tl, dr.

Cultural Assimilation

November 13th, 2009

A while back, I saw a today tonight article about ethnic groups living in “ghettos” around Melbourne. The general implication was that immigrants weren’t “assimilating” or learning “English” because of this.

Anyhow, as an individual who has experienced being completely marginalised by society, I would like to advocate that these “enclaves” are actually a good thing.

Back in the 1950’s white Australians also lived in “enclaves”. People didn’t have cars (an environmental blessing!) so they tended to live, work and socialize in their own suburbs. This independence of suburbs resulted in rivalry between suburbs, which was expressed through football, in the VFL. Also each suburb had it’s own unique character as a result. The houses didn’t have high fences like they do today…people were friendly and actually communicated with their neighbours.

Anyhow, if you take the opposite of this, also an example from the 1950’s; the stolen generation, who were stripped of any sense of community, history and identity…what happened to these people? They suffered from this social marginalization and died early deaths from drugs and criminal activity as they had no means of coping with being simultaneously removed from their own culture, while not being accepted into white culture. In my personal experience I can relate to this. If you have no knowledge of your family history, or if that history is a particularly negative one, then it is very hard to build a positive sense of self, and very hard to find direction in life because you have no blue-print or positive role-models to learn from. I think if you have no past, to some extent there is no future as well.

So I find it really disgusting that white Australians, via the media, are being “critical” of any culture / suburb that is able to maintain a unique character and sense of community. Because white Australians have lost any sense of community or family allegiance, and have the social problems to deal with as a result, they are apparently jealous of any culture who still has what they discarded. This jealousy is expressed through racism. At least these communities can deal with their own problems in a way that is culturally sensitive and they maintain their links with the past, and thus, have a sense of belonging.

White communities are completely fragmented. Families and friends live hours apart, who all live hours from thier workplaces. The automobile is the only thing that holds our society together, and that is why automobiles, mobile phones and the internet are so important to us now. Without them we would be in complete isolation, imprisoned behind high-fences.

I don’t like how the culture I am supposed to assimilate with and function within, relies upon all these unsustainable technologies to maintain a sense of connection. Enclaves are a practical and sustainable of building and maintaining communities, as demonstrated by the hipsters, cyclists and artists who live in an “enclave” of their own in the Fitzroy-Northcote areas. But then, the media doesn’t need to run scare campaigns to dismantle this community, they simply keep pushing up the rent until artists can’t afford to live there anymore.

Assimilation is mandatory, even for white Australians. Racism can be extended to dole bludgers, artists and anyone who looks or thinks differently in the pursuit of a homogeneous culture, devoid of diversity or sense of community. Once again, it is moronic for the media to continually call for the development of more “community values” when condemning violence and vandalism, while simultaneously marginalizing any group who attempts to maintain or establish their community values, and using the never-ending growth in the “housing market” as the soul measure of our nation’s collective wealth, optimism¬† and happiness.

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