Ed’s note: Stephen is the BBC reporter who asked former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo whether Australians are racist. Here he explains why he asked the question.

G’day, mate! Strewth. Did you hear what Kevin said about that Mexican and his amigos. Gave it to him straight, cobber, like a true blue Aussie. Senor Sol won’t be going walkabout near our billabong any time soon.

Offensive, isn’t it? And it’s offensive because it’s patronising. It’s a tired cliché that portrays Australians falsely as hicks and provincials and so distorts and devalues a modern country.

Which is presumably exactly what all those sombreros and cheap Mexican tunes and words like “adios” were meant to do. Rather than take Sol Trujillo on his merits, it was his background that was the salient point about him.

He might have been one of the most accomplished businessmen on the planet, with a good track record in North America and Europe, but in Australia he was first and foremost a Mexican (even though he’s actually an American citizen, the son of Mexican migrants who moved to make good).

It would be a bit like a perpetual and relentless coverage of Rupert Murdoch as a larrikin in an Akubra hat with corks on the end of strings. Mainstream British and American newspapers just wouldn’t do it (and not just because he owns a chunk of them). Cliches like that don’t illuminate. They would just be a bit tedious and, well, second rate.

Which doesn’t mean that stereo-typing is always unfunny. When Crocodile Dundee did it, it was self-parody. The joke was against the people who thought that that’s what Australia was really like.  I’m allowed to refer to myself in self-parody as “just a simple Taffy” (I’m from Old South Wales), but if an Englishman does so, it’s patronising and offensive (not quite enough to send me to the International Court of Human Rights, but enough for me to lower my glass and direct an epithet in what I imagine would be an Australian sort of way).

So all that’s what struck me about the word “adios” when Kevin Rudd was reported to have uttered it.  It prompted me to file it in my mind to put to Mr Trujillo when I had interviewed him for the BBC at a techie conference in San Diego.

As I understood his answer, he agreed that the way he was portrayed was a little irritating, particularly since the sombreros started even before he arrived. But he didn’t convey any great anger as though serious hate crime had been committed.  It was somewhat offensive, but he seemed disappointed by it all rather than angry. 

And it would obviously be very silly for anyone to accuse Australia of being a particularly racist country just after a white supremacist had gone to the Holocaust Museum in Washington and shot people in an anti-Semitic outburst, or shortly after British voters elected two members of the whites-only British National Party to the European Parliament, or just after Romanian migrants in Northern Ireland had been driven from their homes by stonings.

But there is a question to be asked about the language of discourse and whether that reveals anything. An Australian friend of mine who lives in Sydney but who happens to have a brown skin because her ancestors came from India via South Africa notices on mainstream television when Asian Australians are referred to as if they weren’t quite true Australians (it’s a matter of “we” for white Australians and “they” for Asian Australians).

In mongrel countries (gloriously mongrel countries, to my mind) these subtleties of language matter as we try to rub along together. I have a black British friend and one who is British of Chinese and European parentage.  Both were educated in pukka English schools, and so both really do seem to me to be more English than I am. And that’s because they are. Their accents and up-bringing exude a well-heeled Englishness that I, as a Welshman, don’t have. Class trumps colour. Nationality is about the mind and not the skin.

It’s hard to imagine the Prime Minister of Britain or the President of the United States saying “adios” to an American businessman whose parents happened to have come from Mexico. Silvio Berlusconi of Italy is the only prominent leader who might have done so. His “sun tan” remark about Obama had the same ring of racial disparagement (let’s not ponder the case of the great holocaust denier in Tehran).

It should be added, though, that, closer to home, the family of the Queen of Australia (as Australians voted to keep her) does also have form on this. The Duke of Edinburgh was reported in 1986 as referring to Chinese people as “slitty-eyed”. The Palace, implying that the remarks were accurately reported, said: “What were intended as light-hearted comments were inappropriate”.

His son, Prince Charles, was revealed more recently to refer to an Asian polo player as “sooty”. Again, the reaction was: “It was just a joke”.

