I was disappointed and embarrassed to read Laurie Black’s xenophobic letter to the editor (Sentinel-Times, Letters 30/9/14, p20).
I was disappointed people still held the colonial view that one’s culture is better than the another, and I was embarrassed that Mr Black thinks he speaks for us ‘Aussies’.
Mr Black’s logic on how to keep Australia and its interests (however broad) safe from extremists – Islamic or otherwise is twisted and not helpful.
Mr Black suggests an ‘assimilate or else’ approach is required.
When neighbours close their doors, refuse to learn your name, discourage their children from playing with others, and, don’t show any interest in you or your culture, it pushes people to the edges and into isolated groups that gain strength from the ‘them and us’ dichotomy.
It pushes otherwise benign people to the fringes, warps their thinking and radicalises them into performing acts that are abhorrent.
Tolerance and empathy are not uniquely ‘Aussie’ – they’re human rights (which our government seems particularly immune from, but that’s another matter).
The questions we should be asking is: what can we do to help culturally diverse people feel at home in our community?
What could these new neighbours bring to our community?
Could this person be the shot in the arm a struggling community group needs?
Could this person be our next Olympian, superstar, world leader?
I hope new arrivals realise Mr Black does not represent the views of this wonderful and welcoming community.
Danika Dent, Leongatha.