World Peace - Is Racial Integration the Answer ?

Just one of the countless Migrant ships

From the end of World War Two millions of people have migrated to Australia.  First it was ships, then aircraft.  The flow seems unabated.  Roughly 20% of Australians were born outside Australia.
From the end of World War Two millions of people have migrated to Australia. First it was ships, then aircraft. The flow seems unabated. Roughly 20% of Australians were born outside Australia.

Some races intergrate easily, others less so

I recall some years ago reading about Migration and how some races integrate and blend in and, eventually become one with the nation they joined. There was some statistical analysis done as to which particular nationals did this most easily, and which found it hardest. The nation which came out on top was the Dutch. I cannot recall the nation which came at the bottom of the list. It was all a long time ago. But I do remember the explanation. It was propounded that the Dutch, and possibly the Belgian people, were easiest to take upon themselves the national identify of the nations they joined as emigrants was because they were surrounded by other nations and that those other nationals already had a big influence on their cultures.

Migrants crowd the deck of a steamer hoping for a better life

After the British, European settlers did so most easily

We know, for example, that Holland has Belgium, France and Germany virtually on its doorstep with Great Britain only a few miles away across the English Channel. Many people from Holland and Belgium are multi-lingual. That in itself makes integration easier. Certainly it is born out with those people from these nations who migrated to Australia at the end of World War Two. Their arrival barely raised a ripple upon the waters of the ‘Land down under.’

The abolishment of the 'White Australia Policy' brought great change

When people migrated from the United Kingdom to Australia they already had the language most commonly used in Australia – English. There was the usual unsettling in period but little, if any, real racial tension. After all, modern Australia had been settled by the English only a hundred and fifty years earlier. The ‘White Australia’ Policy was also extant, so Australia was made up of a largely homogenous lot. There were always the Chinese, of course. Many had arrived a hundred years earlier in the days of the Australian Gold Rush, but by now they’d settled in pretty well. After a number of generations they were all widely accepting the tenets of the Australian lifestyle. The big cities still had their China Towns, but these were appreciated by all and were certainly never considered ‘no go zones.’ Anglos frequently looked forwarded to visiting such places for a dinner out.

Big as the United States of America, it seems to have plenty of room

The land's livable areas are no where indicated in the size.  Much of Australia is barren desert. Nearly all the poplation life within a few miles of the coast.  It's just too damn hot further inland.
The land's livable areas are no where indicated in the size. Much of Australia is barren desert. Nearly all the poplation life within a few miles of the coast. It's just too damn hot further inland.

We go in for 'peaceful politics' in this country

As other nationals flocked to these shores: the Maltese – many of who were actually Egyptians – the Italians, Greek, and, along with these the many refugees from Europe, including former enemies from Germany, gradual integration took place. There was always some unrest. There was always some resentment. Such is the way with waves of migrations. But there was no ‘fighting in the street.’ Riots were definitely ‘non-Australian. It was not our way.

Proud Aboriginals of yesteryear.

Like the Red Indians of the Americas, they've lost their cultures.   Intergration is slow in coming to many of these once proud native people.
Like the Red Indians of the Americas, they've lost their cultures. Intergration is slow in coming to many of these once proud native people.

Unfortunately, for a long while, all races were not considered as 'equals.'

The poor old local Aborigines didn’t get a fair shake, or course. The White Australia Policy was a bit of an abomination. Aborigines weren’t white. But it was an inconvenient fact that they were here in this country when the first European settlers arrived. Indeed, they’d been here for so long no one was quite sure when they’d arrived. The governments of the day got around this by pretty well by ignoring them. They were not considered as citizens. It stayed that way for a long, long time. Only over the past thirty or forty years have things begun to improve as far as their recognition as ‘full Australians’ is concerned. But I’ll say no more on that here.

Typical passenger-wharf scene of the 1950s

So many people, all looking for a better life in a new land.  Many were from Britain. But the numbers included many European refugees.
So many people, all looking for a better life in a new land. Many were from Britain. But the numbers included many European refugees.

