6/8/2022

The Racist Legacy of the 50-Year-Old White Australia Policy - Explained

It’s easy to look at the racial dynamics of America and believe that’s not who Australia is. Yet, the Asian Australian Alliance recorded 337 hate crimes against Asian Australians over the span of a month and half. In fact, 1 in 5 Chinese Australians reported being threatened or attacked in 2020 because of their heritage. But this is happening in a vacuum. Australia has a racist past to reckon with, starting with the very structure of law. In the 1900’s, legislators passed multiple laws to stop non-white immigrants from gaining legal citizenship. These collections of racist laws that kept immigrants from gaining citizenship were called the White Australian Policy. Why? After World War II, Australia’s population was stagnant and needed new people to rebuild their country. By 1975, the Racial Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against migrants based on race. Remnants of White Australian Policy are ingrained in white Australians psyche. Refugees are met with unwelcomed sentiment in political campaigns like “stop the boats,” migrant populations are given hateful and reductive names, First Nations people are disproportionately met with police brutality, and Asians are blamed for COVID. Racist and xenophobic laws in the past have influenced how white Australians act towards non-white people. Australia is a home for so many, and to be the safe and thriving multicultural it hopes to be, there is further reckoning to be done.

6/8/2022

The Racist Legacy of the 50-Year-Old White Australia Policy - Explained

It’s easy to look at the racial dynamics of America and believe that’s not who Australia is. Yet, the Asian Australian Alliance recorded 337 hate crimes against Asian Australians over the span of a month and half. In fact, 1 in 5 Chinese Australians reported being threatened or attacked in 2020 because of their heritage. But this is happening in a vacuum. Australia has a racist past to reckon with, starting with the very structure of law. In the 1900’s, legislators passed multiple laws to stop non-white immigrants from gaining legal citizenship. These collections of racist laws that kept immigrants from gaining citizenship were called the White Australian Policy. Why? After World War II, Australia’s population was stagnant and needed new people to rebuild their country. By 1975, the Racial Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against migrants based on race. Remnants of White Australian Policy are ingrained in white Australians psyche. Refugees are met with unwelcomed sentiment in political campaigns like “stop the boats,” migrant populations are given hateful and reductive names, First Nations people are disproportionately met with police brutality, and Asians are blamed for COVID. Racist and xenophobic laws in the past have influenced how white Australians act towards non-white people. Australia is a home for so many, and to be the safe and thriving multicultural it hopes to be, there is further reckoning to be done.

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Asian Horror Implies Misogyny Is Thriving

What Asian horror movies have proven is that there is nothing scarier than a woman, free from her shackles, wreaking havoc on society to get justice. Why is the ghostly, vengeful woman such a prevalent trope, and how does it represent misogyny across Asian cultures? From the infamous virgin ghost, to the seductive “femme fatale” archetypes, there are consistent depictions of the vengeful female spirit throughout Asian stories. The pale, long black-haired woman in a white dress is the scariest ghost of all. While these characters might begin as victims, they become terrifying villains, making it difficult to sympathize with their pain. It’s the unfair deaths these female characters experience that turn their spirits into monsters that are feared and not souls free to rest. There is little understanding of their suffering, or even their existence, mirroring the reality of many. It’s possible this trope persists because scary stories have often been the only outlet to name the violence women face. In patriarchal societies that view women as subservient, many women die in unfair suffering: murder, death connected to sexual assault, and forced suicide. Asian horror has evolved to incorporate deeper commentaries about women’s issues over time like marital anxiety, dissociative identity disorders, and becoming a widow. But irrespective of final outcome,being abused and thus vengeful continues to be the most natural character foundation of Asian women in horror stories and films.

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The Racist Legacy of the 50-Year-Old White Australia Policy - Explained