Chapter 9 is about race and ethnicity – and is written by Associate Professor Farida Fondar.
In 2011, Farida undertook a survey to find out how common it was for people to fly flags on their cars for Australia Day, and what sort of message they were trying to send in doing so.
The results were simple enough—while for many people car flag flying is simply a celebration, people who fly car flags do tend to be less positive about minorities (Muslims, asylum seekers, Asians); more fearful that their culture and values are under threat; more proud of Australia’s history; and more likely to think Australia is the most important country in the Asia–Pacific Region.
When Farida reported the results in a press release, she interpreted this as a form of ‘racism’. At this stage you may not agree – but in the chapter, Farida represents some compelling arguments.
The general public disagreed, and the research became a topic of heated debate around Australia Day 2012. It generated lots of media coverage and blog discussion. One was by someone who called himself Fat Aussie Barstard.
Recently the Australian hip-hop artist 360 ignited a similar controversy by suggesting on ABC’s Q&A that the Australian flag had come to represent racism.
In her chapter, Farida asks us to consider why race and racism are such difficult subjects to talk about while never being far away from the public’s attention, and why Australians are often sensitive about them.
Related to this, you will find the following blogs that Alexandra Coleman and I have put together as a way to see how the concepts discussed in the Chapter are relevant to our everyday lives: