SOUTPHOMMASANE’S SWAN SONG – Once more unto the multicultural grievance breach:
Panic over Melbourne’s so-called African gang crisis has dragged race relations in Australia to their lowest ebb in years, Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane says.
Dr Soutphommasane, whose five-year term comes to an end in August, told Fairfax Media the saga had opened the floodgates to some of the worst prejudice and racism he had witnessed during his tenure.
“The panic about African youth crime has undoubtedly done significant damage to racial harmony in Melbourne and Australian society more generally,” he said.
“There is never anything to be gained from focusing excessively on ethnicity and race around discussions around crime – there is very little to be gained from having race-based panic.”
Visiting Melbourne to take part in an Australian Human Rights Commission forum on race and media, the commissioner said that inflammatory comments by politicians were exacerbated by irresponsible reporting that explicitly linked crime to race and ethnicity.
Not being a Melbourne resident, I’m personally more concerned about the one-man Laotian gang on a spree spreading panic about racism.
Rather amusingly for a sympathetic story published in “The Age”, the readers’ comments are overwhelmingly disagreeing, and all in politest terms possible, no doubt demonstrating just how endemic and well entrenched racism is even amongst the seemingly most genteel sections of our society.