Those around him couldn’t quite see the problem. One Lady Sara Apsley (whose polo club it apparently was) said, according to the Gloucester Echo: “Sooty is a fantastic friend of ours and he couldn’t care less about his nickname. I imagine there are millions of people across the world called names with racial intonations (sic) but they’re not meant maliciously”.

But the point is that they couldn’t quite see what the problem was, even as the rest of the country rolled its eyes. It made them seem remote, from another world and time.

So there’s lots to analyse in the way Australia reacted to Sol when he arrived and the way that Australia reacted to his criticism once he’d gone.

Much of the reaction was scornful, along the lines of: “How dare anyone question Australian attitudes?  Much, too, failed to get the point: “Mexican stand-off on Sol’s race slur”, as The Age put it without any hint of irony.

Hell clearly hath no fury like Australia scorned. Or to quote Shakespeare:  “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”. The indignation was a little excessive. A confident people might have shrugged and smiled - and quietly engaged in a little self-questioning.

Most commented

43 comments

Show oldest | newest first

    • Adam Dennis says:

      07:50am | 25/06/09

      No, Stephen, there isn’t “lots to analyse”. Australia very happily accepts those from elsewhere when they comport themselves well. Sol would probably have been called “the Mexican” even more had we liked him. If you’re tall and likeable you probably get called Stumpy. It’s not an insult, it’s how we differentiate. If we as a nation had wanted to insult Mr Trujillo, we probably would’ve repeatedly used the “oils ain’t oils” reference in newspaper articles.

      By the way; while your introductory paragraph was cliched, I can’t see any way in which it could be deemed offensive. Maybe they don’t speak like that in George St. Sydney, but it reflects the speech of true blue Aussies ... and that’s something we should feel pride and ownership about. Stephen, I just don’t think you get it.

      As someone who started the debate this time around, you seem remarkable out of touch with the true nature and motivation of Australians. Could you stop being so frickin’ intellectual and analytic, and see our national character for what it is? We give people and things names other than their birth names because it makes the world interesting. And as for saying “adios” to Sol ... does that mean I shouldn’t say “ciao” to my friends of Italian descent? That sort of criticism just smacks of a freelance journalist trying to drum up a bit of profile.

    • Jonathan says:

      08:01am | 25/06/09

      I fail to see why saying “adios” to someone of mexican descent is racist.  dare i say that if trujillo had actually done a good job and left on good terms and with telstra in better shape than when he arrived, the farewell may have been “adios, amigo.”  as it was, he was nobody’s friend by the time he left.
      I think we should keep race/sexuality/religion out of the debate when discussing someone’s competence or lack thereof.

    • Eddie says:

      08:50am | 25/06/09

      We recently spent 10 years living in Oz, and did observe a lot of racist attitudes from otherwise lovely people.  The worst of this was directed at Aboriginals with off hand comments - it was assumed we were “like-minded”. The frequent boast of a multi-racial, multi-cultural society seems a tad defensive.  Maybe working to achieve a bi-culteral society first would have been a good idea?

    • David says:

      08:56am | 25/06/09

      I agree with all the above but in my long experience with people of all social strata and socioeconomic groups at the coal face of general medical practice , I have found that everyone is a racist and it is only a matter of degree . Of course , the intelligentsia , will argue the whys and wherefores but racism is inherent in all of us and you will find that the folk who loudly proclaim ‘’ I AM NOT A RACIST ‘’ are usually the worst of them . Just get them talking in private and unguarded and it would made abundantly clear .
      As I have said before , making laws and guidelines against the vagaries of human nature and genetics and to make them work is almost impossible .
      Take a good look at yourselves in the mirror and reflect !
      Good luck !

    • Belinda says:

      08:58am | 25/06/09

      “..the family of the Queen of Australia (as Australians voted to keep her)..”. Ah no.  I think you’ll find she was just the least unpalatable option.

