The bigotry we are blind to

(Cross posted from On Line Opinion)

Australians are very mindful of prejudice and discrimination in our community, and rightly so. Yet, many prejudices are so fashionable and pervasive that they go unnoticed. We are blind to some bigotries.

I am a member of an ethnic and cultural group called Whyjens. You could probably guess this from my name alone.

It is with some shame that I acknowledge our massive over-representation in the prison population. This fact is routinely and publicly interpreted as an indication of our intrinsically violent nature. It is variously blamed on genes and/or culture both in the Australian and the Guardian.

When I draw people’s attention to the number of us who are incarcerated, it is greeted with the suggestion that it is “our own bloody fault” or even with mirth. I have been called a rapist on the basis of pure prejudice. I worry that my children hear such views and internalize them.

Yet, Whyjens are also massively over-represented among victims of crime. We are given harsher sentences for committing the same crime as non-Whyjens. Those of us who are incarcerated are commonly subject to rape without public outcry. It is just considered part of the punishment.

We are also over represented amongst alcoholics, drug dependents, the homeless and most forms of social dysfunction.

We have triple the suicide rate of the general population and significantly shorter life expectancy. But there is no public campaign to close the gap.

At every single age, from 1 year old to 100 years old, our mortality rate is higher. More recently, our Covid fatality rate was double that of non-Whygens.

We are subject to a unique and deadly form of cancer that only Whyjens can contract. Roughly 17,000 are diagnosed each year. Yet there is no special funding provided by government specifically towards Whyjen health outcomes. Indeed, government funded health research is openly targeted at non-Whyjens whose average life expectancy is longer than Whyjens. Total government grants awarded to non-Whygen medical research is four times that of Whygens.

Educational resources are explicitly diverted to non-Whyjens whose educational outcomes are already way better than Whyjens in almost all dimensions. Whygens are expelled from school at 10 times the rate of non-Whyjens. When I went to school we were the main victims of corporal punishment.

We are routinely the object of pejorative generalisations and jokes about our supposed incompetence, predisposition to violence and closeness to apes.

There is a popular book called “Whyjens are dogs” and “Why Whyjens are clueless”, openly available. Some years ago, I even saw a book called “Whyjens are vermin and should be killed.”

Whyjens are barred entry to many night clubs, being easily recognizable by our facial characteristics. More than 2 Whyjens have virtually no chance of entry. It is argued that too many Whyjens in the one place are likely to instigate violence. This is all legally sanctioned and approved of by the non-Whyjen majority.

Whyjens are still legally barred from attending certain public baths. I am banned from certain drinking establishments. I am charged more for insurance.

Whyjens are targeted and killed by police. In the US, police kill blacks compared to whites at rates 1.5 times higher than their population size would justify. Police kill Whyjens compared to non-Whyjens at rates 20 times higher.

Many tens of thousands of Whyjens have been forcibly separated from their children by court order and enjoy only very limited access. This stolen generation of children is denied access to their Whyjen heritage. Recent federal legislation, if passed, will consolidate this odious principle.

Qantas have an official policy of not letting unaccompanied children sit next to Whyjens, because of the fear that we might molest them.

In at least one democratic country, it is written into law that the penalty for murder will be less if the victim is Whyjen.

Indeed, it is the common view that the life of a Whyjen is worth less than the life of others and this had been embodied in policy at several levels. It permates Hollywood not to mention the reporting of crime. If a Whyjen murders a Whyjen it is barely newsworthy.  In the reporting of both natural and man-made disasters, the deaths of non-Whyjens are listed first and separately and are considered more tragic by general consensus.

What is my ethnic-cultural group. Who are Y-gens? Is it some micro-ethnicity from Cymru-Wales?

Well, Y stands for a chromosome and gen stands for gender. We are males.

Did you guess the punchline? Check the facts yourself. It think it is a nice device to just list the facts and have the reader construct a deserving ethnicity in their own mind. The fact that Whyjen sounds a little like Uigers helps!




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Waa Waaaaaaaa
Waa Waaaaaaaa
1 year ago

Have a sook

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Waa Waaaaaaaa

Thanks for your thoughtful input. By all means tell us your name so we can associate it with your moronity.

Marcie McGowan
Marcie McGowan
11 months ago

Firstly, I think your composition & strategy here to build a picture before revealing your identity is very clever. If you had revealed this at the start, biases perpetuated by today’s identity-political narratives would have undermined the impact of the stats- as you well know!
Secondly, I found these stats both shocking and commonplace at the same time, which is an interesting paradox really.
I am an empowered, confident, competitive female. Many have mistaken me for having feminist leanings since I was in my teens, and perhaps I do when it comes to my deeply held, yet no-nonsense belief that men and women simply are equal. I have never felt that I have had to fight for this because it’s just a basic fact to me. I don’t feel threatened by males, and I see great complimentary values in these genders co-existing. Obviously, my views are a result of my upbringing and life experiences, where I have had the privilege of being in a relationship with many wonderful men who have made my life far better. For anyone reading this and interested, I also have the privilege of being surrounded by the most phenomenal, successful, and powerful women, the most significant of these being my mother.
The above digression serves as context (and sadly justification in anticipation of the response I could receive..) to my next thoughts about our current Anglo socio-cultural political narratives around males, particularly of the white variety. They are concerning indeed.
Shedding light on victims of male violence and discrimination, by creating more victims just seems like all kinds of wrong to me. Blame and shame will never reap a positive outcome, particularly when those who actually deserve the blame only make up a minuscule portion of the population who is demonized. It’s as though half our population (the male half) cannot be separated by individual traits, behaviors, and actions, instead, the entirety is to be tarred with the same brush. Sounds like a familiar tale… I hate identity warfare!
Every time I dare engage in this flaming conversation, I am careful to make important personal disclaimers. The first is that when it comes to violence and many other forms of power fuelled abuse in our society, we know that by far males are the perpetrators, and females are the victims. This is NOT OK… (how stupid that that needs to be said out loud urgh), it is abhorrent. The second is that I feel compelled to own my privilege which I touched on above. Never have I been the victim of male-based crimes or behaviors that are part of anti-male stereotypes. My father was and is loving, kind, humble, reliable, trustworthy, and good, as are my husband, brother, and many other male figures in my world. Because of this, I cannot begin to understand the thoughts, feelings, beliefs etc that evolve for women who have had any less than my privilege. Finally, despite my privilege, I am not naive or ignorant. My professional work in child protection spans 20 years of my career to date. I have borne witness, worked with, and read about more male-perpetuated violence than many and I have sobbed countless times with knotted insides, as I sat with child and female victims of horrific crimes. But here’s the thing that I have learned… those male perpetrators, were almost always victims themselves, and I cannot unsee the reality of a traumatized ‘system’ as opposed to one where males are bad and females are not.
There’s only one response that really makes sense to me in this whole mad mess… and that is to ask the question WHY. Not to blame.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
11 months ago
Reply to  Marcie McGowan

Thanks for the interesting comments. Obe minor correction: while males are responsible for almost all the violence, they are also more often the victims of violence (though obvioulsy not sexual violence).

Marcie McGowan
Marcie McGowan
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Lloyd

Thank you for that info Chris. I suppose what I mean was that when females are the victims, it is highly likely that a male was the perpetrator. But I hear what you are saying about male-to-male violence being even more prevalent. The fact that men are more often victims is not the most popular narrative right now!