Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

The Joy of Racism

Ah, racism, you never go out of style.

For those of you who may not have seen this image yet, it is a newly released advertisement from the Liberal Party in preparation for the September election. It has a whole heap of problems, but the most obvious one is that crime is a State issue, and in NSW, the Liberal Party is in fact in charge.

Unfortunately, that fact is lost in the design of the image. Instead, it is a blatant attempt to link refugees to crime, which Senator Doug Cameron called dog whistling, but which I prefer to call by its old fashioned name, racism. There's no evidence of this, but then the Liberal Party itself has difficulty accepting the fact that refugees are not illegal (Labor is closely following this trend, so it is not as if one is better than the other here). However, as it was pointed out by more than one commentator, there are more sitting senators with criminal charges against them than there are refugees with charges, so it is more apt to call for politicians to be watched, for your neighbours to be told when a politician moves in next to you, and for fear and hate to generate when one walks down the street before you. Instead, however, we have this poster, which blatantly tries to link refugees to crime in Western Sydney, by politely putting a yellow boat beneath the text. A very subtle message that yellow. It isn't racist at all.

Never let it be said that I haven't called this entire image nothing but a lie and nothing but racism, because it is. It is a lie and it is racist. It is the latter as I have told you, but it is also the former because there is not a crime problem in Western Sydney. In an article responding to the ad, Tony Wright wrote:

The aforementioned NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has pulled together the facts, and they prove awkward.

The bureau's voluminous ''Trends in recorded criminal incidents, violent and property offences over the 60 months to September 2012, NSW Metropolitan statistical subdivisions'', shows that crime in western Sydney has actually reduced – or at the worst remained stable – on average every year for the past five years.

Unlike politicians and large sections of the media, the bureau doesn't simply declare western Sydney to be one amorphous mass, either.

It splits it into seven separate areas: Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield-Liverpool, Outer Western Sydney, Outer South-West Sydney, Inner Western Sydney, Central Western Sydney and Blacktown.

Turns out that both violent and property crime has remained stable over the past five years in Canterbury-Bankstown, and violent crime has remained stable in Fairfield-Liverpool, Outer Western Sydney and Blacktown.

In all but Canterbury-Blacktown (stable on the property ledger), both violence and property crime has reduced on average each year in every one of the other statistical subdivisions by factors ranging from 2 per cent to 5.6 per cent.

And indeed, because I am a nice person, I will also provide a link to the Bureau of Crime Statistics, where you can do your own research if you'd like.

Because, y'know, facts are good for you.

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