Lazy commentators have been barking “racists” all week about the Cronulla boofheads.
But something is not quite right there. If the predominately Anglo-Celtic Cronulla yoofs were incorrigible racists, as the media would have it, wouldn’t they dish out similar treatment to Chinese, Jews, Russians, Indians or Islanders?
They didn’t. In fact one of the great ironies in the media this week was a photo in The Australian last Tuesday of Cronulla beach in the riot’s aftermath. Cops were pictured on a softly-softly patrol among sunbakers and surfers with two smiling, apparently carefree young women of Chinese extraction in the foreground. They clearly did not feel racially threatened.
It was also reported that the Cronulla wackers welcomed Islanders to their fray, presumably because they were pretty adept at busting skulls.
No, it’s not race that’s at issue here, it’s culture. And while the nulla culture of booze and boards might get up the noses of elites who would prefer all blue-collar yobbos in a western suburbs gulag, it’s a long way from armed gang attacks and rape.
Confused Sydney Morning Herald web diarist Andrew West wrote pithily on this earlier in the week. (I say confused because the net forum has forced Andrew to realise what every journalist should know instinctively: If you’re going to deliver an opinion, you’ll get assorted responses, including those from readers who have misunderstood your point. So Andrew withdrew his original article, then published an explanation, saw his original comments published in The Australian and finally returned the post to the forum.)
Andrew is still concerned that to discuss race-ethnicity and culture invites bigotry on one side and politically correct censorship on the other. He ought to have more confidence in the truth emerging from informed debate.
If we don’t discuss these vital issues and agree to act on shortcomings, we cede control to the bigots and the censors.
Yesterday, Peter Ryan in The Australian, recollected the shameful treatment politically correct censors gave to a great Australian, Geoffrey Blainey, 20 years ago when Blainey dared to question whether our rate of immigration was too intense for public comfort. Blainey’s crime was to wonder whether newcomers were coming from cultures so far removed from the Australian experience that it could cause long-term friction.
Of course, it’s history — scuse the pun — that vastly inferior scholars hounded Blainey from his Melbourne University head of history position for commiting the grevious crime of calling for wide discussion on a subject that touched every Australian, whether a sixth-generationer or fresh off the jet.
Uber contrarian Keith Windschuttle today in The Australian adds more substance to the contention that the riot was more about culture than race. And his facts are disturbing:
When the former principal of Punchbowl Boys High, a school dominated by Lebanese Muslim youth, suffered a breakdown and sued the NSW government, he gave an insight to the local culture.
Between 1995 and 1999, students armed with knives had threatened classmates, teachers were assaulted and gangs invaded classrooms.
On one occasion, the principal had a gun held to his head by a Lebanese gang member who threatened to shoot him.
One of his students was convicted of murdering a Korean schoolboy and three other students were jailed for their roles in some of Sydney’s most notorious gang rapes.
In 1997, during a house fire in another Sydney ethnic ghetto at Auburn, known as Little Lebanon, police and firefighters were attacked by youths hurling rocks.
An ambulance had a window shot out, ensuring all future ambulance calls to the locality were accompanied by police escort.
Of course, differences between the tribes that official multiculturalism encourages usually fade with emerging generations. Just in my circle of acquaintances, there is a Dutch-Aussie couple, a Turkish-Aussie pair, a German-Italian, a Scottish-Italian, an Irish-English and plenty of Aussie combinations who would severely admonish their kids for using a racial epithet.
But Windschuttle reveals there is one foundary where this melting pot is not getting stirred. Guess whose?
Only 6 per cent of Indians married within their ethnic group, as did only 18 per cent of Chinese.
In short, most immigrants, whatever their race, married Australians of other nationalities.
However, for the Lebanese, of whom most of marriageable age were Muslims, these figures were reversed.
No less than 74 per cent of Lebanese brides and 61 per cent of Lebanese grooms married within their own ethnic group.
Michael Duffy exposes another cultural sector reacting to the Nulla-Lebs conflict — middle-class snobs.
The usefulness of Cronulla last Sunday, of course, is that at last something bad did happen. But the outrage is as selective as ever. As has been reported elsewhere, Bondi Beach had problems with Lebanese gangs a few years ago, but the police response was serious and effective. After all, we can’t have that sort of thing going on at the beach used by wealthy people who’ve been to university. But the similar complaints by the white trash at underpoliced Cronulla have received less attention. Again, it’s as much to do with class and power as race.
Deny that, trendy Fairfax readers.
This comment at Tim Blair’s summarises the whole affair from a local, knowledgeable perspective. The following excerpt is right on the money. Then go and read the lot and ask why the hell isn’t the mainstream media digging into certain “root causes”.
The root cause of this is dirty ALP local politics and local political patronage. That is why Lebanese Muslim criminals in Iemma’s electorate are never affected by proper policing unless it is led by the Federal Police and or ASIO. The NSW Police are obviously under instructions not to upset the local criminal’s in Iemma’s electorate. His electorate is nearly 50% Muslim and they make up his local political base. He has to repay their support as they probably ran the ethnic sectarian branch stack that got Iemma into office in the first place. As a result Iemma has a hands off approach to law and order that might affect his political base. That is why there will be plenty of arrests of everyone except Lebanese Muslims