Letters / Why is racism so selective?

LIKE Michael Moore (“Hate, racism and the art of distraction”, CN, March  30) I do not agree with racism at all.

However, I do think there needs to be some common sense brought into the 18C debate. The changes proposed were to eliminate the very silly cries of racism where a reasonable person wouldn’t see it as such. Recently, at Pembroke College, in Cambridge, UK, it was considered racist by some students to be offered Jamaican stew and Tunisian rice. There has been Irish stew, Welsh rarebit, Scotch broth, Swedish meatballs, Mexican enchiladas, German beer etcetera for years in the UK and suddenly it is racist to name a dish after another country. How stupid can you get?

In an article in the “Daily Telegraph”, the mother of a white Australian child was told they could not attend the Coverdale playgroup in inner-city Sydney. The reason being it was a multicultural playgroup. She was told: “You’ll have to go up to Erskineville or Newtown,” which is 30 minutes’ walk away. I thought that was what multiculturalism was all about – all races mixing together. This is real racism, yet nothing is done. Why is racism so selective?

What does bother me is the racism only seems to go one way and the most sensitive appear to be the new Middle Eastern migrants. One word said about them, even when no slight was meant, is blown out of all proportion, yet they can threaten death to the infidels and this is okay. Friends of mine went to work with the Aborigines in NT and they copped a lot of abuse and racial slurs, white trash being the very mildest of them, yet if anything was said about the Aborigines it was a racist attack. How is it fair and reasonable if the rules are so biased?

Giving in to the overly sensitive is only going to cause more problems. Racism should not happen, but it does. When I arrived in Australia I copped a lot of racial slurs. I took it on the chin and got on with life. I just put it down to their ignorance. I have now been here for 45 years and I do not get many comments any more. It did not stop me settling in Australia and I have never left since coming here. The Greeks, Italians, Chinese and Middle Eastern people have always made a good life here, even though they copped a lot of slurs, and I never heard all these cries of racism until recent years.

Migrants have come here for a better life, so they should accept us as we are, just like they expect us to accept them and their culture.

Vi Evans, via email

Harry had right idea

I’M hopeful this will remind readers of many of our past prime ministers. US President Harry S. Truman probably made more important decisions regarding America’s history than any of his 32 predecessors.

However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House. The only asset he had when he died was his mother-in-law’s house in Independence, Missouri, where, apart from the White House years, he and his wife always lived.

After retiring in 1952 his income was a US Army pension of $113 a month. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an “allowance” and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 annually.

After President Eisenhower’s inauguration, Truman was offered corporate positions with salaries up to $100,000. He declined, stating: “You don’t want me. You want the office of the president and that doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.”

On May 6, 1971, Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honour on his 87th birthday. He refused to accept it, writing: “I don’t consider I’ve done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.”

He once said: “I never gave anyone hell, I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.”

Colliss Parrett, Barton


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