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What is a racist these days? Answered

Lately I have a problem accepting certain things when it comes to the label "racist".
As some might know I decided to live in Australia and here we have what you might call a "multicultural population".
Laws and tolerances have changed and these days swearing in public, using abusive language or say anthing that can be seen as racism brings you in big trouble.
I never had any problems making friends with people from all over the globe, no matter what ethnic or religous background they have, but lately I get the feeling that this is not true for everyone.
With everyone I don't mean the big bad racist living down the street or the gang of thugs that only attacks certain people - by everyone I mean those migrating to start a new life in a different country.

If I walk into a shop has no pricing or product labels in english and I notice the shop keeper is unable to use english as well, would it be wrong to call this racist?
If I can't use the local swimming pool at certain times as it closed to the general public so only one ethnic group can use it - isn't that racial discrimination too?
Ignoring simple things like the dress code for women can get you into big trouble in many countries and if you insist on you individual rights and call those ranting against your violation being racist, well chances are you won't make it through the day.
The other day I was called a racist and "complimented" out of a shop after I complained noone in there is able to speak english and that I am unable to read simple things like the price of an item.
All I said to a shopkeeper (that until then pretended he did not understand anything I say): "Why the hell do I have to learn chinese in an english speaking country just to go shopping? We all speak english in this country, accept it or if you don't like it leave."

I think I have enough friends from different cultural backgrounds that would happily confirm that I am not racist in any way.
But I do think the term is abused and misused in recent years as we are expected to cater for all the needs anyone might have - regardless if we would see the same as guests in their home country.
Racism often comes from cultural differences and misguided views on certain things as simple as what type of food you can or can't eat.
So my questions up for debate :
Do you think failing to integrate yourself into the customs of a country like learning and using it's official language could cause problems?
Do you think the support for people migrating from other countries is driven too far in certain areas, like providing citizenchip tests in foreign languages or with an interpreter instead of insisting on learning the official language before applying?
Do you feel left out if your work mates use a differnt language while you are around?
Is it correct to call someone a racist if he refuses to employ people that are not from his country of birth?
Are you a racist if you think people with your citizenship should respect your country and be able to speak and understand your language?
Do you think the support for foreign cultures in your home land has gone too far or would more support be better? (like allowing schools for selected language backgrounds without the requirement to use or teach the official language and school topics)

I know this topic might be a bit of puch for some but my intention is to find a better understanding on why cultural integration and related racism has come the extreme state we currently see in many "modern" countries that offer good social security.
After all we all have to live together somehow, increasing tensions is never a good thing and I think if everyone would have a better understanding better acceptance of local customs all could be easier.
I hope it is ok to start a topic like this for discussion, if you feel it is not right please use the flag function and report it.


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6 years ago

Insisting on people speaking English and prices and labels written in English does not make you racist. I live in the USA and English is my second language. The fact that you try to support these businesses owned by foreigners says that you are being open to welcome other people. Sometimes people want to continue living the same way they lived in their countries of origin, they forget "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!" You need to also be sensitive to the fact that being an immigrant is a very stressful experience, separation from family and discrimination causes a lot of suffering. In the USA some people insist on making the USA an English only country. However Spanish is the first European language spoken on what it is today USA. As a matter of fact many American states have Spanish names like Colorado, Nevada, California, Texas (old Spanish word for tejas) and Montana (montaña).


Reply 6 years ago

Thanks for this, was not aware about the history of names in the US.
Did know spanish was very common in the old days though.

I am not immgrant so to say as I came here by choice and to support the family.
But "downunder" it is often quite hard to recognise what might officially (or in politacal terms to make it worse) could be considered racism.

For example if a few Aussies get into a little fight noone cares who ends up on the floor and who walks away - just another fight of drunken idiots so to say.
But if for whatever reason you end up in fight with people from a ethnical minority group it is firstly seen a racist attack as should be more understanding and supportive.
If an Aussie would walk out of a bush to attack and rape a beatuiful woman he is labeled a rapist and ends up in jail plus the sex offender list.
Do it as (no offence here!!) a muslim and the people are asked to not be so judgemental as he had a bad childhood and due to his religion a different understanding of things.
But if you would openly go against this judgement and use the wrong words you are again labeled a racist.

I think, here like in the US certain terms and slang words have been officially banned from use and I am not going to use any here.
Same for the change in the understanding of migrating cultures.
Back in the day you went into "China Town" to get nice meal, have some fun and see new things.
Today Chinatown could be your neighbourhood.

I just get the feeling that the racist as we used to know it was politically corrected if you understand what I mean.
And, at least here in AU, it is a one way ticket as "racial discrimination" against australians is tolerated while the other way around it is punished.
That is why I think the understanding and support should go both ways and the term "racist" or "racism" only used in the right context.
We are being oversensitive to everything that is related to refugees, immigrants and those of them that get into trouble with the law.
Political correctness has gone too far in many aspects of our life if we have to adjust to foreign customs, cater for them but don't get the same respect in return.
Posting you anger about the Indian Taxi driver that crashed into your car with the wrong words on social media will cost you your job here because you are being racist.
But is it really racist to vent your anger with swear words related to an ethnic group?
Calling someone fat, crippled, ugly or similar earns the same troublesome responses and might give you a warning from the cops - but is the effect of calling an obese person fat in an insulting way not at least on the same level?
In a way we can feel caged up and even with the right to speak your opinion in public you now need legal advise on what you want to say to avoid trouble with the law....


Reply 6 years ago

I have to say that it is the culture of Muslim fanatics to treat women badly. It is known in some Islamic countries to treat women as things, they are disenfranchised, and subjected to cruel violence. And before someone criticizes me, let me mention female "circumcision", "honor" killings and the public displays of torture and executions that occurs in countries under Sharia Law. Even Muslims that move to more industrialized countries believe they can still kill their daughters for anything that could be considered "dishonorable" like wearing makeup. They preach the death of "infidels" although they will deny such intentions to non-Muslims. So I agree with you, someone needs to stand his or her ground and call things by their names. Your stance might not be popular but it is sometimes the right thing to do!


6 years ago

I think it's important to define "racism" properly - it is discrimination based on your ethnicity.

Your shop keeper is only being racist if he chooses who to sell to because of their ethnicity, not by choosing the language he posts signs in (a $ sign is the same the world over).

The swimming pool is not restricting access by race, but by religion, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

The term "islamaphobia" is being bandied around in the media a lot these days, and has become conflated with racism, but discriminating against somebody because they are Muslim is NOT racism. If there's a group you can join or leave after you are born, then that group isn't a race.


Reply 6 years ago

You are correct a $ sign is a $ sign but that alone does not really help if the price is written in traditional chinese or mandarin - I still struggle with it...
Being multicultural and political correct at the same time is not easy :(


Reply 6 years ago

LOL, maybe he just knows his target market - is there a large local oriental population?


6 years ago

I live in Australia as well, and migrated here in '99. lately Ive
noticed that everything is getting ridiculously politically correct.
Just yesterday I got the death stare and corrected for saying I was
making a project for a disabled person. We dont call them that any
more..... thank god i didn't say handicapped. ( I should of pointed out
we dont use the term "them" it not nice)

So if you have light skin in living austraila there are only 2 things that are considered racist..... everything you say, and everything you do :-)