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On the way up Down Under

The communities worst affected by racism in Australia are Africans and Aboriginals, writes Sonali Gulati.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2008 01:12 IST

The communities worst affected by racism in Australia are Africans and Aboriginals. Relations between an Indian and the average Australian are almost smooth.

You can go to a rock concert without getting abused. You can do a barbeque with your neighbour and have a laugh over cricket controversies. But it is far more difficult to get into high-paid jobs, buy expensive property or get a bank loan. In such matters, European immigrants have an upper hand.

But then an inclusive system takes time to build. Most European immigrants arrived here after the Second World War. In contrast, South Asian migration is a recent phenomenon. We have to negotiate for more resources and power. The scope to negotiate is made possible by the system, which is fair.

The ones who face real racial abuse regularly are the taxi drivers. In Melbourne, over 90 per cent of them are of South Asian background. At times the police have not come to their rescue in an emergency. Having said that, there is a system here through which we can legally challenge these issues.

There is a lot of racism in India too. The difference is that while it’s not yet a debate in India, it is treated as a big issue here.

(The writer is editor of Indus Age, a South Asian newspaper in Australia)