Australia remains a cohesive society with one of the highest levels of positive sentiment towards multiculturalism and immigration in the western world, according to the Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion survey.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane welcomes the findings of the survey, released today, while noting the prevalence of racism in neighbourhoods and shopping centres.

According to the survey, 85 per cent of respondents agreed that multiculturalism “has been good for Australia”.

“There remains strong and broad public support for multiculturalism. It confirms how Australia has been a multicultural success story. Our experience of immigration has been a nation-building one,”

Dr Soutphommasane said.

However, Dr Soutphommasane expressed concern about the survey’s findings concerning discrimination.

This year, 18 per cent of respondents said they had experienced discrimination because of skin colour, ethnic origin or religion.

The most often reported location of discrimination was the neighbourhood (58 per cent), followed by shopping centres (42.8 per cent) and at work (39 per cent).

“These findings remind us that racism occurs in everyday places, to everyday people. Casual racism appears to be the new face of prejudice and discrimination.

“The public response to recent incidents of racial vilification shows that the majority of Australians reject hate and division. But we can’t be complacent about stopping racism wherever it occurs,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

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    “Having lived in several states by way of the military and civilian work, I can say unequivocally that Missouri is replete with inherently racist people. Unsurprisingly, St. Louis is among the most racially divided cities I’ve experienced as well. After all, the Dredd Scott case took place in the courthouse in downtown St. Louis. The Missouri Compromise is something people also seem to forget. That was one of the principle contributory variables for the U.S. Civil War. Never have I seen such polarizing racial disharmony and malcontent for one another elsewhere. As a resident of the St. Louis Metro-Area for many years, I have experienced racism from both sides on a number of occasions. My wife and I (inter-racial couple) were actually refused service at a restaurant in the South Side of St. Louis (Soulard area) and told to “eat somewhere else” in 2009. Race relations between blacks and whites are comparably poor in the state of Missouri and the people seem to hate each other to a degree I haven’t seen in other places in this country – to include the Deep South. As educated and open-minded professionals, my wife and I are often aghast at how ignorant and hateful people (both black and white) in Missouri can be. Our mixed race children experienced significant abuse from both sides throughout their foundation years of school. We’ve done our best to temper the ill-effects by educating them and raising them to be proud of who they are in terms of their unique racial composition, but there’s no telling how much emotional and psychological damage caused to them from the people in the St. Louis Metro Area. We can only hope that they transcended it”.


    (re-post) I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN

    One of the most devastating problems on the planet Earth is Racism. It gnaws away at our humanity with its divisiveness, savagely robbing us of the opportunity to achieve local, even global security and well being. In many ways racism in America is a microcosm of a world-wide condition. Perhaps a closer look, taken from my personal past, can provide some answers and broaden perspectives.

    My parents were inter-racial and married back in the 1940’s when segregation ruled and racism was rampant. Dad was a “high yellah” black man, to use an old term, who looked like a Native American with black curly hair, in fact, much of our ancestry is Native American; Cherokee and Lakota. Mom was white, hazel-eyed and beautiful with ancestry going back to the Continental Congress. We lived in Danville, Illinois where practically everyone knew us. My paternal grandfather was a highly respected black physician of legendary status, who came from Texas and toted pistols. Not only was he an expert at their use, he was also the best surgeon in that part of the country. Dad became fairly famous as a big band leader throughout the Midwest during the 30s and the 40s and is listed in lots of music history books. Mom loved him and he loved her and we were considered a black family, although my sister and I were so fair we had to tell people we were “part colored” or they would have never guessed we belonged to the Rachels clan.

    Being Black was fine with me, in fact, I liked it. I was included as a part of our family with my half brother, my sister, cousins, parents, grandparents, great grandparents and aunts and uncles from both Mom’s family and Dad’s family all of whom loved me, and for the most part, got along with each other. It was not like mixed families have sometimes been portrayed in movies with all sorts of inner turmoil. We were blessed. Outside of our immediate clan racial conflict, of course certainly existed, but a sense of family and faith, for the most part, kept us sane and balanced.

