Racist attacks against Asian transit passengers in Australia

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      I recently posted a blog about what happened when the U.S. show What Would You Do? staged scenarios in which Asian people were discriminated against.

      Shortly thereafter, the latest video in a string of racist verbal attacks against Asians on transit in Australia went viral online.

      In Perth, an aboriginal Australian woman making a racist verbal attack against a female Asian passenger was caught on camera this past weekend.

      The Asian passenger remained silent as the other woman called her several derogatory terms, including a "whore" and "slut", and approached her. None of the other passengers stepped in.

      In July during rush hour in Sydney, Karen Bailey, a 55-year-old woman, was caught on camera on a Newcastle-bound train for verbally insulting and making fun of a passenger of Asian descent.

      According to reports, the tirade was triggered by two white children who wouldn't give up their seat for her. She had screamed swear words at them and called them "fucking bogan children" (bogan is Australian slang for someone unsophisticated) before the video started.

      She is captured calling the police to complain about the children.

      She then went on to call an Asian woman sitting beside them a "gook" and "go back to China" for no other reason than the fact that the Asian woman was sitting near the children.

      Bailey repeatedly mocked the woman's Asian accent and pulled her eyes. She insulted the woman's non-Asian partner for having an Asian girlfriend.

      Other passengers argued with Bailey and defended the Asian woman.

      Bailey later apologized for the racist remarks. Bailey had initially given a fake name in the video, Sue Wilkins, but her name was later revealed to be Karen Bailey.

      She pleaded guilty to offensive behaviour and was given a 12-month good behaviour bond.

      Here's a foul-mouthed racist rant from a woman against an Asian schoolboy on a Sydney bus in August 2013.

      In addition to making comments about him being Asian, she hypocritically calls him "fucking rude" and tells him to "get some manners" in spite of shouting expletives herself. She talks about being born in Australia and asking for more boats to take people like him out of the country.

      The bus driver intervenes by telling the Asian passenger to sit down, but doesn't kick off the verbally abusive passenger who engages in arguments with—and even threatens to kill—other passengers as well.

      The 46-year-old Susan Bernobich, who is a mother, was not convicted.

      Like Bailey, Bernobich gave a number of excuses as to why she engaged in the tirade, none of which had anything to do with Asian people.

      There were a number of other verbal attacks against people of Asian descent in Australia in 2013, including one by a group of teenage girls against a female Asian passenger (the Sydney bus driver kicked the girls off the bus) and a man criticizing some Asian tourists on a Sydney bus.

      While there haven't been as many viral videos of similar incidents in Canada, I have seen many brief racist and derogatory remarks on buses in Vancouver.

      It's always a debate whether or not to get involved in such an exchange but it's important to keep in mind the details of such incidents so that they can be reported to the bus driver or authorities if necessary.




      Aug 25, 2014 at 7:37pm

      as a white guy living for years in Asia, I wonder do you think their is some sort of unique situation, or that maybe..just maybe..transit is full of the worst kinds of people throughout the world.

      James Blatchford

      Aug 25, 2014 at 10:10pm

      Beyond vile. All three should be jailed.

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      ron banerj

      Aug 26, 2014 at 6:43am

      You people are the real racists.. in Oz dozens of Indians have been beaten and some even KILLED in racist attacks.. You never talk about that but you make a big deal about this 'verbal' minor stuff vs Asians? Cuz Asians are more important to you than Indians, aren't they? Indians can be killed and you don't care, but scratch an Asian and you take action..

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      Aug 26, 2014 at 3:51pm

      This woman looks crazy. This stuff is just stupid. Period.

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      Craig Takeuchi

      Aug 27, 2014 at 12:18am


      It's hard to take a comment about racism seriously when the words "you people" are used.

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      Aug 28, 2014 at 4:05am

      Hi Craig- just a correction re the lady on the train- the Asian girl was not with her partner, he was just a man sitting beside her.

      The "racism, it stops with me" program has some
      Incredible resources for practical ways people can take action if they see racist behaviour.

      Including a link on what to do if you see racism on a bus


      Aug 28, 2014 at 6:07am

      I know this will sound like victim blaming, but more often than not bullies - mainly whites - will exploit the fact that asians in general tend not to answer or fight back. A racist bully is more encouraged to do the same - even worse - if they get no negative repercussions from their previous encounter. Thus every asian has a duty to stand up for themselves, not to sound or be a walkover - because if they fail to do so, that racist will repeat the same to more asians until (if) they are taught that people do not take kindly to abuse.


      Aug 28, 2014 at 6:10am

      "as a white guy living for years in Asia, I wonder do you think their is some sort of unique situation, or that maybe..just maybe..transit is full of the worst kinds of people throughout the world. "


      oh, was it pretty standard then, adults picking on schoolkids and telling them to die and take "people like him" out of the country?

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      Aug 28, 2014 at 7:49am

      As a white guy, I witness blatant racism towards Asians on the Canada Line weekly. Last week, a white couple in their 40s were sitting in the courtesy seats as the train got full. A very elderly Asian couple got on, the white couple looked up then back down and didn't get up. At the next stop, an elderly white couple got on. The white couple immediately got up and offered then their seats.
      Or perhaps I've missed something - are the signs meant to say - courtesy seats for old white people only?

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