My Personal Racism

20 03 2014

I like to think that most of you think I’m “a nice guy” and I’d like to think that I am too.

But I was racist, or at least partially so, yep… me, and not all that long ago either.

I suppose this is what’s known as soul-searching, or having a change of heart. a row with yourself can really help at times, and I’m going to write about how all of it played out.

Firstly, there was racism in my family, and when it’s in the family, it gets passed down to kids, it’s a nonsense which is learned but can be unlearned (in time). And better to do so as it’s self-destructive, ruining friendships and family relationships.

Often people do things which parents did, and grandparents did, because “that’s what you do” and little thought is given to why it began and if we really need to do it anymore, often those who think about these things, realise that they don’t need to continue as things have changed, and stop doing it.

So I thought back.

My Grandparents came from near Ballarat, which is an old gold mining town, and I think that they must’ve seen a lot of different people who had come all the way from overseas to try and make their fortune, especially the Chinese.

There has never been ill will to the Chinese in this family, perhaps because of this early contact.

WWII began, and Mum was a teenager, She met a handsome young Man called Norman, who she fell completely in love with. But Norman went to fight the Japanese, He was fighting in New Guinea when he was captured and put below deck in a Japanese prison ship, which was spotted by the Americans and torpedoed.

It ruined the life my Mother dreamt of, she adored him, and her love never faded.

Yes, she did meet another man, oddly enough, He was called Norman too, He was My Dad.

Mum loved Dad,  it was sometimes a bumpy marriage, She loved her first Norman till she died, something Dad was conscious of and perhaps
a little envious of now and then. How do you compete with the dead?

And she hated “The Japs”.

My Uncle had spent time in Changi Prison, He was there till just before the war ended. He remembered the Japanese becoming very quiet one day, and then a British fellow parachuting in and declaring that He was taking over the camp.

Not that log after coming home, My Uncle Ern, developed Parkinson’s Disease… You know, I never knew my Uncle, As I only saw him as an old shaky man who couldn’t speak, While the rest of my family treasured him.

Mum blamed the disease on “The Japs” too, although Parkinson’s Disease probably doesn’t come about from a terrible life experience, but not having researched it, I honestly don’t know why people get it.

Mum, and Dad (who had also fought in WWII) both hated “The Japs”, and passed the hatred down to my older Sister, who was full of hatred for the Japanese too, but, much to Mums dismay, I didn’t feel it myself, but I hadn’t been exposed to things the way they had been.

I hoped Mum had let go of her hate, maybe she had, I’m not sure… but I saw what carrying that hate around, did to her.

Mum had got on well with a lot of people during her life, She knew Finnish people, Italians, Greeks, Yugoslavs, most were kind to her, and so she was kind to them. I remember she often got cakes or vegetables from them, things she had never tried before, and she loved it.

I sometimes think that if Mum had found some Japanese living locally, then perhaps, somehow, conversation would have lead to a change of heart.

But I worry too, You see, Mum was holding onto her hatred as a way of coping with her losses, if that were taken away, would she have found another way to cope? I don’t know.

I have imagined that perhaps, one day, if she had Japanese friends who were good to her, that she would have opened up, and that somehow there would have been healing.

Strangely enough, she was fine with Germans.

Racism caused a family rift, and may have done so again, more recently.

My Mother had gone through a terrible birth, and had her first child, My Sister, Who, as it turned out, was of a darker skin… My Dad was partially Aboriginal, which naturally (in the 50’s) was not something you wanted anyone to hear about… No, Dad had Mediterranean or perhaps Spanish blood in him, that accounted for his colour.

As a result of this, I was never really sure, until a few years back, that I was, therefore, partly Aboriginal myself.

There was a skeleton in the closet, which Mum never spoke of, you see, I discovered that Mum had a Sister, at a later age than I should have, and that she lived locally.

I had asked Mum to explain why we’d never gone to see Ruby, but she remained tight-lipped.

One evening My Sister told me.