    • Jeff from Meroo says:

      09:27am | 25/06/09

      When this topic came up the questions were around whether Australia is a racist country.  Those that say it 100% isn’t are self centred idiots.  They might not be racist so they assume that everyone else in this vast country of ours isn’t as well and were overseas during the Cronulla Riots.  Is saying adios to Sol racist??  No, not really but it can be.  Calling Sol a ‘wetback taco muncher’ is racist…  unless of course you’re his best mate.  It is the intention of the remark that determines it’s meaning.

      Is Australia racist?  Consider this…

      There is a TV ad on at the moment for a low carb beer that says they took the carbs out and donated them to someone who enjoys them.  At which point you see crates falling from the sky onto American towns.  Is it racist?  If you’re American I’d understand how you could take offense to that.  Here an Australian beer company is suggesting that all Americans are fat.  On the other hand, the beer company will say that they’re just having a go because of the close friendship between Australia and America and it is all in good fun.

      But what if that ‘friendship’ is only one way?  One Australian might like one American and give them heaps but if the American doesn’t see the Australian as a friend the ad (or comment in Sol’s case) will be taken in a different way.

      So is Australia racist?  Not as a country no.  Of course we have people that are racist but in general no.  Is Australia self centred and think that the whole rest of the world gets our “jokes”...  well yeah I’d think that there’d be more Australians that fall into that basket than are truly racist.

    • Mark Nicholson says:

      09:38am | 25/06/09

      Let’s bury political correctness. Yes there are abuses on the edges that verge between vinductiveness and humour. But if someone questioning your heritage, roots, ethnicity ,sexual gender, religion, sexual orientation upsets you then you don’t have anything else to worry about! If I got upset about people questioning the existence of my father. My choice of friends or taste in football teams. Or my religious beliefs I would give myself a big slap. Harden up there are people out there dying of horrible dieseases.

    • MR says:

      09:41am | 25/06/09

      Stephen - your analysis is absolutely spot on.

      However the ingredient that’s been lacking in this debate, to my mind, is a discussion of the difference between discrimination and racism. 

      As I understand it - racism is the belief that a particular race is inherently inferior to your own (or others).  Racism therefore results in unfair and unjust treatment of other human beings - and it directly leads to resentment and social inequality.

      Discrimination on the other hand is merely the process of distinguishing someone from others - sometimes based on their race - but it does not inherently lead to unjust treatment of that person.  It might lead there - just as smoking a joint might lead to heroin addiction - but plently of discrimination is little more than harmless banter.

      Take Sol as a great example.  In my mind there is absolutley no doubt that he was the subject of discrimination - we constantly referred to him as a Mexican and all your observations in that regard are correct - but was he also the subject of racsim?  I think that’s a much harder charge to sustain since he was in no way treated as inferior because of his ‘Mexican-ness’ - quite the contrary in fact.  He was appointed CEO of our largest Telecom company.

      Are Australians discriminatory?  I would argue that the evidence is incontrovertable - we clearly are.  But is that discrimination inherently racist - well, that’s another question, isn’t it?

    • Chade says:

      09:43am | 25/06/09

      Sol was hired for a specific reason; he did it. He met his bonus targets. It doesn’t mean much that the outcome isn’t what everyone outside (and a few inside) Telstra wanted, nor that he didn’t make friends. You can blame Donald McGauchie for that.
      So, I’m with the article. The man’s a more than competent corporate down-sizer, and going on about his ancestry smacks of racism from top to bottom.

    • Lachlan says:

      09:58am | 25/06/09

      This article is laughable.

      How is this:
      “G’day, mate! Strewth. Did you hear what Kevin said about that Mexican and his amigos. Gave it to him straight, cobber, like a true blue Aussie. Senor Sol won’t be going walkabout near our billabong any time soon.”
      in any way offensive?

      If anything, it’s funny that people know us so little. I love it when an English comedy show take the piss out of Aussies. First I laugh at the humour (if it’s actually funny), and second I laugh at how far from the truth the world’s perception of an Aussie is. Surely this is the same the world over when anyone tries to paint a two-dimensional portrait of a nationality.

      Racism to me is when you make out another race or nationality is somehow inferior. I don’t see this in the quote above, and nor do I see that in Rudd’s “adios”. It may have been unfunny, it may have been cheap, it may have demonstrated a lack of wit, or even tact, but racist?

