SHOULD I pack up and go back to my own country?

I'm a tall, white guy with an Australian accent who grew up in Central Queensland. My hair colour is a very dull mess of blond and brown-ish. I was born in Brisbane and I'm not religious.

Here's the thing: My dad is a Kiwi.

He has lived here for decades, is married to my Australian-born mum, and has three Australian-born grown-up kids. Oh and he's a citizen.

I wonder if this counts as my home country because of a video that went viral this week.

A Brisbane teen with a mild Kiwi accent is warned that Australia is being "overrun" by foreigners.

But he was born here and tells her so.

"I don't believe that you were," she responds.

And when she finds out his dad is a Kiwi, she says his dad should "pack up and go back to New Zealand".

Which takes me back to the Cronulla Riots, but bear with me.

During the riots there's a moment when the angry and drunken mob turn on a pair of teenagers, accusing them of being wogs or "Lebs".

One of the young guys fires back - he was born here, he loves Australia, this is his country.

He suffers punches and kicks before the police come to his aid.

Apparently facing thousands of violent thugs and announcing his love for Australia was not patriotic enough for them. Maybe his skin wasn't the right shade.

Watch: Cronulla Rioters turn on teenagers (Language warning)

 

A chunk of my foreign heritage can be covered by sheep jokes, cool weather and as a boy I said "jandals" not "thongs".

It's not much, certainly not enough for me to be considered "foreign".

Would it be different if I was the son of a browner New Zealand man, would I be less Australian?

What if instead of a white Kiwi man, I was the son of an Iraqi man?

I don't play or watch sport. I don't surf and have all but given up drinking booze.

If that's the Australian way of life I keep hearing about, I don't fit in.

Yet I have never been abused for my background, have faced no bigotry, racism or any other kind of attack for being a boring-looking white guy. Noone has ever asked where I'm really from.

There are times through our history when we have hated certain groups. We hated the Chinese during the gold rush, and Pauline Hanson proved that plenty hated "Asians" in the late 1990s.

We've feared the Irish too.

During the breakdown of Yugoslavia, we were fearful then too. Remember when the Australian Open was marred by violence? That was only 2007.

At the moment we're nervous about Muslims of all shades and from all nations.

That's how the wheel turns.

In the future, if the Kiwis on the North Island start fighting the South Island, am I going to be lumped in with New Zealand's "culture of violence"? If a deranged Kiwi commits an act of terror, will I be expected to apologise?

If that wheel turns against me or my family, I wonder how long it would take for me to be one of those foreigners overrunning this country.

 

Owen Jacques is a journalist and Online News Editor with Australian Regional Media.

Follow him on Facebook.


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