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Stereotype, much?

Posted by JSYL on Wednesday, October 25, 2006 in
I don't think there are enough 'ethnic' journalists visible in Australian media.

That's probably a huge generalisation in itself, as I'm not one of those J2 students who can rattle off famous journos like baseball fans can rifle through their vintage collection of baseball players, (though I wish I was a journo buff...). But a culmination of a work run-in and Newsday brought my long-time suspicion back to the fore again.

A while back, I was in the bathroom at work, fumbling with a button that had popped on my skirt (one of the many embarassing mishaps that happen to me daily, always as a general rule, occurring in the worst possible locations at the worst possible times), and trying to figure out how on earth to sew it back on. A very kind passerby offered to help and we started a conversation, as you do, and as you must, when you're forced to be that physically close to a complete stranger until the button has been securely sewed on (yes, I was wearing the skirt while she sewed it on, praying she wouldn't poke me with the needle- this is how you NETWORK people, its called innovative, not strange.)

I asked her what department she was in, she said accounts or marketing or some such (a large room a walkway away from editorial). She asked me, and I quote:

Her: "And you're in...I.T.?"

Me: "No...I'm in Editorial."

Her: "Oh, right. Translation desk.[As if to say, riiiight riiiight, I see]"

Me: "No....I'm an editorial assistant...I help with the commodities reports and general news."

Her: "Oh! [startled/puzzled]"

Its an understandable assumption to make, since at the Sydney Bureau, the only Asians you see walking around are, well, in I.T. or on the translation desk.

On Newsday, the question, dear readers, I know you're longing to find out was on the tip of my tongue before I screwed the damn thing up, was going to be "Mr Beazley, you say that the Labor party is the only one with a plan to solve the skills shortage crisis. How will you do this when you also plan to abolish foreign apprenticeship programs?"

Can you imagine how his response might have changed from his usual spiel about making sure 'Aussie' local workers aren't unfairly disadvantaged if asked this question, directly challenging his position on the ability for people who could well be my own extended family to work in Australia, by a 'foreigner'? A foreigner with an 'Aussie accent', no less! The drama! The spluttering and delayed hesitation! The awkward gap of silence! The greater level of accountability and representation of 'ethnic perspectives'!!!!!! Scandalous!

We need more of it. Stat.

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if only...

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