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The Scrivener: Send Them Away

Brian Barratt makes a modest suggestion as to where racists could be sent - "somewhere safe, with no 'black' people, where they would have nobody to hate but each other?''

Jeremy Fernandez worked for CNN in London. He has been a reporter, producer and newsreader for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) since 2009. He is a graduate of both the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts and Curtin University. As a news reader, he has one of the best speaking voices on Australian television, with clarity, correct enunciation, and varied expression.

However, in the opinion of a particular woman on a bus in Sydney, he is a 'black c---' and should go back to where he came from. He made the mistake, evidently, of being born in Malaysia with skin of the wrong colour.

You can read the full report here:

I wonder how this apparently intellectually challenged woman would cope in our local shopping centre? For instance, the chemist shop where I obtain my prescription drugs has a number of pharmacists who were born in Sicily. With a richly diverse ancestral background over many centuries, their skin is definitely the wrong colour for her.

Walk a few steps along the footpath and you come to the elegantly appointed Siam Village restaurant. Yes, it has a Thai menu and is run by people from Thailand. They aren't 'black' but they are not like us, are they?

Then there is a large new Malaysian restaurant, where Jeremy Fernandez would no doubt feel at home. But that woman would probably yell at the owners and staff to go back to where they came from. Whoever heard of cooking beef in coconut milk, anyway? Everyone knows beef is for roasting and steak is for the barbecue.

Across the road we find a long-established restaurant specialising in Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. That sounds suspicious and those people have foreign names. Anyway, the woman on the bus, and her ilk, probably prefer fish and chips with tomato sauce, served in a cardboard carton, to market fresh fish of the day, grilled, served Lebanese style with garlic, walnut salsa, pine-nuts and tahini.

We have a Vietnamese restaurant and a small Vietnamese café, two Japanese sushi and noodle bars, and several Chinese shops and eateries. The Japanese establishments will have to be OK for our ranting lady. Well, during the terrible period of apartheid in South Africa, Japanese people were the first Asians to be classified as honorary whites, I kid you not. In those days, alongside 'Natives' and 'Whites', there were racial categories designated as Indian, Asian, Malay and Coloured.

Back to our local shopping centre: A Cambodian family has taken over a hot bread bakery previously owned by a Greek family. There are and always have been smiling welcomes there. But Cambodian? Oh no, they'll have to go. A few years ago I chatted to a stranger, as is my wont, while I was walking round the shopping centre. At that stage, the fruit and vegie shop was owned by a Cambodian family. I commented what lovely people they were. The woman I was talking to responded with venom, 'Well I'm a racist and as far as I'm concerned they can go back to where they came from'.

And that brings us back to square one. Maybe one day these people will grow up. Maybe they won't. Perhaps we could send them all to somewhere safe, with no 'black' people, where they would have nobody to hate but each other? Northern Siberia comes to mind: it's very white.

© Copyright Brian Barratt 2013.

For more of Brian's civilising words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_scrivener/

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