Racism? What we have is not racism
During the Dastyari affair our Prime Minister admitted he was concerned over Chinese influence in Australian politics, prompting The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, to respond by publishing a piece belittling allegations of Chinese influence as racist. Who didn’t know that was coming?
Ethnic groups and dominant nationalities alike use the cry of “racism” as a sort of Star Wars missile defence these days. Criticise Zionism and you are a racist. Criticise Chinese expansionism and you are racist. Criticise Islam and you are racist. Have reservations about an Indigenous treaty? Racist. A believer in zero population growth? Racist.
I recently conducted a mental search through the disparate cast of my acquaintances for racists. For people who thought themselves superior to any other race by way of their own biology; more intelligent, more likely to be able to build a better life or even mousetrap because of their genetics. I didn’t find any. No one. So can I conclude racism is a prejudice that is virtually extinct in my world? And, if so, why is it so frequently diagnosed?
Cultures are a collection of practices and ideas and as such need examination and criticism. But doing so will get you labelled racist. I recently had an argument with a woman about the burqa. I’m no fan. I asked her to come up with a list of the most worthwhile, rewarding pursuits a young woman might aspire to: surgeon, pilot, magistrate, flautist, journalist, striker for The Matildas … none of them too likely possible in a burqa. Evidence the thing is a brake designed to limit a woman’s agency. The woman I was arguing with called my view racist.
Which, as Ali Rizvi has written, isn’t a counterargument. It’s a lazy excuse for one. “I can tell you firsthand that many religious minorities know how this works.