Papers & Workshops

 

 

    'Lost' between the Kebab Shop and McDonalds?

 

Dr Scott Poynting

University of Western Sydney, Australia

  Abstract:
 
Following a flurry of press, police and politicians' demonising of mainly second-generation, Arabic-speaking background young men in South-Western Sydney in late 1998, there was a rush of rescuers to their defence. Well-meaning white liberals and 'ethnic' community welfare workers alike described the young men as 'lost between two cultures'. This discourse is also widespread in schools. Yet interview research indicates that the young men don't see themselves as 'lost'. They are bicultural, and strategically so. They are confident about where they are coming from, and know where they are and what they are doing. There is a difference between being lost and being told to 'get lost', and they resent the latter. The paternalistic discourse of rescue is not unlike the diagnoses of deficits of self-esteem about second-generation NESB immigrants in schools which abounded a decade ago. Ironically, the young men, at least, were brimming with bravado and bluster: it was not so much self-esteem that was in short supply, as prospects of a decent livelihood in a discriminatory labour market, and access to citizen rights in a racist society.
 
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper



learning
RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000