Fear and Prejudice

June 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Australia, History, Politics, Psychology, Social Responsibility, Society, War and Conflict, Ways of Living | 6 Comments
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Australia’s first boat people

I received an email this morning from someone I will call James – one of those circular ones that play on the fears and prejudices of people to stir up emotions that suit their cause. It came from the U.K. and I live in Australia, but these things spread like a pandemic.

Note spelling

   This one stirs up xenophobia, nationalistic pride and fear against, mainly, Islamic migrants and the ‘fact’ that they aim to make ‘our’ nation into something it’s not.

The theme of the email is, “Speak our language, appreciate and conform with our established culture and customs, leave your own where you came from, or don’t come here at all”.

  To support their cause , the writers of the email have quoted a speech they attribute to our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. In the speech, Ms Gillard is purported to have said words to the effect of, “If you don’t want to be like us, don’t come”. 

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Now, Ms Gillard is too intelligent to say such things. If she had, it would be in all the media outlets and shouted out by some to support their cause or by others to denounce her politically.

I am tired and saddened by items such as this, sent on through hundreds and thousands of personal computers by people who are too eager to pass on their own fears and prejudices. In doing so, they are supporting and propagating those fears and prejudices in others. So, I wrote back to James – and all those to whom he sent the email (he didn’t BCC them!).

Hi James, and the others on your list to whom this email went out.

I just wanted to make a few comments on this email and others like it that have been circulating for some time now.

Julia Gillard did not say the things attributed to her (even if she ever thinks some of them at times, she wouldn’t say them publicly). This is a speech by some American, in which Gillard’s face and Australia’s name have been substituted for political reasons.

Have a closer look at it and you will see that it describes the US culture and political system, not Australia’s. For example, Gillard is an atheist, and wouldn’t base a speech on the Christian foundations of our nation (all that is American).

Whilst many people will agree to varying levels with what’s written here, false attribution is dishonest and destructive. It is part of the whole fear-driven agenda of one section of society to get support for their own desires and, because it is fear based, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fact that these emails are so popular is in itself proof of that.

I urge all people to look behind these email campaigns to find the truth. The speech was probably made by someone, but it was not Gillard, and that is one of the things that make the whole campaign severely suspect.

Those who wish to control public opinion find that fear is their best weapon, and this is an excellent example of their rallying cry. Regardless of what any of us believe, we need to use intellect and reason, not emotion, to work out the truth of any of those beliefs.

Regards, Linda

I don’t know whether my reply to James and his friends will make any of them think a bit more deeply about what they hear and read. I may even be cut off from James’s mailing list because of it. But it had become too much – constantly receiving such destructive correspondence, and being unable t do anything about it.

But this time, I have done something – the email I sent, and this blog entry, may just get somebody somewhere to examine the bases of their thinking.

 

Do you receive emails like this? Do you read them? Delete them right away? Respond to them?

Do you like to receive such communications? Do you like to have your own beliefs supported? Or do they make you question what you believe and why?

 

 

© Linda Visman 29.06.2012

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6 Comments »

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  1. I love your response. So sane. I think we need to be honest enough to express our differences, but not to see them as threat, rather as opportunities for working towards a form of unity in society which transcends the very fear and prejudice you speak of. Thanks for a great post.

  2. Thank you, Don. How good it would be if fear and xenophobia no longer ruled! But we all know that humans are tribal. That tribalism brought about Man’s survival in the face of almost impossible odds. However, what was once a survival mechanism has become a destructive force. Man’s and emotional development has not kept pace with his intellectual development, and is now a threat in itself.

  3. People say there’s this “racism” problem. They say this “racism” problem will only be solved when people from the Third World pour into every white country… and only white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan and Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve their “racism” problem by bringing in millions of Third World immigrants and “assimilating” them.

    But they do say the solution to this “racism” problem is for every white country, and only white countries, to “assimilate” (which means: have kids with) all those other people… who outnumber white people many times over.

    What if you said there was this “racism” problem which could only be solved by bringing hundreds of millions of non-Black people into every Black country… and only Black countries? How long would it take someone to realize you weren’t really talking about solving a “racism” problem, you were just talking about a genocide? And what kind of Black person wouldn’t object to that?

    But if I tell the obvious truth about the campaign of genocide against white people, then liberals and “respectable” conservatives all agree: I must be a “racist”.

    They say they’re “anti-racist”, but what they really are is anti-white.

    “Anti-racist” is just a code word for anti-white.

    • Pechorin, I think that racism is alive and well in every society – that is because we are all human. Some attempts to reverse discrimination have actually caused reverse discrimination. I am hoping, perhaps forlornly, that people will become more tolerant and accepting of others who have any difference to themselves.

  4. I note Pechorins comment and while I disagree on the nature and implied severity of the problem (it is probably a bit different from the described concept), I do accept that there is also a problem with the “anti-racist” idea – but that extends to many other aspects of social and political commentary. e.g. “homophobic” “anti-environment” “conservationist” “conservative” “left-wing” “religious” etc etc.

    However, as far as your response goes – when people send you information that appears to be exaggeration or even untruth it is easy just to ignore it and press ‘delete’. But it takes bravery and honesty to correct people or to say you disagree. Well done.


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