Race tensions dispel Australian stereotypes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ask the typical American what comes to mind when they think of Australia and the answers will likely be harmless. Kangaroos, Crocodile Dundee and sayings that end in “Gooday, mate” spring to mind.

But that wholesome image was shattered this weekend as racially fueled riots that erupted in Sydney spread to two other Australian cities as people of Middle Eastern descent have been assaulted by caucasians.

Seven people were injured and 11 arrested after riots Monday night that left smashed windows and destroyed cars. The youths were reported to be of Middle Eastern descent. Police have said they believe the attacks were in response to an incident on a Sydney beach a day earlier as thousands of rioters attacked people believed to be of Arab or Middle Eastern descent.

Email newsletter signup

Racial problems are not uncommon or surprising here in the United States but it does come as more of a shock when Australia is involved.

Australia has long been known as a nation of tolerance, in part because nearly a quarter of Australia’s 20 million people were born overseas.

These types of problems must be dealt with quickly and severely by law enforcement agencies. Nothing can divide a nation and the world more than racial differences and perceived wrongs.

Sadly, most of the time, these racial or ethnic groups have far more in common than they do differences. However, as with many things in life, a few bad apples can spoil it for everyone.

It may take Australia a while to recover its wholesome image

from this unfortunate incident.

But this can teach every American and every human on this planet a valuable lesson this Christmas season. We are all alike in the ways that truly matter: We love, we feel pain, we bleed and we protect our heritage and our families.

Principles such as these are what we must build our future upon not hatred and racism.