Clinging to what is and refusing to change doesn't help

This essay is about Racial Integration and the hypothesis that real and total integration of the nations of the world is about the only thing that will ever bring about a lasting world peace. My thoughts are along the lines that if there are no ‘them and us’ then there is only ‘us.’

Twenty-five hundred years ago that very wise man, Siddhartha Gautama, better known as The Buddha, made a profound statement. We suffer because of two reasons: desire and aversion. This was further explained and one of the reasons concerning ‘desire’ is that when we experience something we feel we like, we want more of it. This can become addictive. It then becomes ‘clinging.’ It is in clinging that we suffer. So now we come to Nationality and this business of ‘national pride’ and clinging to the idea that we are separate – and in many cases superior – to those who are not of our family, group, locality, city, state or even nation. It is ‘them and us’ and we are better than them.

Change your country, change your allegiance; become an Aussie

So along come migrants from other lands who are not like the Dutch or the Belgians. They don’t fit in easily. Such people arrive and often have no intention of changing, even in the slightest, unless it serves their material and economic purposes. And even here, it is done grudgingly. They start off with an ‘us and them’ mentality.

A refugee boat packed to the 'gunnels' All are hopeful

When the Vietnam conflict ended the flood of refugees once more grew in numbers
When the Vietnam conflict ended the flood of refugees once more grew in numbers

If the only thing you want to change is the ground beneath your feet you shouldn't settle here

Australia is, and has been for two hundred years, a predominantly English-speaking country with people of Anglo-Saxon descent making up its main populace. This has been the case for a good one hundred and fifty of those two hundred years. So you’d think that those migrants coming into this land to be conscious of this. Such people from afar would have also thought to themselves “This Australia seems to be a nice place. There’s plenty of room, the climate’s good, it is a wealthy, prosperous land. I could make a good life for myself there.” The thought, “I’ll need to integrate, join in, become one of,” does not occur with such people. With the Dutch and the Belgians and with those few smaller countries which abut onto powerful nations, there is no problem with this fitting-in philosophy. But with those from other lands there arises this matter of ‘clinging.’ By this I mean, wanting to retain all the traditions, cultural norms and customs of the land from which they came. The only thing they want to change is the earth they place their feet on.

Such were the numbers, Migrant Camps were established

Not everyone had a home to go to.  Many families had to 'tough it out' until they were able to become established.
Not everyone had a home to go to. Many families had to 'tough it out' until they were able to become established.

Blending into and becoming one with the population is what is required

The result of not being willing to integrate fully means that ghettos spring up and stay sprung up. In the 1950s waves of migrants came in to Australia from many countries. They formed temporary ghettos. For example a suburb might be made up primarily of Maltese – for a while. After a generation their children would have grown up and many would have married into the general Australian populace. The Maltese ‘ghetto’ no longer exists in that suburb. The next wave might be Italians. They move into that very same suburb. In a generation or two they, too, have moved on. They’ve blended into the Australian population. Sure, they keep a lot of their cultural norms. But they don’t exclude other people from joining them. They inter-marry. They do not let things like religious differences stand in the way of their integration with ‘the whole.’

Integration starts with acceptance of others - all others

Unfortunately, there are people who refuse point blank to integrate. They flock to the new land, take up residence with people of their own race – and, preferably, only their own race. They definitely have an ‘us and them’ mentality. If you’re an ‘us’ you definitely cannot marry my son or daughter. If you’re not of my sect and my nationality - then “Get off my patch!”

Part of China Town in downtown Sydney

The descendants of the Chinese who came in the 1850s gold rush eventually settled in and became 'model citizens.'   They are a very positive addition to Australian culture today.
The descendants of the Chinese who came in the 1850s gold rush eventually settled in and became 'model citizens.' They are a very positive addition to Australian culture today.

We do not 'own' our families

I recall an instance when a Christian Lebanese family who lived across the road from mine some years back brought this message home to me. It happened that one of the sons in that family had met and was keen on an Anglo-Australian girl. They were boy and girl in a romance and possibly heading for a wedding. The mother of the boy in question told me of the romance. On questioning her further she said, “Oh, I soon put paid to that. I told him to clear off. I want my son to marry a good Lebanese girl.”

