Racism leaves Chinese immigrant feeling alienated

Posted: May 15, 2012 by sonsieau in Melbourne, Social Issues
Tags: , , ,

by Michael Sones

The recent attack on two Chinese students highlights the racial and cultural difficulties Chinese immigrants face in Australia.

Kristy Zhou, a twenty-seven year-old student from Hubei province in China, has faced many instances of both subtle and overt racism that have left her feeling frustrated and alienated. Despite living in Australia for three years she says, “I realise I’m not seen as Australian here.” 

A 2011 report by Monash University found that fourteen per cent of Australians have experienced racism, a sharp increase from ten percent in 2010.

Racism has also caused Kristy to leave two separate positions of employment, one working at a charity and another as a barista. ”It was the first time I dealt with Australians other than family,” she said, “and I didn’t know how to deal with that. It wasn’t something I expected.”

Before coming to Australia Kristy knew very little about the nation beyond the Gold Coast, and said there’s not much said about the Australian national identity where she’s from.

Kristy mentioned that students are forming groups and unions in an attempt to lessen incidents against them. She went on to say that they shouldn’t have to and hopefully won’t have to in the future. She believes cultural difficulties are the stem of most issues, and education is needed to prevent attacks and misunderstandings.

Despite feeling more wary of others she hasn’t stopped wanting to associate with Australians and is still excited to live in Australia.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has recently held public consultation around Australia in an attempt to establish a national strategy for tackling racism. It is expected to launch its strategy during July 2012.

Click to listen to some of the Interview.

  1. mschneiders says:

    An important topic to cover Michael. An issue not just for those directly involved, but for Australia as a whole as it reflects the kind of society we are, and aim to be. Thanks, Mara

  2. Karisa McCauley says:

    Hi Michael,
    I am often surprised at how much racism people face in Australia. It is stories like yours that help to raise awareness about the issue and hopefully resolve this problem.

  3. Max says:

    I have been living here in china for quite some time. My experience here hasn’t been all negative; however, the amount of racism i have encountered here on a day to day basis from these ignoramouses simply based on the colour of my skin has been appalling. I don’t know the character of these particular chinese victims in AUS, but it should impress upon them that the white ‘gods’ they strive to lionize may not as accepting of them as they think.

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