Jan, My Sister, Had been bought home from Hospital, and was in her cot. Ruby came to visit and went into the room where Jan was, and declared that she was “a little black mongrel” or some such… and Mum threw her out, never to be seen again.

So the two Sisters were lost to each other, and My Sister and I missed out on an Aunt, for what?

In the 80s, Vietnamese boat people came to Australia, and My parents didn’t like them at all, I didn’t like them much either, suddenly my school and our area seemed to be full of them.

They took over the shopping area, Footscray, a place where My parents and Jan used to spend a lot of time shopping. Mum said that they didn’t like it much when the Greeks and Italians moved in earlier, but they did keep their shops looking lovely, it seemed that they were always cleaning… while the Vietnamese clearly didn’t.

I think this is true, I still think it’s true. I used to go to Footscray myself as a teenager, and it seemed to be in a lot better condition back then, these days it’s run down and smells bad, it’s really not a nice place to be… but then, I’m not the best house keeper either.

One day, A friend of a friend, became a friend of mine, and he was Vietnamese, and of course I liked him. And I always thought very highly of his lovely Mum, who was a former teacher, and a bloody good cook too.

One day, Dad was out delivering, that was his job, and we stopped at a crossing, and dad mumbled “Look at them, bloody heads on ’em like mice” as some Vietnamese crossed in front of us. What a strange thing to say, I thought. and then said “Dad, James is Vietnamese” and he replied “Yeah But he’s a better class of person” which didn’t seem to make any sense either.

You see, Dad really liked James.

This was the 80s, by the way, and there seemed to be a lot of homophobia too, even though 50% of our music seemed to come from Gay artists, which seemed to be ok, oddly enough.

One day, dad was talking about a local mechanic who had employed a man who was “a poofta”, who Dad had got to know, and he said “He’s a poof… but he’s a good poof” (Yes, you and me both)

It was difficult back then too, because I had feelings which I would have preferred to have opened up about, but couldn’t. There was a wall up, what could I do?

Mum may have threatened to toss me out of the house, which she had done a few times, but I had grown up before I realised that she never would have.

It may have been the late 90’s and refugees were coming by boat from another far off land… We were seated around the table at My Sisters house and the refugees were mentioned, and Jan said something like “I’d heard that now and then the navy sinks the bastards” and she was clearly pleased about that.

I’m not sure how I felt about that, fifty-fifty I think.

One day I was talking to a very good friend of mine and I said something like I agreed with Pauline Hanson when it came to refugees, and he hung up on me, now I could have said “up yours” but I didn’t, I usually never bend for anyone, but I did here, because I wasn’t completely sold on the idea.

We’re still friends.

I’m barely racist at all, it’s a bit strange when it does crop up, and you know, I feel it, I feel like my face turns to stone, it’s awful.

The refugees come again, and for a long time… did you notice it on Twitter? I never mentioned them, because frankly I didn’t care about them, partly because they were unknowns, so what did it matter to me?

Partly because, I mostly concern myself with environmental matters, I do think Humans are a plague on the planet, who are destroying it and everything else, and sadly I am too, though I did decide early on that I’d never produce more… heck, i would have been an awful Dad anyway, I’m not provider material.

And partly because that old racism thing was there in the background.

Then the straw that broke the camels back:

My Niece posted something really ugly on Facebook, You know the horrible right-wing bullshit about people invading the country and taking over our jobs and our land, the kind of thing that if a puff of wind hit it from one side, they’d be Nazis?The kind of thing that ends “and if you don’t re-post this, then you’re not a True Australian”.

I told her that She was wrong, that’s not how things are at all. It was clear to me where her thoughts had originated, Her Mother, and now she was doing it too, but was clearly worse.

I had forgotten about the incident when, about four months later, she did it again.

This time I tore strips off her, I really let her have it, I told her exactly what I thought of her and her posts, she pleased with me to go easy, as we’re family and all that, but it had gone far enough.

I had clearly jangled her nerves, she deleted her facebook account.

The next day my Grand Niece messaged me, “How dare you talk to Mum like that, IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYWAY, NOBODY CARES!”

and I messaged her back “and you can fuck off too”.