    Being white in a black world and black in white world was enlightening, to say the least, and something I consider to be a great blessing as it allowed my perspective on race to be both subjective and objective, so eventually I began to wonder why people could be half one race and half another anywhere in the world but in America nobody could be half black. It was an “either-or” situation. Also, of the thousands of Black Americans I’ve known intimately, very few ever acknowledged racial lines other than Black although about 65% (Some say 100%) of the American Black people have White ancestry. That amount goes up to 85% when you include Native American with the White, as per Wikipedia, and even more when you include Hispanic bloodlines. The bottom line is that in these days it is not very common for a Black American to be entirely black.

    I noticed that even if an American is 90% white and only 10% black, they usually considered themselves, and were considered by other Americans, to be entirely Black. It seems the moment any Negro blood is detected that person is considered to be ALL black regardless the shade of their skin or any other features and usually other bloodlines are never acknowledged. I observed this phenomenon on a daily basis. I don’t think it’s right that every race on the planet can claim their entire ancestry except the American Black people. President Obama, for example, is half white but always referred to as black: “The first Black President”

    Today there are virtually millions of people like my sister and I who appear White but have significant amounts of Black blood in our veins, but rarely do you ever hear anyone speaking out from our perspective anymore than you hear a very dark person saying much about it when they have a White grand parent or great-grand parent. However this group of people, which includes myself, are the ones who today have a tremendous opportunity to reach out to the rest of the country from the perspective of the race we most look like with a message of racial unity and mutual acceptance because those hearing our words will not assume our perspective is coming from the ‘other side’. This, oddly enough, would not include those of us who have Native American ancestry. We all, for the most part, seem to be proud of our Indian blood and I could only guess that would probably be because, at least in these days, that stigma has finally been outgrown.

    I don’t suppose any sane person today would think the institution of slavery should be tolerated in any form whatsoever but one of its stepchildren is continuously accepted without question. It divides us as definitely as the old South’s segregated bathrooms and drinking fountains. It’s the ‘one or the other’ mentality and it has fostered something that we can call the “COLOR LINE”. It exists because not too long ago the side of the line you were on could determine whether you owned property or were property, although there were a few Black slave owners. It was, and still is, a line of pain and the most divisive concept our country has ever known. It can be said that this is the ‘line’ people with light skin are ‘passing’ when they do not acknowledge their black ancestry, a big taboo in the Black community and a eye-brow raiser in the White community. Or it can be the line crossed when someone marries a person of the other color. I suppose because minorities demand allegiance, usually nearly white “Black” people are perfectly comfortable in never acknowledging their White blood. None the less, this kind of thing, this line, doesn’t belong in a country rooted in or striving for equality and justice. It is completely un-American and in a broader sense totally unnatural. You can see just how unnatural this is if you’ve ever witnessed small children happily playing together where normal human interaction emerges. Race never crosses their little minds.

    Perhaps more than any other issue, the persistent refusal of so much of White America to accept Black Americans as full brothers in the past, has nurtured and galvanized the minority mindset that, “things will never change”. I don’t think that most White Americans completely understand the depth of the trauma the black community endured and the degree it still impacts black reaction to nearly everything. Although we’re getting better, racism has been so ingrained in our attitudes towards each other that it almost becomes something considered to be the norm. It’s not readily identified. I have to say that there are Whites who will perhaps never abandon those racist ways but the children of those haters have changed tremendously over the years and will continue to do so with each successive generation. America today is undeniably NOT the America of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or even the 1970s. It seems as though each era of our country’s social evolution has had its own particular set of racial conditions with corresponding remedies for those conditions which are dynamic and constantly evolving. Today, in the war against racism, I think how the Black American sees himself is the best place to start because, to a great extent, a person’s self image determines not only their own actions but, just as importantly, how they are perceived by others. With a broader self-reassessment the Black person who sees himself more connected to the rest of the country would be the first to benefit. Of course, there are millions of Black Americans who are already at and way beyond this point, defining themselves in broader terms; simply put ‘American’. They’re not part of the problem.

    If Black America could begin openly acknowledging its white ancestry found in so many, it could be a catalyst and help diffuse the much too prevalent and incredibly damaging ‘victim mentality’. This immeasurably destructive frame of mind, although somewhat understandable to a limited degree, considering our history, only serves to undermine the integrity and self reliance of the Black community and impacts the continuation of racism among the Whites. The victim mentality helps to justify the negative reaction to the White community; 90% of interracial crime today is Blacks victimizing Whites.

