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Pet Sins August 2001

Skips and Wogs: An Opinion on Race Relations in Australia

I'm an Asian who's been living in Sydney, Australia for 3.5 years. It's interesting to know about the interracial relations in USA and it's pretty different from Australia. Unlike the USA, Australia doesn't have big populations of African and Latin-descent people. So Australia is a 'white' country, I can say.

However, there's a gap between English-speaking background whites and non-English-speaking background whites. Even in Australian slang there are the words "skip" and "wog". "Skip" means the "typical Australian from English-speaking background". "Wog" means "the Caucasian from non-English-speaking background" such as Greeks, Italians, Yugoslavians, Arabs etc. (in other words, for Anglo-Australians, Middle Easterners and Mediterranean Europeans and Eastern Europeans are viewed as a single race!) Both terms are quite racist.

So, in Australia, the whites from non-English-speaking backgrounds are viewed as a minority (I wonder if it also happens in USA) and there's not really much mixing between these two white groups. In the USA, I heard the police likes to pick on the 'blacks' and 'Latinos' but in Australia, police likes to pick on 'Aboriginal Australians', 'Vietnamese', 'Pacific Islanders' and 'Middle Eastern-looking whites'. In other words, if you look like 'AJ' or 'Howie' from Backstreet boys, you can be picked on by the police!

About the Afro-blacks and Latinos in Australia, we don't have any stereotypes against them. In fact, a lot of them mixed with the whites in Australia. I hang around a lot with non-English-speaking background whites and I've seen the racism they experienced from Briton-Australians. I think www.colorq.org should also focus on non-English speaking background whites. Although they are also European, they also experienced racism as like the Asians/Latinos/Blacks do.

A student
Jan 2000

Comment from ' Anonymous '
I agree with that article! In America there are whites, blacks , asians and Latins, In Australia, even Latinos are regarded as 'wogs'. In other word, in OZ Latinos and Russians and Arabs are regarded as the same race(!)
Fri, 14 Apr 2000