Re: re levity, phenotype (mine) and assumptions re race/ethnicity

Tom Hogarth (thogarth@YARROW.WT.UWA.EDU.AU)
Tue, 1 Nov 1994 21:33:32 +0800

Eve's comments resonate very well for me - the whole expectation of what
appearance means, and the way that people have such astonishing (at times)
labels relative to appearance.

The two personal experiences - a friend at a University in Perth (w.a.)
was almost refused admission to a language course on the basis that her
appearance meant that she would have had the language already... It seems
absurd to me now - but the course controllers insisted that if she looked
the way she did, and had the parents she had that it would be automatic
that she had the language. No matter that her parents had taken her to
another country and only spoke the other countries - language!

[her race- javanese (with some dutch blood), her parents took her to the
netherlands when she was a child]

The other experience is that of chinese south east asian parents coming
to australia and not speaking native tongue at home, and bringing up
their children in australian english only - and encountering these second
generation clearly very chinese people with nothing but broad australian
accents. I'm used to it now after having lived in Darwin, but at first
it was a suprise.

My reason for interest? I'm waiting to do fieldwork in Java - and as
a white australian, balding, male over 40 - the natural assumption of
Indonesians that I meet is that I'm a lecturer or teacher - it is very
hard to convince some otherwise!

Thanks for your levity eve!
There's hope yet!


Tom Hogarth PhD Student Northern Territory University
currently 27 O'Neile Pde Redcliffe Western Australia 6104
voice 61 (09) 4782761