Would you say multiculturalism in Australia is a failure? Every now and again, racism rears its ugly head in the media.
Basically, Australia was originally a land of inland seas, and unique dinosaurs. There were no humans, no apes, no dogs, no cats, no foxes, no rabbits, and very few European birds. Thousands of years later, the ancestors of our current indigenous people migrated across land bridges to our continent, supposedly from Northern India. This was when Tasmania, New Guinea, and New Zealand were all part of our great Southern land.
These were our original migrants. Along came the First Fleet, to change Australian history and its ‘culture’. Wave after wave of migration ensued, and is still continuing. These days, you could say that Australia is one multicultural meld. What has driven this shifting of the sands of humanity?
“The grass is always greener…” This proverb is as old as the human race. The next valley was always going to be a better place to dwell, so many people migrated, across the hills, and over the seas around the globe.
As an educator for more than 40 years, I have noticed that, on the whole, children will play with each other. We are all born colour blind. It is sad, but true, that adults teach their children bigotry. We are all descended from migrants in Australia. It is just that some of our ancestral families have been here in Australia longer than others. This does not make anyone superior.
It is quite normal for people migrating here from other cultures to wish to cling to their identity. Some do not understand if their children abrogate some part of their heritage, as they are growing up in Australia.
All of this can create divisiveness in our society. Many articles in the media are biased and can label their latest victim group as an object for racial prejudice. Yet the people I tutor and mentor as an English as a Second Language educator, wish to live in Australia in peace. They appreciate our freedoms: of beliefs; of opportunities; of democracy.
“The grass is always greener…”! This also applies to other areas in life. I guess we have all wished for something someone else had, at some stage in our long lives. This ‘envy’ is a normal human emotion. The ‘other woman’ is always preferable to your own wife at home. The ‘other man’s’ BS is always better than the same old TV addict sitting in the lounge room. If we act on these ‘grass is always greener’ impulses in our emotional lives, lots of people can get hurt. There are divorces and failed relationships as a result. I have known of friends who divorced for these reasons. Some ended up with more than one divorce.
One couple, both professionals, divorced because the husband loved another younger woman, who was pregnant with his child. His first family of children always felt they had missed something. His first wife ended up with the kids, the house and the cat. Both husband and wife needed counselling over their bitter custody dispute about their ageing Labrador!
Later, his second wife left him for a man her own age. The first wife remarried, the dog had passed away. All the children somehow became more resilient, with endless Christmas lunches, and several sets of grandparents.
All of this because the ‘grass is always greener…”. That is why, right now, divorces are happening, and plane loads of people are migrating round the world. Some will land in Australia today. The new migrants will add to our rich polyglot multiculturalism.
Even if we regard the government’s immigration policies in Australia as a failure, all the children will grow up together. Maybe one day we will all be truly, one multicultural meld. Planning to catch a plane overseas? Fancy that chick? “The grass is always greener…”.