Sunday, July 3, 2011

Have you forgotten that we were boat people too?

My whole family came here on boats at one time or another. My whole family are the product of boat people. Well, maybe not my Hungarian Grandfather, he might have flown here after the war, so i guess he's a plane person but the rest of us, BOAT PEOPLE.

Sure it was some 200 years ago but i think a lot of Australians forget that most of us come from boats. Some of our families came as "settlers" looking for a better life. Many of our ancestors came in chains, criminals kicked out of a country that had so many criminal it had to start exporting them. 

Don't misunderstand me I am not ashamed of my country's, or my family's, heritage but we came here as less than nothing.  I am the genetic product of a boat load of convicts, thieves,whores and probably one or two corrupt policemen. Our families we sent to the end of the earth where we couldn't bother the nice, more respectable people of England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales .

Today was the first time i have ever known any of my family to be overtly racist. I have to say it was a shock, especially considering where our family came from. Many of our ancestors worked hard to remove the convict label from their names and to become 'respected'  but i guess my self-righteous middle class relatives don't want to think about that when they post on their facebook about people "going back to their own country".

I love my family but one of them really shamed me today. I don't know how we mend that. I'm married to someone wanting to immigrate and my relative is the kind of person who enjoys posting slogans like "F*** off  boat people we are full" on their facebook. Not a whole lot left to say to each other after that little gem. 

For the first time i today i felt ashamed of some of my family. I never realized there was racism so close to home, i thought it was just idiots in Cronulla and insecure rednecks with nothing better to talk about. I feel ashamed. I can accept my family used to be criminals but i don't think i can make peace with a bunch of ignorant racists. 


  1. That's really hard. My dad thinks he's very tolerant, but a lot of things still slip out that can shock me. I definitely have a different view of the world than many of my relatives, both from my level of education and social justice oriented field, and from my relationship with A. It's definitely hard to feel those gaps grow.

  2. I have a few close friends who suffered our detention's awful. At the same time my family can also express really ignorant racist views - especially towards black people. I don't really know how to handle it, my strategy is just to cut myself off because obviously I don't want to expose L to that. It's tricky...

  3. Sounds like Oz is a hard place to be. But showing u'r rage being a kind of racist doesn't sounds that good too. And probably few words are offending. Good can defeat evil. This can often be a hard thing to do, but if we persist in doing good, we will usually find that they will start being good to us as well

  4. i think if we really look inside ourselves we'll find most of us are racist in one way or another. your relative was just honest on facebook .... there are moments when i find myself saying/thinking/doing certain things that really make me ashamed. don't be embarrassed of your family member and by all means, don't stop talking to them! what's gonna happen if s/he only ends up talking to those who agree with them? remember the key to honesty: speak the truth with love :D and good luck! (i know, it's so much easier said than done!)