Some months back, I came across a headline about ethnic gangs and I immediately felt this sort of tightness in my chest and I thought, “oh, no!” So I read on, and I realise they’re talking about Sudanese gangs, and my instinctive reaction was, ‘oh thank god’. Thank god it’s not the Lebanese. See, this ethnic gangs business has happened before in the late 90s, early 2000s in Sydney. The only difference was back then, it was Lebanese gangs. The most striking similarity between
the two scenarios is the rhetoric. I want to show you guys some headlines. The ones on this side will be from 20 years ago, the ones on this side are more recent. Now I want to be very clear: I’m not saying that there’s no crime issue in Melbourne now, or in Sydney then. There is, and there was. But here’s my beef – the words and the phrases and the headlines that you saw don’t happen when perpetrators are white. Groups of white crims, unless they’re bikies, aren’t ‘gangs’. And they certainly aren’t ‘ethnic’. There’s no ‘integration problem’ with white people. Immigration policies don’t get questioned. White folks aren’t equated with terrorists. White leaders are not called to condemn the violence in the white community. There’s no clash of culture, or values, even though the actions, all the crimes perpetrated, are exactly the same. When white folk do it, it’s criminal. When brown folk do it, it’s cultural. I’ll tell ya. Because if you’re brown or black in this country, you’re not really Australian, hey. Like, you are… but not *really*. And that sentiment simmers just underneath the surface of this country. And it’s always been there. And if you’re not white, there’s no better time to remind you of that than when you f**k up. Because if you’re white and you f**k up, you’re a dickhead, sure. But no one questions your identity. No one questions whether or not you
should even be in this country. You’re not conditionally Australian. You’re just Australian,
and how lucky to truly feel like that. Because not everyone does.