Australian-born journalist Ben Westcott has asked if Australia is
Australian-born journalist Ben Westcott has asked if Australia is "becoming a more racist country" in CNN report. Picture: Twitter

CNN reporter slams Australia as ‘racist country’

AN AUSTRALIAN journalist has made waves after penning a controversial article questioning whether we are "becoming more racist" as a nation.

Ben Westcott, a digital news producer for CNN International who is based in Hong Kong, asked, "Is Australia becoming a more racist country?" in the article which was published yesterday.

In the divisive piece, he refers to the recent furore surrounding African gangs in Victoria, backlash to immigration and our growing population and a sensational interview with far-right agitator Blair Cottrell to argue his point.

Thanks to those factors, Westcott claimed "questions are emerging over whether Australia is a more racist country than it would like to believe".

He said the fact an interview with convicted arsonist and neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell was ever aired on Sky News "has raised questions about Australia's attitude to race", and also quoted Australia's outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who recently said our "racial harmony" was under threat.

"For the most part we are a highly cohesive and harmonious society but that doesn't deny for a moment that racism continues to be a significant social problem," Mr Soutphommasane said.

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Mr Westcott went on to cite an April study from Australian research company Essential, which revealed 64 per cent of those surveyed said immigration levels over the past decade had been "too high".

He also claimed while there was a great deal of hysteria surrounding African gangs, "crimes involving Sudanese residents account for just 1 per cent of Victoria's total criminal activity, with the vast majority of crimes committed by Australian-born residents".

Unsurprisingly, many Australians were angered by Westcott's piece, including Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor, who slammed the article as "profound, profound idiocy".

 

 

 

Others took to Twitter to brand the story as "absolute garbage", with many suggesting the US-owned company should look at America's racial problems before pointing the finger at other countries.

"You need only step outside your own nations (sic) door CNN if you want to write an expose on racism …," one Twitter user posted, while another added: "We've embraced many people from all over the world. Most of them enjoy our easy going lifestyle. The minority that don't accuse us of racism."

"You've never been to Oz before, have you, mate?" another asked, while one of CNN International's Facebook followers simply said: "If you don't live down here, don't speak".

But Westcott's piece also had its fair share of supporters, with many claiming Australia did have a racism problem we needed to address.

 

 

 

Westcott also referred to our "infamous White Australia policy" and the recent push to change Australia's Racial Discrimination Act to make it legal to "offend, insult or humiliate" people based on their race.

He finished his piece with a quote from popular Asian-Australian writer Benjamin Law, who said while he hadn't experienced much racism in his youth, he was concerned it was now a growing problem.

"I am kind of worried about how laissez-faire we've become with tolerating hate speech in this country," Mr Law said.


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