And that was it, There has been no communication with either of them since, I don’t really mind as I rarely saw them anyway, they may as well live on Mars to be honest.

As for the bit of racism I had, I think I vomited up the last remaining blob of it, and that was that.

However, you’d have to have a pretty hard heart to look at what’s happening in these detention centers and not see how utterly brutal and sickening it is, and to think we are the country doing it.

This isn’t my Country, where has My Country gone?

Let’s end with a recount of casualties here: Mum and Her Sister, split apart, never to see each other again, My Niece, Grand Niece and I… for what?

Let it go, that’s my advice.

Wolfie!

One last thing… Dad pulled up his truck once and he asked me “How can a man love another man anyway, I mean, an ugly, hairy, smelly man?” I thought it was a strange question, I think it hit me from the side, and I was unable to say anything… but later I thought “But don’t Women generally love Men?”

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Towel Heads

25 01 2014

I have a friend who I’ve known for a long time, in fact we met at Primary School in the 70’s.

He lives in Alice Springs and I rarely get to see him, but He has kept in touch.

He’s one of those people who, although online, is fearful of using the internet properly, He uses e-mailand that’s his limit.

So, Every week I can look forward to an e-mail full of memes from five years ago.

But lately, He’s been sending me a fair bit of racist memes, concerning “Towel Heads”, I think most of you will understand what those posts would contain.

Now if I were some sort of racist bogan, my little racist bogan mind, might decide that since I’m a fourth generation Aussie, with some Aboriginal blood in me, That I’d be well within my rights to call him a Wog, since his parents were clearly not Australian themselves.

That however, is not me.

This is me.

One sunny day at Kingsville Primary school, I found a gangly boy standing under a gum tree, crying. He was a funny looking kid, mostly because his mum made him wear the shortest of short shorts which gave him the appearance of having the longest, skinniest legs, a bit like a daddy long-legs spider.

I walked up to this kid, and I asked him why he was crying.

He told me that he’d been called a “German Sausage” (His Dad is German, His Mum Yugoslav), and he was clearly hurt by this.

I had been the butt of jokes myself, so I introduced myself, and from that day on, we were firm friends.

Our Parents also made friends with each other.

Years later I went to his 21st Birthday Party, and Attended his wedding, He married a Woman who adored him, and I’m proud to say they are still together today.

Tonight, I plan to remind him how we had met, and I hope a little guilt sets in.

 





Feminism 2012

13 10 2012

When stories about Julia Gillard giving Tony Abbott a good telling off, hit the local news, they were all negative.

Well of course, most of the media is owned by right wing organisations, it was expected.

But what the local media wasn’t prepared for, was that the story would go global, and when the news overseas got hold of the story, they wrote it as they saw it, without the right-wing spin.

Julia was just a mad woman on a crusade against “a good man” as our papers made out.

That wasn’t how most of us saw it.

I typed “Gillard” into the search box in Tweetdeck, a desktop app for Twitter, and what I saw were thousands of people, thousands, congratulating Julia for standing up for herself, and women in general.

And I get the feeling that the local media is beginning to back down, as I’m starting to see stories suggesting that maybe, Julia was right, as she was!

I think feminism has been re-started this October, in Australia.

And it’s been given a make-over.

Feminism, had a poor image, Dowdy Women in overalls who hate men is the image which comes to my mind.

Women don’t want to hate Men, they want equality.

And that’s what they ought to have.

I want to see it happen, I want Women to have equal pay, and to be treated with respect.

I’m sure you know from what I’ve written earlier that I’m a great fan of equality, I am a white Aussie bloke, who wants to see more fairness on this planet, for everyone.

It’s 2012, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and all that nonsense, simply shouldn’t be happening anymore.

Wolfie!

Read Mike Carltons’ excellent story, which is similar to mine, but a much better read.





Today I met a Furry, what now?

20 03 2011

Today you met your first furry, and want to know what it’s all about, so the first thing you do is ask a friend, who claims to know, but doesn’t know that much more than you do.

