Month: April 2014

We’re not racist but …

“Why don’t they like people coming to Australia by boat?” Our child doesn’t understand why people in Australia are reportedly up in arms about welcoming people from other countries, people who are desperate to start a safe life here.

“Coming over on a boat is dangerous, and no-one wants people dying in the process,” I begin to explain.

“But that could take ages and they’re only trying to escape hardship in their own countries,” she reasons.

“Yes, but people objecting don’t think any reason is a valid reason to enter the country without a visa. They want them to join the queue.”

“They’ll all die waiting.”

I can’t answer, there’s no logic. See, this argument floating around, the one about “illegal immigrants” who take government funds, who don’t contribute to the community, who don’t assimilate – it just doesn’t stack up.

Calling people “illegals” and making diverse peoples feel unwelcome here while ignoring wealthy overstayers implies that it’s ok to be an economic migrant in Australia, but not someone fleeing for their life, often losing it in the process. Particularly an “illegal” who has brown skin, one with a funny name that has double the number of vowels than ‘normal’ names have.

Humankind this isn’t. The conversation continues.