How does a suburban bus trip turn into a racist attack?

On 11 November, 2012 racism ‘boarded’ an ordinary suburban bus in Melbourne.

Within days details of the bus trip had gone viral, after a Melbourne comedian and bus passenger filmed the incident and posted it on YouTube:

Over 4.2 million people globally have viewed the comedian’s ‘tongue-in-cheek’ report of how an ugly racist attack was triggered by a French tourist singing in her native tongue at the back of a bus.

Some angry passengers responded by chanting ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’, until a vocal racist spokesman took charge and loudly advised the girl:

‘S.O.D. Speak English or die, motherf***er!’

He was likely quoting the mid-1980s band ‘Stormtroopers of Death’ (S.O.D.), and their infamous song Speak English or Die (from the album also titled, ‘Speak English or Die’). Fusing hardcore punk with heavy metal, this band achieved cult status with their politically incorrect lyrics designed to shock.

The shocking lyrics refer to fresh immigrants but this didn’t stop the bus to ‘apply them’ to the French tourists. The song starts:

You come into this country
You can’t get real jobs
Boats and boats and boats of you
Go home you f***in’ slobs

The French girl was a tourist, not ‘off a boat’, and was probably very eager to ‘go home’ after this incident!

Even the chorus didn’t match the situation, but nobody seemed to care. By this stage she was just someone to ‘hate’:

You always make us wait
You’re the ones we hate
You can’t communicate
Speak English Or Die

The racial taunts on the bus grew louder, and the rest of the passengers remained silent as the girl was told:

Everyone on the bus wants to kill you. You’re going to have to get off eventually, bitch.

That suburban bus trip provided four valuable lessons:

  1. People with extreme racist views will seize any opportunity to rant and rave
  2. Children can be exposed to racism in the most unexpected places
  3. Ordinary people are horrified by ‘real world’ racism when confronted with visual evidence of its existence
  4. People with extreme views will seize any opportunity to push their message even if it is not logical or accurate

Let’s look at these points in more detail.

First, as with many racist attacks, it’s likely the French girl was a ‘scape-goat’. She simply provided an excuse for a group of already-angry people to launch a tirade of racial abuse that didn’t even match the situation.

Second, some young children travelling on that bus with their racially abusive parents learned a ‘valuable’ life lesson – it’s okay for adults to scream racist abuse at a stranger. It’s okay to tell that stranger that everyone wants to kill her. You even get cheered for doing it!

Many white nationalists view children as the vitality and future of their movement, and sadly, it seems that even a suburban bus trip can start influencing these young, impressionable minds.

The third point reveals a positive side to this incident. Many non-racists were horrified and embarrassed, and not afraid to express their feelings over the following weeks. When footage of this incident was uploaded to a Melbourne-based news talk radio station, there were over 43,000 viewings and almost 200 comments.

Many were defensive of the easy going ‘Aussie’ image:

that is not fair. not all Australians are like that, the majority are nice easy going people. Australian’s shouldn’t be judged by the bad, and neither should anywhere else

!!!!! this occured on a bus that replaced train services from FRANKSTON…. and DOES NOT REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIANS !!!!!! (comments stating that australians are racist…ARE RACIST)

they sound like a group of KKK members at a church revival meeting. the guy on the phone says something and then the rest of the throwbacks beat their chests and yea in approval. what makes me laugh about Australia is whites are the immigrants! they stole the land from aborigines. don’t tell them go home because then they’ll more than likely have to come back here to England.

However, there were also many who aggressively supported the racist bus attack, without taking the time to work out what they were actually arguing about:

Australians are sick of the boat loads of human scum they are sending to Australia, Australians have had it with being invaded.Have a good look at our prison system full of NEW so called Australians,WAKE UP BEFORE WE END UP LIKE LONDEN AND GERMANY!!!!MOLTI COLCHRALISIOM DOES NOT WORK!!!! That’s why god put oceans between men,You think we are all bogans,no culture,Then pissoff to your 3 world country as Australians dont wont you.Go back to your own place of birth and DONT come back EASY!!!!

Perhaps this person overlooked the fact that the incident was not about ‘boat loads of human scum’ coming to Australia – it was about a (European) tourist who was racially abused for singing a French song after a fun day out!

And this is the fourth important lesson to be learned from that shameful suburban bus trip. White nationalists will seize any opportunity to push their message, and technology allows that message to go global. The man on the bus didn’t seem to care that the S.O.D. lyrics didn’t match the situation. Similarly, racists posting comments in response to the YouTube clip didn’t seem to care that they had wandered so far off-topic as to be almost nonsensical.

Instead, the Melbourne bus incident provided white nationalists with an opportunity to once again post comments promoting their racist mantra, including:

“Anti-racists” are anti-White. Their actions prove it…

ONLY White countries are doing this, and ONLY White children are being affected by it. This is obviously a planned extinction. We have a word for that…GENOCIDE.

Kick non-whites out, problem solved.

They even attempted to turn non-racists’ expressions of embarrassment over the bus attack into a sign of studipity:

yeah…this video makes me feel embarrassed too. Embarrassed to live in a country full of muppets who are suckered into “Australians are racist” propaganda shit like this…and bleat the “I’m embarrassed to be an Aussie” & “We’re not all like that” tune… and congratulate the oxygen thief who uploaded this tripe. That is exactly what the asshole’s plan was. To make you feel embarrassed…. and you took it hook, line & sinker

It seems some white nationalists have a knack of twisting things to suit their own ends. Fortunately, there are astute non-racists individuals who can see right through this bluster:

I am white you idiot. And no, I’ve had people give up arguing with me because I provided facts and reason, which is incredibly hard to argue against. Why did you bring up “anti-racist is code for anti-white,” which apart from being untrue, was entirely irrelevant?

The Melbourne bus incident was a powerful reminder that racism exists in all walks of life. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s there.