Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Deep South in the Red Centre

A day after we heard revelations that the education system is becoming racially segregation, a story comes out that an Alice Springs hostel asked patrons to leave because they were Aboriginal. Apparently, the groups were asked to leave after other guests at the backpacker lodged suggested they were "scared". Bethany Langdon, a member of the Yuendumu local community recounts the event as follows:

"The manager came out and told me that we weren't suitable to stay there," she told ABC1's Lateline program.

"They said, because you're Aboriginal, other tourists were making complaints that they were scared of us.

"I felt like I wanted to cry, because it made me feel like I wasn't an Australian."

Ms Langdon says it is her first experience of overt racism.

"It's a disgrace against Aboriginal people, especially when an Aboriginal women comes into town trying to be a role model to their community and get looked up to by elder people and younger people from their community and other communities," she said.

According to the Haven Resort, the group were asked to leave because the backpacker lodge catered for "international backpacking tourists which this group was not". However, just hours later, Greg Zammit the joint owner of the Haven Resort stated that the group was encouraged to stay, directly contradicting the previous statement. Something tells me that these owners aren't the most trustworthy individuals around.

I must admit that story make me feel sick to my stomach. I could hardly believe that something like that could happen in contemporary Australia. I mean it sounds like the kind of thing you would expect in Alabama in the 1950s. It would appear that the group are now assessing their legal options. To be perfectly frank, I'd be happy to see the Haven Resort taken for every cent they've got.

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