White Privilege is that moral turpitude that occurs when men attempt to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity. And one of its most egregious elements may also be its least remarked upon. That is the privilege of enjoying modernity’s most expansive plural pronouns.
Consider the modest “we.” No other people have this term deployed by others so often on their behalf. Whether yellow, black, brown, or AIPAC, pages blossom with those eager to advise on what we should do in our countries. It’s all very gratifying. Though sometimes the air fills with more WEs than a French porn shoot. And that’s what the royal we will discuss tonight.
I was reading a piece recently by a man discussing the immense affection we Australians have for multiculturalism. The author’s name is Thinethavone Soutphommasane. He is a member of the Australian Multicultural Council and is presently serving as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Mr. Soutphommasane was born in France to Laotian boat parents who were subsequently resettled Down Under via reunification program. It’s curious how infrequently these reunions occur in native homelands, though the point I am trying to make is that when Thinethavone uses “we” in regard to Australians, you may be assured his bonafides are in perfect order.
To dissolve any residual confusion, the article provides further visual clarification.
If you’ll pardon my deflowering of the author’s prose, what follows are just the pellets busy readers may only have limited time to ingest.
Most of us believe that people should have the freedom to express their traditions and practise their religion.
As Australians we typically think of ourselves as relaxed and welcoming people.
Amid current concerns about extremism, it can be tempting to conclude that the anti-Muslim protests in Bendigo and Parramatta are signs of fracturing in our society.
Yet we should also keep our perspective.
Let’s condemn extremism – but let’s not judge entire communities based on the extremism of a few. [Let us not indeed]
Our public debate has recently shifted in one important respect. Anti-Muslim campaigners will no doubt feel encouraged by the upcoming visit of Geert Wilders, the controversial Dutch politician.
Based on what we know, though, a ban on Wilders may not be warranted. We know from experience that our multicultural society is robust enough to repudiate hatred and intolerance. [No society is sufficiently robust to repudiate the Hate of a Dutch politician.]
If Wilders is to visit, he should know that he may be held to account for anything that vilifies people, or incites hatred or violence. We value freedom of speech but we also value freedom from discrimination. [But, but, but…Sorry, Thinethevone, but WE have some very discriminating readers]
In many ways, we can respond to extremism from a position of strength. Not many societies have managed to be as cohesive as ours while being so diverse.
On the whole, ours is a happy story, though we don’t always realise it. [We’ll realize it when the repatriations begin] There is something revealing in how the majority of Australians endorse multiculturalism and mass immigration. [“Revealing” isn’t how you spell duplicitous]
Whether you’re Bruce, Tran or Mohammed, you can be an Australian if you’re prepared to be part of our democratic society. [That’s convenient for Tran and Mohammed. Less so for Bruce.]
Now isn’t the time to be talking down our multicultural success [Success for whom is the question]
It’s time for all good citizens to say that we choose tolerance and unity over bigotry and division.
That’s inspirational really. To hear a Laotian take such an ecumenical view of Australian nationalism. I almost get verklempt just reflecting on it. It’s a perspective that humbles us Chinese by comparison. I’m almost inclined to propose corporeal beatification for the author. The whole of the country is his we. Truly nothing could severe his bonds of fellowship with all who call themselves Australian by democracy.
Far-right extremist groups have become more vocal in their activities. In the case of Bendigo, for example, they have conducted an extended campaign of bullying and intimidation.
Or possibly not.