    (1) Think of the reaction to this! Also, without the victim mentality, so called Black “leaders” who use the race card to fan the fires of racial discontent in order to ‘fire up their base’, would be far less successful and perhaps be forced into providing better guidance and real solutions to the stifling problems with our Black youth floundering in distraught and fatherless families while living in dysfunctional and dangerous communities. This is a condition that perpetuates itself in much of the Black community and many White ones too, generation after generation. There are multiple reasons for it but the solution calls for more than money just being thrown at it. It calls for involvement in the form of better education, strengthening the family unit and redefining what it means to be an American, or better yet, a being created in the noble image of the Creator Himself!

    To me NOW is the right time for folks on the Black side to reach out across that ‘line’ with open arms to their White brothers, at least to the ones who have been reaching out to them instead of letting racial anger fester and I feel this, more than any other gesture, will help put the final nail in the coffin of America’s racism. Mutual love could result. Let them know you love and ACCEPT them as brothers and fellow Americans without race being part of the equation. That’s all! Blacks will be the first to benefit but ultimately ALL will benefit and a new and long expected America can finally and more completely emerge. I believe most of White America is pretty much ready and waiting but they won’t take the final step alone. I feel it would be better if this next step is taken by the Black community, however, the question now is what does Black America want, equality or revenge?

    Millions of Americans who appear white, like me, have black blood and millions of very dark Americans have white blood because our ancestors have been having sex with one another for over four hundred years creating every degree of mixing possible. Originally it was rape but ultimately it became more consensual where today interracial families, like ours, are becoming more common as recently seen with some celebrities. Due to the historical brutality of intolerance over the past centuries, the racial experience in America is overwhelming and clouds the issue with so much pain and anger it can become difficult to get a clear perspective. Race permeated the American Civil War.

    To my Black brothers, let me say that perhaps it would help if we remembered and honored the thousands of White men, brothers, sons and fathers who fought and died to end slavery instead of the relatively handful of men who actually owned large amounts of slaves and were at the core of the fight to maintain that system. The slave owner’s mentality from those days fostered a bigoted attitude against our Black population, as well we all know, that was dehumanizing and persistent and only within the span of my short life has it begun to mercifully, finally dissolve. However, it is a fact that leading up to the Civil War, Northern White men did not join the Union Army in any numbers to keep the South from seceding until the issue of slavery was introduced. They too, hated the institution and enlisted by the 1,000s. Perhaps the disgust of slavery among Northern Whites was rooted in the memory of many, especially the Irish, who had come to this country as Indentured Servants which was nearly identical to slavery. What is remarkable is that never in the known history of humanity has a population ever risen up and fought a war against anyone, let alone others of its own kind, to end slavery and especially for someone else! It’s true that Blacks fought in the Union Army against the Confederate Army but their valiant efforts alone would have never been enough. Slavery has existed throughout the history of humanity but NEVER has a population ever risen up with brother fighting brother to end the ungodliness. Not in Egypt, not in Rome, nowhere, just here in America. Regrettably, their valor seems to have been almost forgotten with their descendents sometimes thoughtlessly referred to as ‘crackers’, ‘honkies’ and the like by the descendents of the ones they fought and died to free.

    On the other side of the coin, most of us don’t know that one of our basic holidays; Memorial Day which began in May 1865 when newly freed slaves in Charleston, S.C., exhumed the bodies of Union soldiers from a mass grave at the Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park) as an expression of their appreciation, and gave them individual graves. Perhaps if the Black community could consider the mind set of our Black great grandparents and focus on the fair minded Whites, who throughout this country’s entire history, like those in the Underground Railroad (my mother’s ancestors were a part of this) or those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement who have been a force for racial equality all along, it would be easier to cope with the current remnants of racial bigotry and one day entirely forget and forgive the pain and suffering our families have endured over the past few centuries. This remedy is ultimately what must be. Where are the Black so called “Leaders” on this?

