multicultural Hot Words

Making multicultural Australia

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Hotword: Asian...




Asian refers to people who originate from the continent of Asia, a continent stretching from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean. It encompasses countries as diverse as:

  • Turkey, Israel and Iraq in the west
  • Russia, Pakistan and India in the centre, and
  • China, Japan and the countries of Indo-China in the east.

Asian has different connotations in different places. In European countries it is used to categorise a collection of former colonies whose population has immigrated to the colonising country. So in Britain, Asian tends to refer to Indian and Pakistani groups, while in Holland it refers to Indonesians.

In Australia, Asian usually refers to Chinese and Indo-Chinese communities. This reflects the long history of migration from these areas to Australia.

What makes it hot?

The heat in “Asian” often comes from the idea of “Asian gangs”, referring primarily to small groups of young men from Indo-Chinese backgrounds involved in crime, in particular crimes related to drugs.

In addition, for some communities in Australia, Asian communities appear to have “intrinsic intelligence”, that is, Asian communities have excellent business acumen and high levels of academic performance.

Date Added:

10 March 2002