      I also think it’s laughable that he says racism is bad but classism is somehow ok. What a giveaway!

      What about the par where he says “And it would obviously be very silly for anyone to accuse Australia of being a particularly racist country just after a white supremacist had gone to the Holocaust Museum… or just after Romanian migrants in Northern Ireland had been driven from their homes by stonings.” So if it’s silly, why does he engage in this silliness?

      And if anyone actually listened to the interview this guy did of Sol, he really goaded that statement out of him. The journalist was the one with the agenda of portraying Australia as somehow more racist than any other country. As he says here, Sol was annoyed, but not offended. So why take offense on his behalf?

      People really are taking themselves too seriously these days.

    • MR says:

      10:09am | 25/06/09

      So if it’s silly, why does he engage in this silliness?

      He didn’t Lachlan. 

      He quite clearly is making the point that, while he believes that Australia is racist, it is not a “particularly racist country”.  He’s saying that there’s racism here but that it’s not so great that it distinguishes us from other countries.

      Do you agree, or do you think that we’re entirely pure and incapable of racism here?

    • Ilya says:

      10:42am | 25/06/09

      You have to be careful here. Giving people names is one thing but not indicative of what true racism is: asserting that people of a different race or ethnicity are inferior and denying them the opportunity for self-fulfilment. I doubt anyone in Australia thinks Mexicans or anyone else should in any way be prejudiced again. This country - subject to the provisos below - does reasonably well in terms of fairness and equal opportunity for all.

      Now, there may be a sort of a hidden glass ceiling for non-Anglo-Saxons. A quick roll call of our business leaders, entertainment celebrities and politicians will tell us that it is a much less diverse group than real Australia, albeit many on that list may be of Italian or Greek descent. However, I am not sure this is racism at work as such, but a sort of tribalism.

      Where yoo do have a point I think is with regard to maturity. Tribalism we is one sign of that. Another is that the issues we are comfortable with confronting are normally of secondary order: we are happy dealing with utes and alcopops but not so much real, honest debate w/r/t racism, for instance. Or another example on a personal note - I am of Russian Jewish descent and have a relatively rare name - I’ve never felt any real prejudice but the number of silly Ruski or Jewski comments and jokes I get (which are no doubt well-intentioned) is grating: this is not a case of a visitor where it would be a gentle dig, this is about the way we interact with a fellow Australian, unusual name notwithstanding, and a sort of a barrier to normal communication. I smile and move on but it is bloody annoying. As I said,  I do not think - or ever had the impression - this is due to prejudice. What it is how we deal with unusual things and new experiences or people and trying to establish a link in the most obvious manner - rather than just accepting, say a Mexican or a Russian Jew, or whoever else with an unusual name as not in fact being unusual and just moving on. Which is a sign of, yes, a degree of insularity and immaturity. But not racism.

      Where we do have a real problem is our attitudes towards Aboriginal people. This really is racist and disgraceful actually.

    • James says:

      10:50am | 25/06/09

      Kevin Rudd saying adios to Sol as he left Australia is about as racist as the many Thai people saying “G’day Mate” to me in an attempt to befriend me and get me interested in spending money in their business. (despite me speaking to them in Thai)

      Or the many Indian and Nepalese touts on the streets trying to start a conversation with me by saying ‘what country you from’ (why does it matter) and then assuming I was an Israeli man just out of the army, because I’m white.

      Or the many Chinese in China assuming that because I am a white male I am an American. 

      Or the Malaysian bus driver that suggested I should be careful when visiting a mosque during a particularly special event because “..you look a bit like an American soldier..” (yep, ‘cause they all look the same! not!) and “the Muslims don’t like Americans”

      My point is that It’s perfectly acceptable for Asian people to assume that every white traveller is an American. 

      But if a white person does the same and assumes that every Asian looking person is Chinese, or every Indian looking person is Indian and not Nepalese, Sri Lankan, Pakistani etc. all hell breaks loose!