See what I mean?

Are you helping? Or are you part of the problem?

Clinging – frightened to integrate. You’ve all heard that phrase so common in the USA a few decades back. “Would you let you son/daughter marry a black girl/boy?” My question to you as a reader: Would you?” If you would not,then, like so many of us, you are part of the problem not the solution.

The so-called 'illegals' still come in numbers. Who can blame them?

Old boats, ricketty craft come, packed with people who often pay their life savings to criminals  to get out here
Old boats, ricketty craft come, packed with people who often pay their life savings to criminals to get out here

All adults should be free to make their own decisions

Of course, you could rationalize. “I’m saving him/her from years of misery and discrimination.” But if they’re no longer children it is their life, not yours. It is their choice, not yours. Here, once again, you are clinging. You might call it love, but it is a smothering love, taking away the chance of that son or daughter to determine their own life. We should bring our children up to the point where, as adults, they can make and implement their own decisions. We don’t own our children. They are given to us on trust by God until they’re able to take responsibility for their lives.

Organized Religions: help or hindrance?

It could be argued that, in the long, long term, all nations eventually become integrated. But there certainly are a number of exceptions to this. For example, the Jewish people. I think one of the reasons they have been persecuted so much down through the years is because of their strict acceptance of who can marry into a Jewish family. This includes the requirement that the other party give up his or her religion and embrace the Jewish one. The same could be said, though possibly with a little less vehemence, of the Roman Catholics. Intermarriage – “Oh, yes. This is allowable. The proviso is that he or she adopt our religion and agree to bring up any children as Roman Catholics. It’s a power thing.

Here is one reason they come: freedom, beauty and space

Looking south towards the city of Wollongong.   A beautiful land, filled with sand, sunshine and surf.
Looking south towards the city of Wollongong. A beautiful land, filled with sand, sunshine and surf.

Balance: Conserve and Preserve what the serves 'common weal' and adds to the world's happiness - jettison the rest

There will always be those who preserve and conserve, those who would retain. There have always been those who would create, innovate and expand into new dimensions. The latter are increasing in numbers as the years go by. However, we know the world needs both. The former gives stability, the latter, hope. But we have to be very aware that what we conserve and preserve is not at the expense of those who are working towards a more harmonious, equitable and happier world.

Photo taken from the Manly Ferry in the 1980s

The skyline has more tall buildings now, but make no mistake about it, Sydney Harbour is still one of the most beautiful in the world.
The skyline has more tall buildings now, but make no mistake about it, Sydney Harbour is still one of the most beautiful in the world.

You won't see any national boundaries looking down on Earth from space.

So, it seems that it is not only national boundaries, race, and the differences of general culture that divide people and act as a barrier to world-wide integration but religion – Organized Religion as distinct from our own personal life philosophies. Someone, somewhere, is clinging; clinging out of fear that if their concept of themselves is lessened in some way their power, if not their world, will come to an end. Such people fear change…and fear is a powerful motivation. It is said that only love is stronger.

We will change; we will integrate. It is just a matter of time

Will our world ever change heart towards accepting all others as brother and sister human beings? I think it will…eventually. It must – if we are to take our place as a truly ‘Civilized’ world population. I wonder if any of us alive today will be around to see it.


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Comments 2 comments

Scott P Williams profile image

Scott P Williams 2 years ago from Miami, Florida

Australia has plenty of room and so does Africa. The map doesn't correctly show the size of these continents vs the USA. I think educational mistakes such as this help to give a feeling of superiority to some and inferiority to others. Not to mention the amount of fear we all develop due to lack of understanding of the next man's culture.


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia Author

Thanks for your comments, Scott. I forgot to mention that the forty-eight states that make up mainland USA is roughly the size of Australia. Africa - well, I never mentioned it - but you could fit about five USA's or Austrlia's into it.

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