G’day Beverly, as a migrant myself, albeit not ‘white Anglo Saxon’, but Welsh (Celtic) to Australia over 60 years ago I experienced what could be called discrimination at school but not on the scale of todays extremes. Just being different was enough to set you apart. At school I was surrounded by migrants/refugees from every part of the shattered Europe after WWII. We worked it out.
We lived and worked in a majority Muslim country for some time in the 1970s and never felt threatened, except on the rugby field.
We live in a city of 4.5 million with just about every ethnicity around us. We have friends of all stripes, great neighbours of several different ethnic backgrounds. All are educated people: so very much like us. I guess that’s a bonding similarity.
You name the cuisine, we’ve got it within 500 metres. What would any reasonable-sized Australian town be without its pizza parlour, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian curry house, Lebanese, Korean, even African restaurant or takeaway? Even the small towns where a lot of the antipathy comes from have ‘foreign’ cuisines for a quick meal on a Friday night. Churches and mosques too. My audiologist is a Muslim Somali former refugee. Why would I worry?
Funny thing is I’ve never felt threatened by today’s ‘enemies’ from the Muslim or other immigrant or refugee world. As a general observation the only people who have been threatening are the mentally ill, drugged up, usually white Anglo or European background people on our streets. We have a large floating population of these people, including recent releasees from prison and social welfare housing around us. But our life is thankfully basically threat free.
I know it happens, we had a terrible incident in Melbourne a few months ago but it was an Australian born, mentally disturbed, drug addict who was involved. I’m not saying it can’t happen but to blame it all on the Muslim world is crazy.
Australia has many differences to the USA. We do have discrimination against our indigenous first peoples but we don’t have the scale of ethnic separation which appears to exist in the centre of America. There aren’t towns where only white people live (like some we saw in America) because of local zoning laws excluding minorities. Well, not that I am aware of. If an Aboriginal or Muslim family wants to move in next door to me there’s nothing stopping them from doing so. And I wouldn’t be concerned.
The issue in both Australia and the USA is lack of education and awareness of other people’s cultures and this is concentrated on the fringes of the modern economy, both geographically and educationally. We have a very condescending saying here that ‘the further from the GPO the lower the IQ’. Unfortunately it appear to be, if not true, then indicative of both lower education levels and tolerance of ‘others’ in our society.
Here endeth the first lesson. Amen.