      These are just a few examples and this sort of hypocrisy exists everywhere.  It’s just that in Australia everyone has a right to whinge and moan about it.

    • Adrian says:

      11:15am | 25/06/09

      Everything written in the comments for this article sums up Stephen Evan’s point perfectly.

      For those people who like to allege that racial denigration is a kind of “humour”, well maybe it’s funny for you. It’s not funny for the person it’s directed against, and that’s the whole point. “Harden up, there are people with horrble infectious diseases” - one thing is not related to the other.

    • Dallas Beaufort says:

      11:23am | 25/06/09

      Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun, Fair dinkum ridgie didge!

    • JB says:

      11:28am | 25/06/09

      Thank you, Lachlan, for pointing out that this whole ‘Sol says Australians are racists’ business was the result of a JOURNALIST’s leading question! None of the fuss that ensued seemed to pick up on this point. Yet more evidence that this so-called ‘profession’ has a lot to answer for.

      That said, yes of course Australians are racist, through and through. You only have to live in the suburbs for five minutes to find that out. It’s scary out here.

    • peter says:

      11:35am | 25/06/09

      I do not find your opening paragraph offensive or patronising.  If someone would say that to me I would assume they are taking the micky or are just a bit thick.
      I think that claiming that Australia as a country is racist is a generalisation that is in itself racist. Perhaps you need to examine your attitude. Were you teased as a youngster?

    • Karyn says:

      12:11pm | 25/06/09

      On Conan O’Brian’s opening night on The Tonight Show the other week, there was a skit that mocked the new Supreme Court Justice’s Hispanic ethnicity.  It had Joe Biden leaning over and whispering into her ear “Tacos ... Fajitas ....Quesadillas….”
      If its okay for American mainstream media to play the race card on TV, why cant Australian media do the same thing?  Sol’s problem was that he wasnt well known enough in the US for the media to care enough about him to mock him. 
      Not to mention there were frequent comedy and media jokes about Obama being black.

    • Peter says:

      12:17pm | 25/06/09

      In my experience I find the following example sums us up rather well -
      Until I started travelling overseas after school, a conversation about cricket could go like this - “Who’s coming out for the one day series this year?” “Uh, the Kiwis and the Pakis”. It would have meant nothing more then the New Zealand and Pakistan cricket teams are coming out for the one day series.
      But now, perhaps just for my own amusement, I’ll throw in the line “You know you can’t say Paki in the UK?”. 9/10 this is met with a very hard expression and a response along the lines of “Why not?”.

    • Peter_Griffin says:

      12:31pm | 25/06/09

      Trujillo had all the appeal of a jar of jalepenos, interesting at first, challenging about halway through but ultimately gave you the runs in the end. And his American hombres were begging for our pesos with one hand while the other took our wallets.

    • MR says:

      12:36pm | 25/06/09

      whole ‘Sol says Australians are racists’ business was the result of a JOURNALIST’s leading question!

      Damn those journalists and their response-eliciting questions!!

    • John says:

      12:44pm | 25/06/09

      Stephen - your article is without context.  Australia was exposed to “the three amigos” form the very start in 2005.  And the 3 amigos were American - as in USA-ian.  Solomon Trujillo, Greg Winn and the irrepressible Phil Burgess (and not to mention Bill Stewart and some 30 other Americans brought in to show us how things should be run).  These 3 yanks lapped up the 3-Amigos tag - it was good humour from both sides, initially, in the spirit of welcoming and hope.  Sol’s very first public speech opened along the lines of “... I’m Sol Trujillo - just call me Sol ...”  However, Sol played high stakes poker with the government - both Coalition then Labor - and lost.  So, within a very short space, the 3 amigos left town - and Australia’s reaction was from bemusement to outrage as to how Telstra could have dealt itself out of its future - then to have these high powered, highly paid, business people to leave!!  When I heard “Adios” from Rudd - it summed it up quite nicely.

    • Pete says:

      12:56pm | 25/06/09

      The headline of this story is more to the point than the waffle that follows, but Trujillo does have a right to complain about racism. Sol’s main problem though was that he just wasn’t respected here. He proved to be far from the world’s greatest businessman. He was overcombatative, overpaid and his style was counterproductive. But that’s no excuse for making jokes about his background. Instead, we should have made puns on his name.

