Owns plasma TV, but still a racist

Photo of accommodation poster

This poster advertising share accommodation in Sydney is pretty typical of the genre — a list of features, tear-off tags with phone numbers, and the notice that you’d be the fifth person in a 3-bedroom apartment.

But there are two features worth pointing out.

1. Boasting that “Nobody sleeps in the living room!!!!!” reminds us that it’s now normal to over-crowd CBD apartments. These buildings were designed with a certain occupancy, so may the gods help them all in the event of a fire.

2. Saying “Europeans, North- and South Americans or Australian applications preferred” is just a coward’s way of saying “No blacks or Asians” — which is a bit rich for someone choosing to live in Sussex Street, right next to Sydney’s Chinatown.

Owners of mobile phones 0415 520 775 and 0403 220 688, you may well own a plasma TV and “really nice furniture”, but you’re still racist turds.

If it wasn’t for the fact that doing so might count as harassment, I’d suggest that we all phone you and say so.

16 Replies to “Owns plasma TV, but still a racist”

  1. Jason, I’ve linked to Jones’ Wikipedia profile to help the punters. And yes, this “shaming” tactic is so very beloved of the shock jocks, true. It’s more Derryn Hinch’s style than Jones’ perhaps.

    I felt uncomfortable being compared with Jones, at first, and then I thought about it.

    Jones and I both grew up on dairy farms, I see, but there’s a key difference in what we’re doing. Jones uses the media to incite racial hatred and stir up divisions. I’m pointing to the racist behaviour and saying what I think. And, actually, I’d call the author of the poster a turd to his or her face.

    Plus I guess I wouldn’t mind being “the most influential broadcaster in Australia”. I’d like to think I could do something a bit more constructive with the role than Jones has.

  2. What’s so bad about sleeping in the living room? The plasma’s probably there and if it’s a choice between the sacred plasma and the racist cunt, plasma wins every time!

  3. Ok maybe a faint comparison to Alan Jones is a bit harsh! There’s a difference between ‘insightful’ and ‘inciteful’ observations!

    Racism has lots of levels. I’m not sure preferential racism is equal to hateful racism, or if it makes the person a ‘cunt’.

    But really, I see lots (and I mean *lots*) of Asian-only ads. Let’s rip them down too, eh?

  4. Yes, let’s rip them down too.

    Just because I happen to criticise one example of “bad behaviour”, don’t assume I automatically therefore think all other behaviour is correct — or even that the example I pointed to is the most egregious.

    This is a blog, for gawd’s sake. It’s whatever happened to be on my mind when I had time to write, not a well-researched or balanced coverage of affairs.

    That said, I still think making judgements about people on the basis of their race is cuntful.

  5. But making judgements about people is different to having preferences. I just don’t get the angry, almost hateful, attitude you guys have towards those flatmate hunters.

  6. I mean, say some unasumming china girl posts an ad to share her room with another asian person. What a cunt turd!

  7. And posting someones mobile phone numbers… You’d *hope* it was a well researched, or at least thought through properly.

  8. These “preferences” are precisely at the core of racism. The word “prejudice” comes from “pre-judge”.

    Here, people are being judged on their suitability to share a home not on the basis of their character or ability to communicate or maintain a clean home or the interests they might share with their potential housemates, but one thing only — their race. As soon as they can be labelled “Asian” or “African”, it’s being assumed — automatically — that they’re unsuitable.

    This means our poster-posting friends have a stereotype in their heads that ignores the rich variety of humanity that can be lumped together under such broad headings as “Asian” and “African”. It means that a potential housemate is OK if they’re white.

    It offends me that human beings are categorised and judged in such a shallow way, solely on the basis of race.

    I strongly believe that such attitudes are poisonous to society. I am concerned that, increasingly, it’s seen as being OK to hold racist attitudes as long as it isn’t expressed with baseball bats, or if it’s softened with the language of “preference”, or if the racism is being expressed by an “unassuming girl”.

    Pre-judging someone on the basis of their race, before knowing anything else about them, _is_ racism.

    I believe more people should speak out about these issues.

    Posting the phone numbers was a thoughtful, deliberate act. They were already public, on a poster on the busiest street corner in Sydney and elsewhere, seen by vastly more people than read this blog.

    I see no harm in pointing at such people and saying, “I think what you’re doing is racist.” The very worst that can happen is that they might receive a few phone calls.

  9. Well, I do understand where you’re coming from. Fighting racism is more than amicable, it’s heroic. Because in modern Australia it’s not fashionable to go against the flow. And unfortunately “the flow” means a lot of preferential racism. I would even argue that multiculturalism in Australia is probably more akin to ghetto suburbs than integration. Ever tried getting a job in China town as a white man? Or an all-hispanic staffed fast food shop? I have. They have preferences. It’s just a reality we have to deal with.

  10. Jason, the “preferential employment practices” you refer to are precisely what the anti-discrimination laws are about.

    There’s no problem employing on the basis of the skills required for the job: it’s fine to say “Must speak fluent Mandarin, as most of our customers are Chinese.” Or Spanish because that’s the language in which the boss communicates with staff. The trick is employing on the basis of the skills required, not on your prejudices about those skills based on the colour of someone’s skin.

    But when it’s “just a reality we have to deal with,” I say we deal with it by changing it rather than giving in.

    I am, of course, hopelessly idealistic.

  11. So what? Have you seen the notice boards at UTS? They a FILLED with “Asian only” accommodation ads. Build a bridge, get over it or better yet, put up a post about all the Asian-only accommodation ads on the Gumtree website!

  12. @so what: As far as I can tell, your argument is that it’s OK for white people to be racist because non-white people are sometimes racist too, yeah? Or that somehow racism committed by “Asians” is somehow worse than other kinds? Or is somehow not noticed by the world? Sounds like a perfect pathway to tolerance and understanding to me. Not.

  13. No, that is not it at all. My point is this: racism in all its forms is a stinking pile of crap. All of it should be high-lighted and exposed for what it is: crap. In the workplace here in Australia, its probably an Anglo that is going to act in a racist manner.

    Expose it, discuss it, deconstruct it, educate and move on. Likewise when you look at on-line accommodation ads you very rarely see non-Asian advertising “Arabs preferred” or “Jewish person preferred” or “African girls only” or “whites only” but you see a ton of that from Asian posters. Its crap, expose it, discuss it, deconstruct it, educate the racist morons behind it and move on.

    Just because one group is racist doesn’t give another the right to be racist back. The flip side to that is the racist behaviour of minorities is just as an important discussion topic as the racist actions of the majority.

    There ARE morons out there that will use racism by the ‘others’ to justify their own racism. So, rather than just beating the majority around the head, we ALL need to take a stand against ALL FORMS of racism from within ALL communities.

    Maybe then progress can be made. Peace out.

  14. @so what: Ah, well this is where I was misled by your original suggestion to “Build a bridge, get over it”. To me, that means “Shut up, don’t complain, put up with the situation”. In fact you’re suggesting that we do complain about racism.

    And I am complaining about racism in this post. About this one specific instance of racism. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t also condemn other incidents. It’s just that on this one day, over two years ago, I happened to see this poster and wrote about it.

    Maybe on another day, I’ll see something else and complain about that…

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