Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gang attacks on taxi drivers in Melbourne's West.

Will this incident threaten to re-ignite tensions between Australia and India again, after the "curry-bashing" attacks of a few years ago?

A cab driver was racially abused as he was viciously beaten by a gang of thugs who ambushed and robbed five taxis in separate incidents in Melbourne's west overnight. Up to six men wearing balaclavas and armed with baseball bats pulled up in two stolen cars and attacked the drivers at Sunshine, Brooklyn and Laverton North between midnight and 1:00am this morning. One victim suffered serious head injuries. The owner of the taxi the man was driving says the driver was taunted as he was beaten with baseball bats. "They hit very badly you know, abusing him, you know, saying you're Indian, go back to your country," owner Sunny Singh told Fairfax radio.

Welcome to Melbourne's "Wild" West. Interestingly, despite the "go back to your country" taunts, it appears that the suspects are a gang of Pacific Islanders. I guess violent thugs are not known for their sense of irony.

When attacks on Indians in Australia dominated the headlines a few years ago, one of the big debates was whether they were racially motivated or merely opportunistic. In truth, the diverse nature of the attacks meant that it was difficult to generalise. But this case shows an example of an attack in which racism plays a part yet was probably not the motivation. The gang appears clearly to have robbery as its primary motive, and was probably not committing robbery out of any racial motive. The taunts are part of the attack but probably not the reason for it - they are just the sort of thing that spews out of the mouth of a stupid thug as he beats someone up.

That said, it is possible that the driver got such a heavy beating due to his race. You wonder why the attackers were so brutal, when they could have just taken his money and left. Would they have been quite as violent to a taxi driver who was white? African? East Asian? Pacific Islander? Probably... I'm not seriously advancing this theory, but nonetheless I think it's something worth pondering when we consider what exactly constitutes racially-motivated crime.


See also:

Addressing the myths and misconceptions about anti-Indian violence in Australia (from 2010)

"Curry-bashing" on the rise in Melbourne - Indian students targeted (from 2009)

9 comments:

  1. Interestingly, despite the "go back to your country" taunts, it appears that the suspects are a gang of Pacific Islanders. I guess violent thugs are not known for their sense of irony.


    Yeah, it's funny. I once attended a party that had many Asian people, and a few random Hispanic guys tried to crash the party. Of course, it was already a big party, and the organizers didn't want any unknown outsiders coming in, so they barred them access.

    The Hispanic guys were incensed, and as they were leaving the area, they started acting tough and saying things like, "f**k all Asians, go back to China!"

    This annoyed Middle Eastern girl at the party then instantly said, "go back to Mexico!"

    I think you were spot-on when you said that believing that Asians or other non-white minorities will somehow be more enlightened than white people when it comes to issues like racial prejudice and xenophobia, is foolish. One only has to look at their attitudes towards minorities/outsiders in countries where they're the majority.

    Xenophobia seems to be a natural part of the human condition. It only takes the right devil's brew of conditions to trigger it.

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  2. Xenophobia and prejudice are natural parts of the human condition, I can't argue with you there.

    But then again, so are farting and masturbating. It's important to acknowledge they happen, but neither are things we should be overly proud to display.

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  3. But then again, so are farting and masturbating. It's important to acknowledge they happen, but neither are things we should be overly proud to display.

    True, they should not be openly celebrated. But then again, neither should they be condemned as the greatest evils known to man, and those who engage in such behavior (in a reasonable, non-blatant manner) should not be seen as Nazi-spawn.

    When any and all concern about non-white immigration, population growth, and the dramatic long term changes that such a radical demographic shift brings, is castigated as "racist, "xenophobic," etc, it leaves a void for extremists to come in and fill.

    Just look at what's happening in European politics right now. If the European leftist elite had been more willing to honestly tackle the problems of immigration, and the racial problems brought about by such immigration, you wouldn't have far right parties making tremendous gains from France to Austria. Even Sweden has a far right party in parliament now.

    So yes, let's not have a free-for-all xenophobia party, Eastern European football style, but at the same time, there should be an honest discussion, and not simply condemnation of farters and masturbators out there. Guys masturbate for a reason, after all.

    Also, if you hang out with enough young male adolescents, you'll find that from time to time, they do indeed openly discuss masturbation, with little to no social repercussions, LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I basically agree with that. Concerns about immigration and multicultural policies do not make someone a racist, even though there is obviously significant overlap.
      One of my concerns though is: how do you have a honest reasoned discussion without it descending into the same old pattern of racists bring racist and anti-racists labelling everyone who diagrees with them as racist? I would love to think there are enough reasonable people on both sides that we can do this, but that might be a little too optimistic.

      Delete
    2. I would agree that it's a bit optimistic.

      The problem is that race is such a taboo and emotionally charged topic in the Western world nowadays that the type of reasonable, open minded people needed the most in such discussions probably shy away from them.

      They figure that it's just not worth it.

      Delete
  4. This is very bad. Yellow Taxi drivers are quite humble and they are very helpful. Police should take quick action against the thugs.

    ReplyDelete
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