the media does not go on this parade. However, am speaking on a general note and honestly have limited information on the background of these attacks.

The only problem if it exist is on whether cases are being filed and actively pursued.

Jonathan said...

Scorpi, I think there are so many different cases that hardly anyone has all the information on the whole picture. I was perhaps slightly unfair, since to some extent I was comparing the Sydney press coverage of events in Melbourne and events in Sydney. However, the fact that the issue of attacks on Indian students deep in the papers or bulletins every day became top story at the same time as some attackers were identified using the all-too familiar description of appearance is too much like the general pattern to be considered a coincedence.

I think this is more of an ongoing concern than individual thugs, as long as, as you say, the usual processes of justice are being followed.