    • SH says:

      01:07pm | 25/06/09

      If Australia is a racist country, why the hell did Trujilo work here for four years?

    • stephen says:

      01:31pm | 25/06/09

      We’re not racist. (Though, perhaps, only on the beach.)

    • Metey says:

      01:40pm | 25/06/09

      yes, there are plenty of racists in Australia - there are plenty of racists in any country you choose to name. As for Sol Trujillo being ‘primarily Mexican’ to Australians, I would dispute this - I didn’t know what country he was from or what nationality his surname was and didn’t care: to me, he was a “Big Business’ businessman, the type that takes a giant handout as they leave the company even if they’ve run it into the ground (not to say he did run Telstra into the ground) and the type largely responsible for the GFC

    • Shelley says:

      01:57pm | 25/06/09

      What a hoot. One the one hand we have our PM praised for speaking in languages other than English to the people he comes in contact with, and near on in the same breath criticised for that exact same thing.

      Now I’m on the record for not having any time for the PM, but for crying out loud give the fella a break.

      Some people are so precious they should be buried in a milo tin behind the shed.

      Beannacht leibh

    • Jim says:

      02:17pm | 25/06/09

      The continued use of the term “Anglo Saxon” to define your background strikes me as “from another time”. I hear very few people in England referring to themselves in these terms today - unlike here in the land that time forgot. I’m afraid that is exactly what Australia seems when matters of race and ethnicity are discussed.

      Seeming that most people of white/European “British” stock are not descendent of either Angles or Saxons, although it’s safe to say the Royals and the artistocratic southern upper classes are, the chances are most Australians claiming to be “Anglo-Saxon” are not of this origin. Lets not forget that Aussies do not generally descend from upper class Southern/Eastern English stock. Like most white British people, they’re mongrel Europeans with no “pure” lineage.

    • Al says:

      03:07pm | 25/06/09

      Most of these comments reveal the Aussie hostility that erupts whenever we’re asked to have a look at ourselves. We used to quietly cringe. Now we lash out.
      We certainly can’t accept someone failing to understand our humour (by the way, I’d argue Sol’s answer to Evans’ question was loaded with a desire to niggle those who panned his performance. But that’s not the point).
      We do anything but take the criticism on board. We are short on maturity and self-awareness.

    • nathan G says:

      03:30pm | 25/06/09

      I think you have made a mess of this analysis actually.  Australia does have racist elements that exist and will continue to do so for ever and a day, just as in every country in the world. We enshrined our racism in law a long time ago, with the “White Australia” policy, but times have changed. In the past 60 years there has been mass migration from all around the world, with Australians of italian and greek heritage but two cultural backgrounds to have moved to Australia. People of this background are proudly Italian Australian, and Greek Australian. There is nothing wrong with this, we love there restaraunts amoungst other things (obviously this statement could be viewed as racist by some).  When greece won the European Cup, tens of thousands of greek Australians spilled onto the streets to celebrate. Does that mean they are Australian’s or Greek? did they shout slogans in Greek? are they entitled to? of course they are. The reason this is all acceptable is that we are a multi cultural country, and there are always going to have tensions between cultures, but better that than assimilation. Now that is racism.

      As to your opening paragraph apparently offensive….well I thought it was funny, I always like the way the english (if your cricket team is England, then I assume the rest of the Welsh are English too), try to use coloquial Aussie slang. Always a hoot. billabong indeed.

    • Dick says:

      04:55pm | 25/06/09

      “G’day, mate! Strewth. Did you hear what Kevin said about that Mexican and his amigos. Gave it to him straight, cobber, like a true blue Aussie. Senor Sol won’t be going walkabout near our billabong any time soon.

      Offensive, isn’t it?”

      This is an offensively boring way to begin a 500 word whinge, but I have no idea how it’s offensive in any other way.

      And how does this work:

      “A confident people might have shrugged and smiled - and quietly engaged in a little self-questioning.”

