on hares and tortoises and globalisation
The term globalization has so many different resonances for different people, conjuring fear, excitement, anger, even a sense of comfort and well-being. For some, it means connecting with others on the other side of the globe via a computer keyboard and screen. For some it means learning of – and not just learning of but being taken face to face with, being imbued with the adventure of - a cure being developed for cancer in Australia, elections in Sierra Leone, child soldiering in another part of Africa, some strange evangelical display in the US, all in the space of half an hour, all with incalculable, if apparently minuscule, psychological impact. For others, it means nothing.
One hundred years ago,
The Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 rendered it illegal to select migrants on the basis of race or culture, but the White Australia policy was dead well before this. Interestingly, it officially began with the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, the year of federation. They must have considered it a high priority. A few decades before, during the Gold Rush, an influx of Chinese miners had led to riots and to widespread fears of the yellow peril.
What was it that brought this turnaround, in
It’s quite likely that the second world war itself imparted plenty of lessons. Centuries of insularity led the Japanese, it seems, to over-estimate its abilities and to under-estimate and dehumanize its opponents. Ironically, the Japanese had vigorously supported a racial equality clause in the
Liberal education, improved travel opportunities, trade and new forms of communication have facilitated greater understanding and alleviated suspicions among the open-minded and open-hearted.
But for some, as I’ve said, globalization means nothing. We need to remember them. For one thing, we ignore them at our peril, but more importantly, we need to remember that they have all the capabilities we have, and that they should be nurtured and encouraged in their best endeavours as part of the human family.