Monday, November 28, 2011

Asians Suffer Most?

AUSTRALIA, as we all know, was founded as a penal colony, so the cherished idea that informing on neighbours and workmates is antithetical to national spirit and heritage just doesn’t ring true. Anyone who has had any dealings with the Criminal-Australian community will know that dobbing in underworld associates is as much a part of doing business as is making off with other people’s property. A friend, now dead, who did a little time for being far too fond of opiates and petrol stations’ takings, learned this while cooling his heels at the Bluestone College. As he told it, prison authorities were going through the motions of making the premises drug free, a crusade that cannot have been pursued with too much enthusiasm, as it was warders who were said to be chiefly responsible for running contraband. But someone had to take the fall and, as luck would have it, another incarcerated junkie nominated the Billabong’s buddy as the chief source. He did extra time for that and never again spoke of honour amongst thieves.

Dobbing has now gone mainstream, with ads like the one below urging citizens to help put malefactors behind bars. Few would object to that, as few find much to enjoy in coming home to find the new flat screen, little woman’s jewelry and anything else easily pocketable have gone missing.

Still, look at this ad for Crime Stoppers and wonder if there might not be another message, a subtle one, woven into the narrative. The bash artists are white and the victim Asian. He is welcomed to his thumping with the announcement that he has journeyed to “the wrong place.” Toward the end of the video, when the voice-over is urging people to phone their tips to Crime Stoppers’ operators, the images are overwhelmingly of various ethnic minorities.

Look, it may be one Bunyip’s hyper-sensitive perception, but was it really necessary to cast a simple incident of theft and assault with an entirely unneeded underscore of racism?

Readers are invited to share their perceptions of the ad in comments.


  1. Not sure, Prof. For starters, one of the 'perps' definitely fits the descriptor 'of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance'. More seriously, there is an argument that, for various reasons, ethnic communities have been historically reluctant to work with the police and there is therefore at least a case - which may or may not be a strong and/or rational one - for giving them a particular focus in these sorts of ads.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.November 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    I think the ads are well-meaning, for all of the reasons raised in the first comment. But once the ethnic flag is raised, in a muddy pond where nothing is particularly clear, it is subject to all sorts of 'deconstructions' which fly around like noisy seagulls looking for a chip. No-one is going to get it right in scenario dramas like this - get a new ad agency with a new strategy.

  3. "He is welcomed to his thumping with the announcement that he has journeyed to “the wrong place.” "

    And in the company of a white woman. What was he thinking???

  4. The Age ran this puff piece today:

    It's getting some stick from some commentators, how such guff was commissioned is anyone's guess other than it agrees with the Age's normal meme that everyone is racist.

  5. Anonymous makes a good point. However I can't help but feel that we won't be seeing this type of ad with Middle Eastern or Asians attacking a european/white man. That would raise the hackles of the various minority lobbyists and our "activist" friends.

  6. Should have included some choice racist abuse to remind us all that crime now comes in both thought and word as well as deed.

  7. 1.


  8. It's a carbon copy of the style of propaganda they've been using in Britain for the last decade, and look where it's got them. So it's not even original.

    Predictably, it panders to and reinforces prejudices held by some members of some minority groups towards whites.

    So when the next white kid innocently walking down the street gets bashed by a group of 30 in an unprovoked attack, who's hands will the blood be on?

    I'd say some of it's on Crime Promoters and it's advertising agency.