Before a radical Australian government made immigration entry non-discriminatory, a few Asians had been admitted, on a case-by-case basis. A handful were spouses. The majority were doctors, off-setting a shortage established by (reputedly) the most powerful union in the country. However, by keeping a heavy hand across the door giving access to entrants from the Indian sub-continent, for about 20 years, it was the East Asians (preferably Christian) who had priority of entry.
Ironically, as I read about 10 years ago, a researcher had found that the highest income-earners among the Asian immigrants in Australia were those from the Indian sub-continent! However, in terms of family objectives, Asians from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Japan (as well as Australian indigenes) valued education highest. Is that really surprising, considering the extent and quality of the literature, especially the poetry and the philosophies, produced by the civilisations of Asia? Indeed, did not all the major religions of mankind arise in Asia?
Whatever their skin colour and religious affiliation, Asian students in Australia began to top academic lists. And that was because they worked hard, very hard. I once saw a 4-year old boy, sitting on his mother’s hip in order to see better, reading a plaque written in English in a building in Singapore. I compared him with my granddaughter who could not read even near the end of 2 school years.
Asian students then became criticised in the media for not being ‘well-rounded.’ It was claimed that they did not participate in sport, as they should. This reminded me of an assertion by one of our senior politicians, under Parliamentary privilege, that a Sri Lankan bowler was a ‘chucker,’ presumably because Australia’s top batsman could not cope with him. Is it not futile to tell an immigrant, or the children of immigrants, not to study as hard as they do? One studies hard to ensure success and to overcome any possible deficiencies in equal opportunity provisions.
Is it significant that the offspring of the post-war non-English speaking European immigrants have been reported to have done better materially in life than their Anglo-Celt cohort? Education does pay! And we should thank our school teachers for assisting those who seek to learn to do so, apart from breaking down inherited prejudice of all kinds, especially skin colour prejudice!
As for other prejudices, personally, I hate beetroot because of its colour. Yet I like purple, to the point of owning a car coloured ‘lilac mist.’