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October 09, 2015

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LJ, I'm getting an "Internal Server Error" for everything at that site right now. Here's the google-cached version.

Like several of the commenters there, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the article calling Norman "perhaps the biggest hero of that night." He clearly knew better than that. But he may have suffered the most.

LJ, that's one enormously slow-loading link. But I'm really glad I waited it out.

I recall, a couple of decades later, travelling with my wife to Australia. She being of East Asian ancestry, and me knowing of the (by then repealed) "white Australia" policy, I was a little bit twitchy. But we never saw a bit of bias from any of the many Australians we met on that trip.

I don't know how much Peter Norman's example had to do with that. But the country had certainly changed massively for the better.

The observation that Australia was actually more racist than the US at the time is an interesting one, which I hadn't considered.

Thanks for the back up Doc and everyone else, the understanding. I tend to open up a bunch of tabs and then go back to them to read so I didn't realize the link was so slow.

At one point in my life, I was considering, because of various reasons, moving the Australia. The arc of social development in Oz is really fascinating and, as a USaian, it really made me aware of my tendencies to try and cram things into a US-centric framework of understanding.

If you are interested in a current window on the current environment, the saga of Adam Goodes may be of interest. here's one link, but you should, to coin a phrase, google the rest

http://www.smh.com.au/afl/sydney-swans/mother-of-teen-who-sledged-adam-goodes-says-fans-should-not-boo-but-still-wants-an-apology-20150729-gimqms.html

I'm slightly puzzled as to why this story is suddenly everywhere now. I've been familiar with it for at least 20 years and supposed everybody else was, but this week it's here, and all over facebook and other blogs as if it were news. What happened?

I've never met an Australian I didn't like, but although I have led an unremarkable life doing unremarkable stuff, I have known two mixed race couples who emigrated to Australia and had to come back because of the prevalent racism. I hope it's getting better.

I'm assuming that it is from that Griot post, which came up in a number of friends' facebook feeds. I didn't know any of this, even though when I first came to Japan 30 years ago, I had a bit of an immersion education in Aussie history and culture and read quite a bit after that.

I'm assuming that you are USian, which I think points to how much our collective knowledge is no longer shared. I find that quite distinctly when I'm speaking with people here who are 15 or 20 years younger than me and I find that the things we know can be totally different.

No, I'm English, and likely 15 years older than you.

Sorry about the mistaken assumption on nationality and in the interest of full disclosure, I'm 54...

I've known the basic facts about what happened in the Mexico Olympics for decades (like chris y, above), though not so much about what happened to Peter Norman back in Oz.

I lived in Australia 1982-86, and liked it very much, but where I was (Canberra, at the Australian National University) and who I was (white American married to a white woman) meant that I was unlikely to directly experience the racism that I know existed "out there" in parts of Aussie society. There was definitely a sense, however, that Australia was changing, that the "white Australia" so proudly proclaimed and roughly defended during the first half of the 20th century was a relic of the past, and the new Australia welcomed by most would be more multicultural - even if they hadn't quite figured out how to do it.

Key elements in this historical shift, as I reconstructed it from popular reflections on it, were (1) a large number of Eastern European immigrants (refugees) after WWII, challenging the "Britishness" of the core population; (2) Britain's withdrawal as an Asian power - except residual Hong Kong - in the 1960s, leaving Oz to realize that it could no longer exist as an outpost of Britain but would have to look at the globe and acknowledge it was much closer to Asia; (3) the Whitlam (Labor) administration of the 1970s, reversing the decades of "Liberal" (= conservative) hegemony that had tapped into the Anglophile, racist (overtly or subliminally) tendencies within Australian tradition.

But - as in the USA - eliminating racism is a very long, very slow process, and there's a whole lot of hurt for a whole lot of people along the way. I'm just sorry to learn that Peter Norman was one of those who got caught up in the wheels of "progress."

(Full disclosure, FWIW: I'm 71)

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