      A confident people might have pretended not to care but secretly wondered whether they hurt someone’s feelings? Huh?

    • Shelley says:

      06:31pm | 25/06/09

      “A confident people might have shrugged and smiled - and quietly engaged in a little self-questioning.”

      I’ve been giving this sentence a bit of thought because it nagged just a tad on first reading.  I have decided to comment after all.

      This sentence should really read

      “A confident person might have shrugged and smiled - and quietly engaged in a little self-questioning.”

      This is small beer. Isn’t there a global financial crisis and a world full of people living with genuine concerns for racism?

      Sol gets to live, vote, travel and express his opinion freely without fear of consequence.

      Australia should have made more of an effort not to offend the not so confident Sol and more of an effort not to be apologetic for our culture.

      We should have used the universal language of sign and given him the bird!

    • Steve says:

      07:35pm | 25/06/09

      How can anyone claim saying adios is NOT racist? The phrase is based on his race (or rather that of his parents) so is therefore racist. Likewise, if his parents were Japanese and Rudd said sionara it would have been racist. Whether people see this as insulting or derogatory is another point completely but it cannot be denied it is a racist comment.

      And Shelley, by people, I think he was referring to national entities as a whole, not individuals - so to say “a confident people might have shrugged ...” is correct.

    • Brad says:

      08:48pm | 25/06/09

      Get rid of the word racist. It’s outdated and has lost it’s meaning.
      We all acknowledge there are differences between races of human beings.
      What is important is how we treat and respect each other, based on how we behave in society. That is what is most important.
      Therefore I propose the word “Antisocial” to describe those people who discriminate, bully, abuse, put down, violate, exploit (financially, mentally or physically) any other human being in this World. And that includes greed, prejudice, sexist, racist, criminal and bigots. They are now described as behaving in an antisocial manner.

    • Andrew says:

      09:29pm | 25/06/09

      It is the pc mob who are racist. Countries that they decide are second rate unwittingly fall under their protective umbrella. China is considered second rate so you can’t call a Chinese man a Chinaman. Pakistan is an especially bad place so any Aussie that calls a man from Pakistan a Paki is likely to find himself in court. England wants to be careful that the recession doesn’t ravage them to such a degree that they fall into this category, or the term Pom will be confined to the history books. New Zealand seems fairly robust so I guess we will have Kiwis’ for a while yet. All countries should have their language, religions, food and funny customs open to ridicule for people from other countries. Why is it that only a select few countries like Australia get to feel that swell of national pride when someone thinks he has insulted me by calling me a convict. Why do the PC crowd want to rob so many countries of any sense of dignity by making them feel ashamed and victimised every time the name of their country isn’t pronounced exactly as intended of their language is imitated by a foreigner. Different rules for different races creates division, and as I will always be proud to be called an Aussie I hope a few billion people around the world realise their countries and cultures are mature enough to take a bit of a ribbing from time to time. Please don’t hate me. I honestly believe this.

    • Shelley says:

      09:59pm | 25/06/09

      Steve

      I should have made myself clearer.

      By rephrasing the sentence to

      A confident person might have shrugged and smiled - and quietly engaged in a little self-questioning

      I was switching the point of reference from us, the country Australia, to the individual, Sol Trujillo.

      I believe if Sol Trujillo was a more confident person he may have shrugged and smiled - and quietly engaged in a little self-questioning.

      A rose by any other name is still a rose, and ‘adiós’ in any language still means goodbye.

      I’ll add ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ in English so there is no mistaking my wishes to Sol as a racist slur.

      From a Telstra shareholder and customer . The man was incompetent regardless of his nationality.

    • Claza says:

      08:42am | 26/06/09

      Australia racist??? Pfft!

