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Sydney, race, crime and terrorism

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posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 10:26 AM
I don't want to go over this too much as it seems to have been quite comprehensviely covered, although I worry about the readiness of many to racialise crime and the problems of urban social change in the 21st century and use the facts of extremist Islamic terrorism as a vindicating excuse to do this...

After reading the account of an ex Aussie policeman on another thread posted today, I did some reading around and found an interesting academic paper by a Jock Collins, who is a Sydney University of Technology Economics Professor titled: Immigrant Crime in Europe and Australia.

Some good quotes (please excuse the length):


"Of course, the criminal ethnic gangs that are involved in people smuggling or in large scale drug smuggling are a very different phenomena from the groups of young immigrants or ‘ethnics’ who hang out on street corners and shopping malls in Sydney, Paris, Brussles or London. Yet the immigrant crime discourse in Australia and Europe, fanned by a seemingly inexhaustible supply of sensationalist media editors, throws a blanket across these two extremes of immigrant crime and all points in between. This leads to a moral panic about crime that politicians of most sides of the political spectrum find irresistible to exploit in an opportunist, though dangerously myopic, way. It also leads to an excessive focus on the cultural, rather than socio-economic, dimensions of crime and thus often diverts policy responses to immigrant crime away from employment, education, housing and urban renewal and concentrates on religion – especially Islam following September 11, 2001 – and cultural traits. Just as such a blanket, sensationalist approach to immigrant crime blurs important boundaries and complex differences in the dynamics of contemporary immigrant crime in Australia and the European Union, so to does it reproduce (mostly negative) cultural stereotypes towards immigrant minorities, extending by implication or accusation the criminal activities of the few to the cultural traits of the many."

"Despite variations, there is a common denominator to these new Right parties throughout Europe: their anti-immigration stance and the association of immigrants and immigration with crime. This is then
wrapped up in a populist spin, which leads to a discourse about how only they – the right wing party leaders – have the guts to challenge the pervading powerful political correctness to echo what is in the
minds of ordinary people. This populist discourse is generally also wrapped up in an anti-politician stance that mainstream parties cant be trusted to understand the ordinary people, and also usually with an anti globalisation. The latter is dressed in a xenophobic rhetoric that purports to defend the national culture from incursion by outside people (immigrants) and the nation state from incursion by outside
governments and, in many instances, capital. All of these elements were present in the rise and fall of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party in Australia."

"Over eighty per cent of those surveyed were from a non-English speaking background who lived in south-western Sydney. This is important, since more than half of those who live in Sydney today are first or second generation immigrants, with an increasing number from a non-English speaking background (NESB). Most of the adults were surveyed in a language other than English. Their voices are often ignored in the English-language based telephone opinion polling that dominates contemporary
Australian politics.

The survey gives a clear message, absent from recent media coverage and political point-scoring, that Sydney’s NESB immigrants are much more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators of crime.
This is particularly the case of ethnic youth in Sydney who are more often labeled as criminals than as victims of crime."

Do try to give the paper a flick before going 'ahhhh but...' as my lengthy (and probably quite unwieldy) quotes kinda need to be taken in reference to the sections of the paper in their entirety...

The fact that phenomenon of right wing politics escalating the fear of minorities through using crime and terrorism as ways of labling them as 'culturally difficult' or downright anti-social is a problem throughout the developed world, and we shouldnt be applauding it, but questioning it...

Jock Collins: Immigrant Crime in Europe & Australia


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