He says “It’s some weird sexual fetish, I know cause I saw something on TV about it”.

For some, that’s enough info, and they go through life thinking that’s what it’s all about… except it’s about 90% wrong.

Now some Furries would write an encyclopedia on the subject, but I know darn well that if this post dribbles on too long that most, if not all of you will tune out, so lets get straight to the short and curlies.

A Furry is someone who “describes themselves as an animal” in much the same way that someone else might describe themselves as “Christian” or a “Footy Fan”.

Why do they do that?

Well everyone has different reasons, but a few include “Because I feel it’s my spirit animal” or “I’m a big fan of cartoon animals” or even “My mates all do it, so I thought I’d try it out too”.

Now a lot of Furries are highly creative, they can draw, paint, sew, design, write and are also often good with computers, in fact some people have said that if it wasn’t for the furries, half the internet wouldn’t work, I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s a fun rumour.

So, you’ll see Furry artwork, Hear Furry Music, and once in a while see Furries dressed in costumes which they very often make themselves after months of hard work, think of the work that goes into something like quilting and you’ll have the basic idea of the kind of effort involved, more on this later.

You may have probably seen a furry on Twitter or Facebook, and here’s an interesting thing, Spammers almost never use a Furry avatar, so if you see a person with a Furry avatar who wants to follow you, then it’s most likely a genuine person who reads your stuff and likes you.

But the sex? What about that?

Bear (see what I did there?) in mind that Furries are quite often teenagers, so there are a lot of hormones swirling around, so yes, sex is going to be added to the mix, but the sex would be there whatever people chose to do, Whether that’s being in a band, playing golf, surfing, flower arranging, fighting fires… you get the picture… It’s just that somehow people got the idea that Furries have more sex than anyone else, you know, like with the Swedes, Yah?

But Furries generally are more laid back (see what I did there?) about sex than most people seem to be, we’re simply not bothered about people who are gay or whatever, if nobody is being hurt, then it’s fine.

You heard something about Plushies?

Oh that’s ok, People confuse Furries with Plushies all the time, Plushies are people who… have a thing for toy animals, now some Plushies ARE Furries, just like some Builders are Smokers. I’m a Furry, and the idea that someone can get randy over a plush Lion King leaves me scratching my head, but nobody is being hurt, so meh.

Furries can, and have sometimes tried to have sex in their costumes, but many don’t want to, because… as I said earlier, a costume represents months of work, these are not some cheap off-the-shelf item, they are designed for one person to wear… much like an elaborate costume might be made for an actor in a play or a movie… they generally won’t fit other people, unlike a sports mascot costume which could be warn by quite a few people and is designed for rough and tumble.

People can spend $2000 or upwards on a costume, so the idea of rolling around, scuffing it on the carpet and getting it really dirty is about as appealing as swallowing a hair ball, and remember that these costumes can get really hot, so sex, although possible (if the owner really wanted to try) is probably not going to be too comfortable.

If two furries want to have sex with each other, it’s probably best to go into a very dark room together and use the theatre of the mind, their own imagination, as most of us do anyway.

If you meet a Furry, my advice would be to sit down with them, pour a drink, and tell them that you’ve heard a little bit about Furries but you’re not sure what it’s about, and do try to ask the odd awkward question… Furries usually don’t mind, and will generally open up about things.

What have I learnt about being Furry?

Well as a White, Aussie Male, I had no idea what racism felt like, I had some idea because I was bullied at school for years, but racism was something else.

When I was on Second Life, which is a kind of Social Network in a 3D environment, there were certain hate groups which I was exposed to, now these guys had basically decided Furries were “Bad” and were going to destroy their way of life in some manner or other, They were really just a bunch of trolls.

My Avatar in Second Life, was a Wolf (of course), a Furry who walked on two legs.

The hatred which came from these guys, hurt, but also gave me valuable information on what it must be like to be someone with a different coloured skin, who goes through this kind of thing, in real life, everyday.

They tried to promote Furries as sexual deviants, child eaters, people who got on the bus without paying their fares but failed miserably.