    Christian principles inherent in the underpinnings of the American Constitution nurture the concept of balance and fairness, although without a doubt, that thought has not always been recognized by large portions of our population, but sooner or later the smoldering desire for fairness and ‘justice for all’ works its way to the surface as it did prompting the Civil War. It is inherent in the American People. To that point here is a quote from Dennis Prager published in the Jewish World Review/March 4, 2014: “That is why more black Africans have come to America voluntarily than came to America as slaves — a statistic that virtually no college student is allowed to know. Africans who immigrate to America know how little racism exists there. They suspect it before emigrating from Africa, and they know it after arriving in America. Indeed, America, the left’s depiction of it notwithstanding, is the least racist country in the world.”

    (2) To my White brothers, let me say, our Black countrymen have fought and died by our sides in every war this country has ever had including the Revolutionary War.

    (3) Only for one example: The first man to die in the American Revolution was Crispus Attucks (1723-1770), a Black man killed protecting a White fellow patriot while confronting British troops. Then there was Louis Latimer, a Black man, who was Thomas Edison’s right hand man who actually invented the filament for the Edison’s light bulb allowing it to last more than a few hours and this same man diagramed the telephone for Alexander Graham Bell. Then there was Garret Morgan, another Black man who invented the gas mask as well as the traffic signal.

    (4) Black Americans have consistently made contributions to our culture with multiple things from peanut butter to potato chips and plastic too, represented the USA brilliantly in international events, created the original formula for Coca Cola, and even with many inventions stolen, given us the only American art form we have; The Blues, which makes American music unique, to mention just a few things. He’s made these contributions and worked side by side with his White partners in millions of mutual efforts despite shackling conditions and negative attitudes. At what point do we truly welcome our brothers into our hearts? In my opinion, more people do than don’t these days but we need to make the acceptance more obvious so that there can be no doubt as to the momentum of opinion and your acceptance can be clearly recognized. See the man for what he is; just a man and someone who could very possibly even be related to you. IGNORE THE COLOR LINE! Many Whites are already doing this and have been for generations! They’re not part of the problem either.

    If you are a person who is mentally at the point absolutely beyond racism, Black or White, you’re in the capillaries of the true racial unification of our nation and our voices MUST be heard against the race baiters. We Americans of all shades are the glowing examples of racial unity and living testimonials of true strength. We are, in an undeniable way, America’s true legacy and we’re stronger when we stand together. Throughout my life I’ve noticed people reaching across racial barriers from BOTH sides time after time with acts of love and kindness for members of the opposite race and at those times a magic energy emerges. This is fact! The best answer and solution to the ongoing racism can be summed up in one word….LOVE, or better said, MUTUAL LOVE. Love is the most powerful force in the universe and on that subject, here’s one of my favorite quotes:

    “Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the diverse elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in the mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation.”

    (5) In an ideological, sociological and biological sense we have become a ‘people’; the American people, better defined by the high principles of our founding fathers than the colors of our ancestors. The American people are, in addition, vastly different from any other nation in as much as we are not defined by our ethnicity but by how we THINK! Other people are defined by ethnicity. Not us. We are a nation of immigrants who willingly or unwillingly arrived in a new world and developed under its philosophy of independence and self reliance. There is nothing else like it and, as far as I know, there never has been.

    It has to be noted that Asian people too, have nearly from the very beginning, contributed to what America is today in multiple ways. In addition, from Cuba and from south of the border, legions of Mexicans and Canadians too from the north, have had a profound impact on the USA gene pool. It becomes apparent that many races and cultures have contributed to and belong to the great American family. The simple acknowledgment of our shared ethnicity and mixed ancestry, although secondary in importance to how we think, would, could and should, become a catalyst for better race relations and a broader based unity, if we would only allow it to be so. America is the quintessential melting pot with people from all over the globe coming here to the “Land of Opportunity” and mixing with others. The Black population in this country is no different from any other race and may even be the greatest example of the blending of races. Know that of a certainty, biology does not respect sociology. Sociology comes from man. Biology comes from God. God created nature and only what is in accordance with its laws survives biologically. Since God created nature and nature allows the mixing of races and blesses it with fertile offspring, it must be OK with Him for us human beings to mix, therefore, it ought to be OK with the rest of us! Mixing of one race to another is, without a doubt, one of the most complete forms of acceptance and unity.

