3 Mar 2009, Comments (2)

May I take this opportunity to apologise to the entire expat Indian community?

Author: Helen

There has been an increase in attacks on Indian students and workers in Melbourne’s inner west. Clearly, it was time for the police and other community leaders to take notice and do something about these race-related crimes. Did they they put a spotlight on the people who were doing the robbing and bashing? Did they talk about their intention to bring the perps to justice and enhance the safety of public spaces generally, and work with the Vic government to help change the attitudes of Bogan Youth? Hardly. The response of the Victoria Police was to recommend that young indians should stop talking so loudly in their own language and should not be louchely and recklessly carrying things like iPods and laptops on their daily commute. In short, pull your head in and stop flaunting your great wealth before our simple peasant folk, in case you get yourself bashed. And robbed.

Inspector Scott Mahony complained that the police had been blamed unfairly in the story, because “members of the indian community” had complained at a public meeting that their countrymen were noisy and obnoxious. Right, that lets the Victoria Police off the hook completely, because if someone’s fellow-countryman says something denigratory towards them, of course you take the totally unbiased opinion of this codger and publicly run with it!

This reminded me of Lauredhel’s article about other victims of crime and how the use of the passive voice, and constant advice to the crime victims both actual and potential to take defensive action themselves to not get themselves raped, or get themselves robbed, makes the perpetrator invisible and takes all the light and heat off the people doing the crime.

It’s not the first time this has happened. A Sudanese boy, Liep Gony, was bashed to death by two white thugs in October 2007, and the police blamed the incident on the Sudanese community who, they thought, had failed to assimilate properly.

I use a train and a bus daily on the routes to, from and around inner Western Melbourne and I can tell you from long experience that a lot of students are deafening. Not Indian students – students. Anyone who says that’s an Indian thing really hasn’t been out lately. It’s a function of being young and silly. (Some) students travel in packs, yell to each other, and generally seek attention. They’re immature and sometimes quite irritating. Duh – they’re young! This in no way excuses crimes against them, I would have thought. The idea that Indian students are somehow “flaunting” their iPods and laptops, also, is simply racist. I see thousands of caucasians and others using their laptops and ipods, and schoolkids carrying valuable musical instruments, every day. It’s good defensive practice to keep smaller items packed away, but to say that one ethnic group may have their laptops on show and the others are “flaunting” them simply betrays an underlying idea that one group is entitled to have these things and the others are behaving in a manner not befitting their station.

The Victorian government should examine ways of improving community attitudes on the one hand (well, not making them worse’d be a start), and the appalling lack of any personal safety on the “public transport system” at night, instead of blaming the victims of the crimes. And they should start to get a bead on the invisible perpetrators.

Sushi Das has more well-crafted scorn.

Comments (2)

  • Hattie says:

    These are terrible incidents. Do you have anything equivalent to the Southern Poverty Law Center, that investigates hate crimes, reports on them, and gets civil settlements from perpetrators? SPLC has done an awful lot to curb hate crimes in the U.S.

  • Helen says:

    I’ve had a look at that website in the past, Hattie, where I’ve seen references to it on US blogs.
    Just off the top of my head I’d refer you to fightdemback.org (Warning, Current post has an image which is NSFW!)

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