Second Life had, and probably still has, a strong Australian community, who saw through the situation rapidly.

Because I was so well-known in Second Life (mainly via ABC Island) the Aussies simply thought Furry = Wolfie.

Therefore almost all the Aussies accepted Furries, and many became Furries themselves.

I had done something positive and was very pleased with Myself, but was also very proud of the Aussie community, and felt that if this issue could be overcome so quickly in a simulation, then racism in the real world, could end, and it could happen fairly soon too.

To wrap up, we’re harmless… a little geeky at worst, and we like to gather in groups at times to get to know each other better. We’re a highly creative and generally welcoming mob who don’t have hang ups about race or sex or sexuality… but we are people and sometimes we gripe about something.

As each Furry brings something new to the table, don’t just take my word for it, ask for other opinions and try to find out what’s going on yourself.

Wolfie!





Missionary man

10 08 2010

I’m feeling downright pissed off over the twitter messages and deleted (sort of) webpage by Wendy Francis, Her rampant homophobia is clearly evident, even if she denies it.

but to then have Gary Burns from One Nation chime in and say that he appreciated Wendys tweet and then to add that he likes to bash “phoofters” is just horrific.

A type of personality exists, where if a person carries a holy book and they believe in invisible fairy people in the sky, then somehow they may have an inflated view of their own morals. They feel perfectly happy to tell us what we ought to do, many of them are in favour of filtering our internet so that we can’t see pictures of people making love, in our own homes… which to me is far more natural than praying to unlikely gods in the sky.

But how can the self-righteous nits think that their moral codes are so much better than our own, when ours don’t include a fear of sexuality or race?

These people are happy to spread all kinds of nasty lies, fear and guilt, and embed cruel and frightening notions of hell into our kids heads. while discouraging proven ideas such as the age of the earth and that dinosaurs actually lived.

They’re holding our kids at ransom, fervently serving Jesus on a plate when Evolution is swept under the carpet, why is Religion taught at schools when physics and biology is not taught at Church?

They’ve managed through their fear mongering to hold back science and medicine, such as stem-cell technology which could have already freed us from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

I thought Christians were supposed to “Love thy neighbour”

Via their religious views they seem to feel it’s ok to go and slander people with differing sexual orientations, to bother people who have done nothing wrong other than be born in a different country, or declare a “just war” because they have their God on their side.

These people with their mad ideas also seem, despite their holy books telling them to live in peace, the very ones most likely to wish to bare arms… why is it that the religious nutters are almost always gun enthusiasts too?

These people with their God, their Holy book, their Guns and a bizarre national pride make very dangerous human beings.

While they are keen to tell us that Gay Marriage will damage society completely, I urge you to look closely at what these people have done, and will continue to do.

Their hatred causes shame, and that shame causes some gentler members of our community to fall into depression and commit suicide and I don’t think that has done much good for society at all… just think, some of the brightest people in our community, who had the potential to save us from ourselves, thrown on the scrapheap because someone couldn’t deal with where they wanted to put their penis.

Although we tolerate them, as indeed we must, at times it is extremely difficult when faced with the dreadful utterances and backward ideals that they harbour.

They will tell us that we haven’t moved forward, and yet we have… nobody puts boxing gloves on their teenage sons to prevent masturbation in bed anymore (at least I hope not), Women can vote, and drive, it’s perfectly ok to go shopping in a bikini on a very hot day if you like, Black people can marry white people if they wish and shops can remain open on a sunday.

If gay people want to get married, then why not? what does it matter to you where they spill their seed? you won’t be in their bedroom… standing there at the foot of the bed with your Bible, preaching Jesus at the top of your lungs while David penetrates Steve’s hot rear end with his nine-inch love-tool? No, Didn’t think so… so who cares what they do?

And in truth they just might be having a relaxing night on the couch together, watching a Bambi DVD… Yes, the Disney film, with the deer.

But then I always knew you had a filthy mind.

“Missionary Man” Eurythmics

Wolfie!