Bus Attacks: what lies behind those racist rants?

The Guardian has recently launched in Australia and I have written an article on Comment is Free on the recent spate of racist attacks on public transport. I also hope to be doing some research into the matter from within my affiliation to the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney. I am particularly interested in the way public space is used as a forum for the airing and contestation of ideas. A lot was made of how fellow passengers challenged the racist ranters in some of the cases: what contexts makes this possible, and in which circumstances (arguable the majority) do people remain the silent by-standers? I would like to interview passengers as well as bus drivers and public transport officials to get a sense of the phenomenon. I noted that on online fora, bus drivers were commenting on the incidents in relation to their codes of conduct, thus belying the notion that there is nothing to be done. It is clear that buses and other public spaces become containers for the airing of frustrations about a changing society, one that the racist ranters probably see as beyond their control; the bus contains a microcosm of that changing society, a racially marked one, that threatens the privilege of those made to feel that all is not right in their (white) world. As I argue in the Guardian article, these rants are an echo of the public policies that embed racism in public culture: the deaths of asylum seekers at sea and in detention, the disciplining and punishment of Aboriginal lives, and the moral panic around Muslims and Africans are not separate, but continuous, with the racist eruptions captured on these moving mini worlds.
Click here to read the article on The Guardian website…

One Comments

  • champs

    June 21, 2013

    Your article demonstrates leftist views and nothing else. Sadly, much of academia is full of leftist and radicals who like nothing better than a good chance of “Australia bashing” when given a chance in public forum. I find it interesting that people such as this never consider the racism that exists in Australia that is against “white” Australians. I find it bigoted to lump all “white” people together but I guess many politically correct-cool-aid drinkers feel that there are no differences between white people anyway (I think it demonstrates a very limited intellectual train of thought) -I think the reason why this is not considered is that it simply doesn’t fit the narrative. I speak 2 Asian languages quite well (no! how could a “white” person do this you ask?) and I experience much worse abuse than this every day in a LOTE. I find it sad that academia does not even consider this – but that would go against the leftist/marxist beliefs no doubt. But then again such people have no other choice in career but to hang around Universities..
    Whilst you article was entertaining, I think you could do better and examine the topic in a more holistic manner and without prejudice or bias. When writing articles for the real world one should always exercise impartiality on the subject matter. I give you a 65/100 -good luck for next semester!

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