Australian hypocrisy on race

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 1997, 12:00am

C P Martens' letter in these columns entitled 'Clean Up Our Own Backyard' (South China Morning Post, August 12) states that Australians resent having Hong Kong point a finger at them on the issue of Australian racism when 'behind the finger they see a dirty hand', referring to Hong Kong people's own racist attitudes as reflected in the legislature's failure to legislate against racial discrimination.

In the heat of debate about racism or human rights, Australia invariably stands on the moral high ground, pointing its finger at Asian countries. Asians generally do not point a finger at Australia's flaws and weaknesses because they do not claim to set the moral standards. When Asians thus point out Australians' flaws, it is only to remind them that they are not perfect and that it would perhaps be wise of Australians to heed the biblical teaching not to cast the first stone.

If, as C P Martens says, Australians feel resentful, this can only be interpreted as the height of hypocrisy.

B F LIM Melbourne Australia