“F**K OFF, YOU INDIAN MONKEY!”
Last week revered neurosurgeon Charlie Teo commented about racism being alive and well in Australia.
Sandy Ghandi in Broome.
His Aussie-born and Chinese-featured daughter told him about being on Bondi beach during an Australia Day celebration when someone told her: “Go back to your own country”.
He later discovered an Indian colleague of his had been spat on for being black.
I can relate to both events because both have happened to me.
I migrated here from Bangalore as a 12-year-old in the 70s and, despite a list of prejudiced and race-related atrocities, many fabulous things have also happened.
I am now an Australian citizen. This is my home.
Jessica Rowe’s insightful piece posted on The Hoopla, I’m not a racist, but… reminded me of a couple of tongue-in-cheek columns I wrote for the Byron Bay newspaper, The Northern Star, about racism in sport and what prompted me to write them.
One sunny day in downtown Byron Bay in early 2008, for no apparent reason, a bunch of white blokes drove past me and yelled out, “Fucking Indian monkey! Fuck off back to your own country!” and then the gutless wonders sped off.
Turns out there was a reason. There had been reports of racist incidents on the cricket pitch, involving players from both teams of the India/Australia cricket match the day before.
I’m no sports-person, and although I’m Indian by birth and origin, I’m not a cricket enthusiast. (I do eat a lot of bananas but surely that doesn’t make me a monkey and, as an Aussie, I’m in my own country, so what?)
Initially I was shocked and hurt, but relieved this had happened in broad daylight around other people, rather than meeting these guys in the dark somewhere on my own.
Then I was pissed off. So I went home, researched the “monkey incidents” and wrote a piece at the time called “Cameras don’t lie, reporters do!”
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