      Look at Australia as a whole, and it’s very hard to identify what TRULY makes a person Australian. Now I’m stating the obvious here, by that’s because it needs to be said;
      Australia is made up of people from every continent, and very nearly every country in the world. The only people who can be truly called Australian, are those of Aborigonal descent, because face it, you hear he terminology “your not even from here in the first place!” from primary school kids bullying the new kid. And this mentality doesn’t stop at primary school, as adults, we’re still saying this! But we havnt stopped to realize; Neither are we! And there’s the proof that Australia is too imature to look at how racist it is.
      The way that we have made his many cultures work together so well (most of the time!) took us only a little more then 100 years, when Australia was first settled by the brits (there’s another nickname reffering to someones ethnic background), but this has taken the rest of the world more then 2,000 years, in fact, longer! Since mankinds evolution (or creation, depending on your beliefes), we have been formng little exclusive groups and bickering and fighting with other groups.

    • MarK says:

      07:34pm | 27/06/09

      Epic Fail Mr Steven Evans

      And to Steve,
      How can anyone claim Adios was not racist…
      John touched on the context, i will use BOLD to make it easier for you.
      When Sol(AMERICAN), the first thing he did was brought over some of his AMERICAN mates and gave them top jobs in telstra. With three top jobs taken by AMERICANS, the media dubbed them ‘The Three Amigos’, Funnily enough the name of an AMERICAN comedy movie, made by AMERICANS, starring three AMERICAN actors(Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and well martin short was Canadian), who played three bumbling greedy incompetant AMERICAN actors, who after finding themselves unemployed travel to Mexico at the request of a small MEXICAN town being harrassed by criminals, Despite the three(AMERICAN) amigos best efforts, the Mexican villagers manage to save themselves.
      You see the Three Amigos tag was insinuating that Sol was AMERICAN, and was and it equates Australia with Mexico (well Australia takes the part of the small mexican town in the Movie)

    • Pamela says:

      07:30pm | 06/07/09

      It’s interesting to note that there seems to be people who are” racist” in political parties,big business and in the media, it’s just harder to spot them as they carefully hide behind their credentials and sometimes call themselves socialists or conservative….....?

    • Mike Winton says:

      06:50am | 07/07/09

      Shelley, Loved your ‘a milo tin behind the shed’,so unpretentious as also adios Sol. Australians enjoy this stuff, don’t we.

    • True blue Aussie says:

      07:07am | 23/04/11

      Multiculturalism in Australia was a tool made up for the express purpose to cover up the evil doings of the Italian mafia in Victoria the politician who coined the phrase had only one intention in mind and that was to make the Australian public feel guilty for expressing their opinion on the criminal elements who come into this country on the express purpose of becoming rich out of criminal activity only one politician gave his life to fight this injustice all the others just capitulated afraid the same would happen to them. It is time for all Australians to admit that Australia is a country of tolerance and scrap this diabolical word multiculturalism if a person takes the oath of citizenship then they should be proud to be an Australian if not well they no what to do. We as a Nation of tolerant people can no longer be a garbage dump for all the worlds criminal elements to come here and set up shop and take an advantage of the peoples good will,  past governments have not had the back bone to consider what the average Aussie wants for fear of being attacked by the opposition on the grounds of racism and both major parties are guilty of this and in the mean time the imported criminal elements are roaming the streets selling drugs and killing people there is there no honest fearless men in government ready to stick up for Australians

    • racism is only a word for defence. says:

      07:39am | 23/04/11

      Whether you are a racist or not in Australia we are free to express an opinion on any topic and it is one of our blessings unlike Communist countries or the middle east where it is forbidden to say a word about religion or politicians, one can end up in prison or dead because the powers to be in those countries up until lately have suppressed peoples opinions by force and brain washed their children into believing they the ruling party are there by their gods divine authority the labor party in Australia tries the same policy by altering the schools curriculum to suit their ideology but we Aussies do know this and should like good responsible adults give the children the real facts and not go off like a raving lunatics which we have become accustomed to from certain elements within our society, brain washing is not only evil it is a form of torture and it all starts by contaminating children’s minds with details that are impossible to prove and are false but for insecure reasons some people cling to these philosophies.

    • buy oem software says:

      10:27am | 19/08/12

      BRHgCl Looking forward to reading more. Great post.Much thanks again. Want more.

 

Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

28 comments

Newsletter

Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter