In the past year or so, the red button issue of discrimination has seen frequent stories on TV talk shows, radio, social media and in the press.
I have been “a foreigner” wherever I have lived for the past 40 or years and can honestly say, I have never felt discriminated against. I have been called funny names in Asia, Africa and in the Middle East, but none of this was ever considered a racial slur by me or my fellow hotel workers. We enjoyed a little banter and verbal wrangling with the locals about who is ‘better’, but nobody ever looked at it as being a racial discrimination; we all worked hand in hand, despite our cultural differences and upbringing.
So, what is this recent uprising of everyone feeling discriminated against? How many males versus females are in top positions, how many people of colour versus white are in top jobs and so on…Does it really matter as long as the most qualified person gets the job?
In a recent survey published in Australia it was stated that only 7% of the people surveyed stated their leader was a woman of colour. My question is, how does this compare with the total population of colored women in Australia versus other races and sexes? I find it astonishing that the media stirs up unrest just for a headline (see also climate change denial!).
The recent developments with the pandemic has also shown that there is a sizable segment of the population that arrive in Australia, but depart to their country of birth, once the formalities of residence/citizenship are settled, only to return when there is a need for a safe haven and social security.
Racism is in the eyes of the beholder and how he perceives his life in a society that has strong morals and laws. Racism can be seen as nothing more than trying to bring your own perceived values to your new country, but then claim it as racism because you are given the freedom to express yourself without persecution.
Australia has an excellent example of Asian integration into the community. Refugees coming from Vietnam in the 70’s and 80’s have largely fully integrated, and we now find them at all levels of society including doctors, dentists and lawyers. Southeast Asian societies in Australia are prominent in agriculture, hospitality and many other fields and we couldn’t do without them. Their interest is in advancement, making a living and not imposing cultural values that clash with a western society. Their contribution to our culture has been invaluable.
If you choose to live in a different country to the homeland you have grown up in, then you have to accept and adapt, otherwise you will always be disadvantaged and an outsider and that I wouldn’t call, or consider that, being racist.
Sexism in society is another issue, and the hospitality industry for once, has set a good example by having always a good mix of both sexes in the workforce. In recent years female General Manager’s have also made their mark and rightly so, they bring a ‘soft’ touch to the business that had often been overlooked.
It is no longer a man’s world and nor should it be… The hospitality industry has always claimed to be an equal opportunity employer, respecting everyone. We don’t choose our staff by their sex just like we don’t choose our guests.
Life is too short to worry about things that are not really important to our happiness and on that note some journalists would do well to find some other subject to get their clickbait.
About the Author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.