    There was an old saying in the Black community: “Black blood is like the blood of Jesus, one drop will make you pure”. This was the old ‘One-drop Rule’ meaning the smallest amount of Negro blood made you ALL Black. This, no doubt, was a reflection of a past sociological condition. Perhaps now, in the days of computers and space travel, we can finally drag ourselves out of that horse drawn mentality. Humans are all colors and no line can be effectively drawn between a people when they won’t allow it. Racial unity and the acceptance of our inescapable and beautiful diversity makes us stronger. It creates the same kind of beauty found in the different shades of a rose or flower garden where the different colors actually compliment one another. This is true whether it is national or global.

    The fact is, any human being is pretty terrific. We’re at the top of the food chain and not on the menu of any predator. We are uniquely different. Nothing was created with the primary purpose of thinning our population such as the Great White shark that controls the seal population or Coyotes that eat small rodents. The quality that makes all human beings special is that we all have free will, a rational capacity, a divine root, so to speak, connected to our Creator and are not controlled completely by nature. Every human being possesses this quality and, because of it, can rise to a level higher than any other being or sink to the lowest depths. We are unique from the rest of creation, which IS totally controlled by nature and natural forces although we do have some controllable instincts. Consider that only human beings can laugh. We have such potential!

    For the most part, I think we are becoming better. We’re evolving, perhaps even physically and defiantly evolving spiritually despite a lot of wrong turns. None of us is perfect, but rather, each of us is splendid in our own way, especially when viewed with the rest of creation.

    Throughout our history the White relationship with the Black people has been strained, frequently awkward but definitely difficult at every phase of our evolving relationship spanning feelings of superiority to guilt. And now, the current hurtful phenomenon of Reverse Discrimination exists which can only be tolerated with patience and love and then fixed with common sense. The Black experience with Whites has obviously been overwhelming as well, with conditions terribly difficult to rise above, but it’s time to do just that. It’s time to rise above situations we used to fight over, it is time avoid the vicious circle of racial intolerance on both sides. It is time to be bigger than our history. We Black and White Americans have the capacity to give the entire world an example of racial harmony reflecting the Oneness of Humanity because we’ve lived through such depths and should be aware of the futility of racial intolerance as well as the soaring strengths, beauty and magic found in racial unity and brotherhood. By now, we should know what works and what doesn’t. Overcoming the past takes a lot of heart but we can do it….on BOTH sides of the color line. United we stand!

    MORE ON THE FAMILY: Mom lost her first daughter as a result of her marriage to Dad. They told her “No Black home is good enough for a White child” and incarcerated Mom, while pregnant with me and took her daughter, my older (half) sister, back to Michigan in compliance with legal action filed by Mom’s ex to keep her out of the state. We would sneak up to Michigan and slip presents through the cyclone fence at her school on her birthdays. After that two white men approached my mother and wanted to do a movie about her and Dad. Dad’s profile was high due to his notoriety as a big band leader. Mom said, “only if you let me write it” whereupon the men said “they’d let her know”. In 1960 an award winning movie “One Potato Two Potato” was released duplicating the events my parents lived through. Mom told me it was taken from her and Dad’s life in Danville.

    My paternal grandfather, James H Rachels MD, was a surgeon and although not allowed to practice medicine in the local hospital due to race, did independent research and was posthumously recognized by the American Cancer Society for making two significant contributions to the curing of some forms of cancer through dietary processes. My paternal grandmother, Ivry, was a school teacher and bookkeeper.

    My maternal grandfather, Karl Maust, was a National Trap Shooting Champion achieving 25 resident titles in Michigan and Ohio from 1925-1949. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously in 1980. My maternal grandmother, Neva, was a strong willed and gracious soul.

    (1)(FBI Interracial Crime/”Highlights 20 surveying crime”)
    (2)(From: A LETTER FROM AFRICA) Dennis Prager published in the Jewish World Review/March 4, 2014
    (3)(“Black Heroes of the American Revolution/Burke Davis-Chapter 2)
    (5)(Abdu’l-Baha/Selections from the writing of Abdu’l-Baha. P.27)

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