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Subject: Resort in outback Australia
Date: August 19, 2013
Thank you for your blog it is so helpful and very much appreciated!
You strike me as an honest person and I would like you to answer me as truthfully as you possibly can.
I'm a black female from London,England and I plan to travel to Australia in Febuary next year. Ideally, I'd like to work in a resort like you did however, Iam anxious about finding work. I've heard so much about Australia being a racist Country especially in the outback but I'd like your opinion since you have experienced the life. During your time at the resort did the aborgines experience any negativity, did they employ foreigners? I know I shouldn,t base my future plans on others' experiences but it's something that is really worrying me.
I do hope that I haven't offended you with this question. If I have I am truly sorry and hope that YIY accept my apology.
Thank you ever so much
This is a very interesting question, one which I am going to try and answer to the best of my knowledge. First off, congratulations on planning a great trip. You will have a great time. Second, I always suggest going for a job in the outback. Getting these jobs is quite easy if you know where to look.
As for the racism…. well, Australians are racist. So are Americans and the Brits. Also the Chinese and the Dutch. The South Americans and also Africans are Racist too. And the Russians? Don't get me started. Everyone can be racist towards someone yet no one wants to admit that they are racist. I sometimes think it is one of the few things people from around the world actually have in common. While the race issue in Australia can hardly be defined or described in this simple email by this simple man (me), I will give it the old college try… Keep in mind this disclaimer: I am caucasian/white/European descent or whatever we are calling it these days, so I may not have been confronted with racism in certain ways simply because I "look like them". But as an American I know racism when I see it.
In Australia you will be fine. You're a Brit, and Aussie's and Brits have a special relationship. I found a bit of racism happened, but not in a way that will likely affect you. There can be issues between small town folks and how they feel about "Black Fella's", yet those folks have never left their township. Fear not, however, by Black they mean Aboriginal, which you are not.
As you know, people base racism and prejudice on their personal experiences with a particular group of people. Thus, when one lives or knows of a city that has problems with "Black fella's" they think all Aboriginals are like that.
As well, when you go from one city to the next and see groups of intimidating aboriginal people sitting in parks all day drinking alcohol, you will understand why white people have resentment towards them. Then go to a few historical museums and read a few books on what early explorers did in the 1800's, and you understand why the Aboriginals have a resentment towards "white fella's". Also, keeping in mind that Australia has 40,000 years of cultural history, yet is less than 200 years old by modern standards. Australia is as young as it is old.
I was fortunate to get to know and work with a few from the Adnyamathanha who were the hardest working people I have met. It was that experience which helped me understand the Aboriginal culture as I would have never met this community if we stayed working in the cities or on the backpacker fruit-picking farms. These five months working in the outback were the defining moments of our trip.
There is a certain prejudice that you will have to deal with and it isn't racism so much as it is the stereotyping by the locals, and you being seen as "just a backpacker". They might not hire you, and not because you're "Black" (African Decent?) but they will pass on your employment because they see Brits as little more than people who come to Aus to party for 12 months. English backpackers are a dime a dozen, and your best asset to emerge from the bottom of the backpacker heap is to be an honest and hardworking person.
Dress well. Talk smart. Act smarter. Go to places and get hired where they do not have a lot of backpackers traveling through. Working in the outback is perfect because it is often too expensive for backpackers yet gets you in with locals. That is why you're going, right? You don't have to travel 2000+ miles to be around more drunk Brits in the big cities?! Brits and many backpackers alike are pack animals, they travel together and cling in groups, thus making them easier to lump together and stereotype as drunks. That is one reason locals can see backpackers as little more than dollar signs for tourism companies as opposed to hard working employees.
My partner is dual citizen, USA/UK. After establishing ourselves with our outback employer she was told that if it was just her looking for work as a Brit in the outback, she wouldn't have been hired. We sold ourselves as two american travelers looking for a job. Many an Aussie business owner have dealt with Brits traveling like you. They drank each night, looked unshaven and showed up late, if at all. Then they leave town with no notice whenever the feel like seeing a different city; leaving the business owner high and dry to replace staff. I don't have to tell you that this behavior sets a bad example for the hard working travelers who come later. This also makes business owners hesitant to hire backpackers, and rightfully so. In all honesty, I wouldn't.
Don't let the actions of others hold you back and you will have an excellent time.
I don't know if this answered your question at all or if I just ranted for 500 words, but... you're welcome?
If anything, I hope it makes you ask more questions when you get there, so that you can seek the answers yourself and discover your version of this amazing country. Because it is exactly that.
Of course there is more to this issue, and if I think of anything else I will let you know. As well, I did put effort into this email. Please do me a favor/favour and let me know how are during your trip. I love to hear from travelers as I am currently not one.
Take care. All the best. And safe traveling.
Editor/Author/Question Answerer/Travel Dropper
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