Mike Stuchbery💀🍷 @MikeStuchbery_ Journalist, Commentator & Historian // Various at @BylineTimes // History at @TheLocalEurope // DMs open // Sub on @Patreon: patreon.com/mikestuchbery_ Sep. 12, 2018 3 min read

Caleb, mate, do you know *anything* about the role racist caricatures in newspapers played in Australia's past? Hell, it played a role in Australia's Federation. Here's a quick recap... /1

I know kids you like hate to think so, but Australia's story is one of perpetual migration. White Australians had to face this reality for the first time when gold was discovered in 1851, bringing thousands to workings in Victoria & NSW - remember that? /2

During the Victorian and NSW Gold Rushes, thousands of Chinese (mostly from Guangdong Province) headed south, lured by the tales of the 'new gold mountain'. They made a life on the goldfields, working together to send their earnings home... 3/

Many white miners became frustrated with the Chinese on the Victorian and NSW goldfields - they saw them as interlopers, taking the riches that somehow 'rightfully' belonged to them.

Anti-Chinese sentiment erupted in violence, such as the riot at Lambing Flat in June 1861. /4

As the Gold Rush subsided, a considerable number of Chinese opted to stay - Melbourne, in particular, was home to a thriving community. It was so successful, it continued to attract migrants, in the form of families. 5/

The presence of the Chinese in Melbourne (and elsewhere) continued to alarm the white European population. This fear manifested in many, many newspaper stories & publications that dealt with white women falling prey to Chinese men in Chinatown's opium dens. 6/

The increasing number of migrants was so alarming to many that it prompted a number of publications such as the The Bulletin to emerge, with a distinctly xenophobic bent. Alongside broadsides against the Chinese, it ran cartoons full of racist, Asian caricatures. /7

Indeed, many of these publications began to agitate for Federation, as they believed it would be more effective to stem the tide of migrants. Cartoons like this, from the Melbourne Punch, appeared - it depicts the colonies working together - federating - to force out Chinese. /8

Indeed, two of the very first pieces of legislation passed by the Parliament of Australia were the Immigration Restriction Act & the Pacific Islander Act in 1901. Both placed strong restrictions on who was the be permitted entry to 'White Australia'. 9/  http://www.migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au/exhibition/objectsthroughtime/immigration-restriction-act/index.html 

The Pacific Islander Labourer Act was an interesting one. Pacific Islanders had been brought to Queensland for decades as cheap labourers, working in conditions of indentured servitude.

Cartoons agitating for their removal emphasized and dehumanized their appearance. /10

Don't even start me on the ways in which Indigenous Australians have been portrayed - if anything, their representation has worsened, caricatured representations exaggerating, along with the racist ideas about them. /11

Cartoons have been used to marginalize & alienate in Australian culture since the 1850s. They were a tool in racist moral panics & the xenophobic drive for Federation. They're routinely used to punch down & reinforce stereotypes, moreso than anywhere else in the Anglosphere. /12

If you don't realise this @TheCalebBond, if you don't understand the contexts in which Australian cartoons have been used, you have no business using your bully pulpit to lecture Australians about what is racist. /13

And if you can't see that this image, with Serena's exaggerated features, hairstyle, demeanour, is a direct call out to previous racist depictions. then you have no business lecturing us about anything to do with Australia's past. /14

In short, pick up a book before you next try the smug dickhead for cash routine - or finish your education. Your BS may be a little more convincing. /FIN

PS.


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