Monday, October 5, 2009

Want to abuse an Indian? Don't pick on a kabaddi wrestler

You may remember that Epping in Melbourne's north was the site of an apparently racially-motivated bashing of four Indian men 2 weeks ago. Clearly there is something in the water up in Epping, because the suburb is in the news again over another outburst of racial violence.

There is a skate park located next to the Meadowglen International Athletics Stadium, which on Sunday afternoon was host to a kabaddi tournament which attracted 5000 mostly Indian spectators. As the event came to a close and people start to leave the venue, one or more teenage skateboarders were in the carpark. According to reports, a youth obstructed one of the cars from leaving, and yelled at the occupants, "f*** off you black c***!" As the Indians confronted him, he smashed their car window with his skateboard. Two men aged 25 and 42 came to the aid of the skaters and were beaten with sticks in the ensuing ruckus.

Interestingly, Inspector Mark Doney from the local police told the media "I think he got his just desserts (from) the occupants of the vehicle after he smashed the window of their car." And while I'm sure many would agree, it kinda sounds like an endorsement of mob justice to me.

The people from the skate park were all white Australian as far as I can tell. I mention this only because certain sections of the public and media want to portray the recent spate of attacks as being "ethnics on ethnics", with white people the innocents. Clearly, that is incorrect - as I've stated clearly before on this blog, this is a phenomenon that cuts across ethnic boundaries.

If you've no idea what kabbadi (pictured) is, it is an ancient north Indian team sport which is a bit like tag, but involves catching and wrestling opponents who invade your territory. I once watched some guys practising on an oval near my house, and they were the most powerfully-built Indians I've ever seen. Not the kind of people I would be in a hurry to racially abuse.

I guess the skaters made the stereotypical assumption that the "black c***s" they were telling to "f*** off" were of the meek and mild variety. Obviously they wouldn't have known that the men in the car were participants in the kabaddi tournament, hosted by a team called the "Panjab Warriors". And leaving when they did (as awards were being presented) might indicate that these guys had lost and were not in the sort of mood to be trifled with. And given that the whole Melbourne Indian community is on edge of late due to the upsurge in racist violence against them, I'm not surprised that they retaliated, or that some of them had weapons on hand.

The 25- and 42-year-old men have been released from hospital with minor injuries. I certainly don't excuse what happened to them, but hopefully the skaters will learn that being a racist dickhead has consequences. Of course I doubt they'll ever learn, but you never know.


  1. hey there. i saw you on swpd. just wondering, did you keep count of how many of the so-called 'curry bashings' were by 'white' and how many by other pocs?...not that that would make one okay and the other not.

    I ask because I was talking to a friend (Eurasian) about racism and the bashings, but she countered me saying, 'You know, they say that most of them were by the Lebanese.' I didn't have any factual info with me, so I had to shut up after that.

    (Speaking of which, I'm actually a bit surprised that she's in denial about racism in Oz...the pattern I've noticed with her is that she'll say racism is there when she brings it up, but then when i bring it up she'll go into denial and counter me as she did with the bashings in Melbourne. I'm a little confused. I'm not sure if me being fully Asian has anything to do with it.)

  2. @ fromthetropics - welcome, yes I've seen a few of your posts on that site, I like the cut of your jib.

    You've come to the right place, I've been monitoring this issue pretty obsessively actually. That said, I haven't really kept a running tally. The reason being is that there is plenty of stuff that doesn't get reported. And also it is hard to say if some cases of Indians getting bashed are relevant to the discussion. For example, there were some security guards attacked at Deakin University the other week, and I heard that at one or both were Indian, though I don't know for sure. If they are, I'm still not sure if it is relevant to this phenomenon or not.

    But I can tell you a few things with certainty:

    Regarding the Lebanese angle, that may be largely true of the attacks that occurred in the Sydney suburb of Harris Park. However I'm not aware of this happening elsewhere to any significant degree.

    Regarding the white/POC ratio, its really hard to say, but I'd wager its pretty representative of the population as a whole. My argument all along has been that it is a symptom of a violent culture among young adults in general, which cuts across ethnic lines. Racism is an exacerbating factor but not necessarily the root cause. So in a suburb with lots of Vietnamese or Sudanese, you might find those groups represented as perpetrators more often; whereas in a mostly Anglo area it will be mostly Anglos doing the bashing.

    But there have definitely been plenty of agenda-driven white Australians who have been trying to spin this as all by "ethnics". I strongly refute that. There have been plenty of white people involved, but since whites are "the norm", their ethnicity is not noticed. But if the perpetrator is a POC, some white people use it to reinforce prejudices that they would never consider applying to a white person.

    I've written plenty about it on this site, so if you click on the "curry-bashing" label, you will find plenty of reading material.

    Keep stopping by! I look forward to hearing more from you.

  3. Your recent post reminded me that I forgot to say thank you for the explanation. It was something I've been wondering about, and I did notice that you had been following the story quite 'religiously', so I thought maybe you also kept a tally.

    But yeah, the media does omit descriptions when crime (or anything that the mainstream disapproves of) is done by a Caucasian. I suppose it's assumed that it's Caucasian, but the by-product is, as you say, more prejudice.

  4. @ fromthetropics: "media does omit descriptions when crime (or anything that the mainstream disapproves of) is done by a Caucasian."

    I must say this is not exactly true. It may happen to a certain degree, but I have seen plenty of descriptions of assailants listed as white or caucasian. Indeed, I've heard plenty of people arguing that police descriptions of offenders of certain ethnic groups actually deliberately omit a racial description. I'm not sure of the truth of this either.

    More pertinent is that the public don't really register the race of Caucasian perps being relevant. An offender named John Smith would just be viewed as an offender. But should the offender's name be John Nguyen or John Mohammad, his race becomes relevant, and will be used as an example of the failings of multiculturalism.

  5. >I have seen plenty of descriptions of assailants listed as white or caucasian

    I see. I'll have to pay more attention to that then. (Come to think of it, the 'ethnic' group I notice most often is 'Aboriginal' as opposed to migrants.) But yeah, I get what you mean about how ppl make assumptions based on the name.