9th February 2010
Fully agree with Brumby on this
I thought I'd post this to express my support for John Brumby's article in The Australian today (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/a-few-violent-bigots-do-not-make-a-racist-state/story-e6frg6zo-1225828034407).
And while I find Greg Sheridan's views often useful, the article cited (in The Australian) was misconceived in many ways. Among other things, he referred to an anecdote about a taxi drive of his, and used it to blame all Victorians. The reality also is that every day in the morning, I'm acknowledged as a valuable member of this society by total strangers walking on the streets who wish me well: "G'Day mate, Good Morning".
This is a POLITE COUNTRY. A DECENT COUNTRY. Anyone who clubs the lumpens of Melbourne with the average decent Melbournian is totally misrepresenting this city and its outstandingly cultured people. Yes, I have come across two bad people in the last nine years here: two potentially violent bullies. In one case a small road rage event, and in the other a threatening bully who thought that he must dominate the fast lane in the swimming pool and those with lesser talent did not have a place there. Both events passed without harm, and the swimming pool bully was startled to get what he gave me, back. That's shut him up and he hasn't squeaked since then. But such things are no greater than what one would come across in any other place or country.
But anecdotes are irrelevant. Data is. A high quality statistical analysis that controls the many confounding variables involved in the outcome (violent crime against Indian students) is urgently required. An expert econometrician with a lot of critical thinking and broad based understanding of causality is needed. The debate has simply gotten out of hand because a really good study has not yet been conducted.
There is also a more basic philosophical issue involved here: Why is a government responsible for anyone's racism? Racism is a social problem, not a problem for the government to resolve. As far as a government is concerned, its job is to prevent violence within the resources it possesses. The Australian governments forbid racism by law, and identifies and punishes racism and violence. What else is it supposed to do? It is not a social reformer.
References to my other write-ups on this issue – some far more extensive than this.