I moved to Fawkner (in Melbourne) about a year ago, and I love my neighbourhood. I love it’s diversity, multi-faith options (including the option of none at all), the shops, the parks, the friendliness. I love all of this, and I have especially love living in the area with the least crowded train line, which is also the least violent and racist train line that I have lived on for a while.
Until last night.
A thug, his friend and his friend’s girlfriend got on the train near Coburg. As he walked through the carriage he commented loudly that the train “smelt like immigrants” (whatever that means). He stopped and stood in the door way with his friends and continued talking loudly. He again proclaimed that he never knew that something could smell like immigrants until now, while his friend mimed violent acts to his girlfriend. The third time he opened his mouth to proclaim how everything smelt of immigrants, I said, “Hey! Shut the fuck up”. He did, and the girl turned and looked at me. The thug dropped his voice and got off at the next station with his friends.
Initially I was shocked that someone would say such a thing, especially on this train line, where (up until now) everything has been cool, calm and collected. The second time I was outraged and wondering if I should actually say anything to him to get him to shut up. The third time, I acted… and then immediately went into “Oh fuck!!!!” territory on the inside. Thankfully I can rely on two things, I’m female and less likely to attract violence (though my partner with me may have), and I can look really scary when I’m annoyed.
I acted because I want the train line I’m on to be safe for me (not a migrant) and everyone else (migrant or not). I acted because uneducated bigots who think that they have the right to spew hatred really annoy me. I acted because no one else was (a failing of mine).