When the Spectacle is Over: The Changing Experience of Racist Exclusion among ‘Integrated’ Migrants in Multicultural Australia
The target of racist moral panic in multicultural societies constantly shifts, assuming different forms at various times. The migrant group against whom this racism is directed often frames most academic and government policy discussions around racism and multiculturalism. This has certainly been the case in Australia. Alternatively, in this paper, I enhance our understanding of how racist exclusion manifests itself in the lives of migrants who are no longer the popular target of racism, by exploring the experience of a migrant group who have been embraced as ‘model’ migrant citizens by wider Australian society. After a period of being the othered spectacle between the 1980s and 1990s, Asian-Australians are now perceived to have integrated socially, culturally and economically into Australian society and are thus often celebrated as a ‘favoured’ minority group. Using preliminary findings from ethnographic research with the Filipino-Australian community in Sydney, I will outline the ways in which Filipino-Australians endure new forms of racism and marginalisation in their everyday lives in spite of experiencing a strong sense of inclusion and belonging in Australian society. In particular, I emphasise the subtle and ambivalent forms of racism and cultural othering that occur in the aftermath of integration. In contrast to studies highlighting how racism is experienced as a barrier into the social system, my findings offer insight into how racism is experienced within the system, thus, stressing the limits to the process of integration that prevent the full social inclusion of minority racial groups. Finally, I also outline the impacts that shifting targets of racism have on the Filipino-Australian community and explore how the privileged position enjoyed by migrants who no longer bare the brunt of racist moral panic add another complex dimension to race and power relations in multicultural Australia.
Keywords: Racism, Multiculturalism, Inclusion, Exclusion, Integration, Australia, Asian-Australians, Filipino-Australians
PhD Candidate, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University