Why not just go the whole hog and segregate the swimming pools?

11 03 2008

It ought to be one of the markers of a mature liberal democracy that this kind of shit doesn’t happen anymore:

An Alice Springs backpacker hostel may face legal action after it turned away a group of Indigenous people because of their skin colour.The 16 women and children had travelled 300 kilometres from Yuendumu to Alice Springs to train as lifeguards for their community’s new swimming pool.

They checked into the Haven Backpackers resort, but a short time later the manager told them that guests already staying there had complained of being scared.

The group included several young mothers and a three-month-old baby. Most were young leaders, chosen specially for their standing in the Yuendumu community.

The resort manager told Bethany Langdon from the Yuendumu Young Leaders program the group would have to leave.

“The manager came out and told me that we weren’t suitable to stay there,” she told ABC1’s Lateline program.

“They said, because you’re Aboriginal, other tourists were making complaints that they were scared of us.

“I felt like I wanted to cry, because it made me feel like I wasn’t an Australian.”

Ms Langdon says it is her first experience of overt racism. [ABC News]

Hover the cursor over the clock in the lower right corner of your computer screen. Yes, it does say 2008. Though in all fairness, I think most would be pretty disgusted by this. According to The Age, when the manager heard that the media had been contacted about the incident, she tried to offer the group a $480 bribe, and in a later statement declared that the hostel caters only to international guests (which, if true, does nothing to explain why the group was permitted to check into the hostel in the first place).

Take them to the cleaners, girls.

UPDATE: The opening sketch of this D-Generation YouTube says it all . . .

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6 responses

11 03 2008
Sammy Jankis

Wait for it… “Oh but you see, it’s a private business, so they can do what they like…”

11 03 2008
Sean the Blogonaut

Hey that backpackers is literally 5 minutes from house. Typical, the only time Alice Springs makes it into the headlines and its bad news.

That being said.

a) It was apparently international guests that were complaining (racism is alive and well everywhere)

b) I can not for the life of me understand how teenage girls can be that scary. Maybe something to do with media depiction of aboriginal people as violent savages?

Oh and I can assure you racism of this kind is alive and well in several other parts of the country as well.

11 03 2008
AV

It was apparently international guests that were complaining (racism is alive and well everywhere)

Certainly, but it doesn’t mean the manager was justified in pandering to their bigotry.

Oh and I can assure you racism of this kind is alive and well in several other parts of the country as well.

I agree, though rarely is it as blatant as it was on this occasion. And perhaps if any good can come out of this, it will be that racism in Australia is less easy to shrug off, deny or sweep under the carpet.

11 03 2008
Sean the Blogonaut

AV,

Didn’t mean to imply that I was justifying the to their bigotry. I do disagree with how blatant it is in other parts of the country. A workmate was told on a recent trip to queensland that she wasn’t welcome to stay at a certain motel, after she had booked ahead(she’s Aboriginal, well educated and articulate). I just think it’s rarely reported.

I don’t think this story will do anything – not when we have a race driven intervention (they had to ammend the discrimination act to bring it in) from the federal government. What can be more racist than quarantining your benefits because of the colour of your skin. Mind you the intervention was never really about saving children, but about winning votes.

End result a lot of companies/ individuals making a killing off construction and little to address the “real” problems that exist.

12 03 2008
AV

I don’t think this story will do anything

It’s quite possible that it won’t do anything: the Hanson phenomenon, the abominable treatment of asylum seekers and the Cronulla riots did little to help Australians acknowledge the racism that still persists among some in the community. But in those cases, you Howard and his cheer squad in the Murdoch press wailing about “political correctness” and insisting that Australia no longer had a problem with racism. Which meant that it became very hard to call a spade a spade without having the “PC” label slapped on you. Perhaps things will be different under a new government. Who knows?

There’s just something so “segregationist deep South” about this story that has to make people feel a little uncomfortable.

12 03 2008
Sean the Blogonaut

Don’t worry mate I was cringing when I heard the story. Ran into two of the girls at the corner shop. Very un-scary. Wish i’d had my mp3 player with me and I could have done an interview.

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