The racist streak, by Mark Latham
08 April 2008, Camden Advertiser:
... There has always been a racist streak in this country, for many decades, legalised and legitimised by the White Australia policy. But it was a passive form of racism, expressed in social attitudes and values, rather than ethnic-inspired violence. The great Australian preference for apathy over action saved us from the extremism of other multi-racial societies ...This is the second article by a Camden area newspaper telling the locals their time is up, pack up and move, the Muslims are coming. It's a propaganda campaign. Memo to Latham: Boo! Did I scare ya? Yeah I'm real 'frightening'. It's not a challenge of globalisation "to cross social and cultural boundaries" it's a failure and segregation is inevitable - wake up you diversity dreamer, you're living in the past man, you're a dinosaur, segregation is the hip and happening thing to do, get with the times man. Turn on, tune in, and segregate out man! You better get with the diversity fascists because that's the only way diversity, like communism, can work - they both fail because they work against human nature.
Prejudice is also having an impact on the pattern of urban settlement. Sydney is experiencing the phenomenon of white flight: people from English-speaking backgrounds moving from older suburbs that have growing migrant populations to new estates on the urban fringe.
In the local government areas of Camden, Wollondilly, Penrith and Hawkesbury, the 2006 Census data showed a significant increase in the proportion of males aged 25-64 years who were Australian-born. In Wollondilly, for example, the proportion jumped from 75 per cent in 1991 to 82 per cent in 2006. (The figures for other demographic groups are not yet available but they are likely to confirm this trend.)
This is a remarkable statistic given Sydney's high intake of migrants. While an area like Parramatta, close to the demographic centre of the city, increased its proportion of overseas-born men from 43 per cent to 55 per cent, the fringe suburbs have moved in the opposite direction. Some of the estates are white enclaves. Visit their shopping centres and playing fields and you will not find an Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern or African face.
While governments talk about the virtues of multiculturalism, the residents of these areas associate it with ethnic gangs and trouble in their old neighbourhood. One of the challenges of globalisation is to cross social and cultural boundaries.
Yet the evidence shows that Sydney's suburbs, in Australia's so-called global city, are becoming less cosmopolitan and more segregated.
Indeed, the liveliest tabloid controversy in recent times has been the struggle to establish an Islamic school at Camden, in Sydney's south-west. The opposition to the proposal has been frightening. The school site has been defaced with pig heads mounted on poles. Small children have appeared on TV declaring their hatred of Muslims.
Yet by any rational assessment, the school makes sense. The NSW government has approved land releases for 90,000 housing lots in the region surrounding Camden. The Islamic community simply wants to plan ahead, building a school for its children at the same time as the new homes are being constructed. It has selected a site similar to those on which state, Catholic and Anglican schools have been built in the past, without a ripple of public concern.
In truth, the only offence of the Islamic community has been to upset the aspirations of the white flighters. They moved to the urban fringe to get away from Muslims, not to be followed by them.