'Life in one colour': Indian Australian perceptions of social inclusion in regional Queensland

Article


Mason, Robert and Jones, Dianne. 2014. "'Life in one colour': Indian Australian perceptions of social inclusion in regional Queensland." Queensland Review. 21 (2), pp. 203-216. https://doi.org/10.1017/qre.2014.26
Article Title

'Life in one colour': Indian Australian perceptions of social inclusion in regional Queensland

ERA Journal ID36905
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMason, Robert (Author) and Jones, Dianne (Author)
Journal TitleQueensland Review
Journal Citation21 (2), pp. 203-216
Number of Pages14
Year2014
PublisherEquinox Publishing
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1321-8166
2049-7792
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/qre.2014.26
Web Address (URL)http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?decade=2010&jid=QRE&volumeId=21&issueId=02&iid=9406718
Abstract

In April 2010, an Indian university student was robbed while leaving the campus of his university in regional Queensland. Soon afterwards, the local newspaper
described how a ‘gunman’ had accosted the student and ‘forced [him] to lay [sic] face-down on the ground’. The event was not isolated in the national context;
there had been a sharp rise in media reports of violence against Indian students in Australia during the preceding six months. The attack in the regional city of
Toowoomba appeared to echo these other incidents, given that the victim was an Indian student and the alleged perpetrators were young white Australian males. The
case called our attention to how reports of violent racism in metropolitan centres might affect perceptions of social inclusion in regional communities.

Authorities recognised links between migrants’ media usage and their sense of security in the aftermath of the attacks. Soon after the initial attacks in 2010, the Australian Commonwealth government launched a national online campaign to inform international students of ways to enhance their safety and security. The attacks on Indian students were also communicated widely to India. However,
there is little understanding of the broader effects of the mediatisation of the crimes on the Indian Australian community outside the affected metropolitan centres. This
article explores the implications for belonging within local communities, drawing particular attention to the need to differentiate responses within the community.

The article is based on a series of in-depth interviews with Indian Australian residents in Toowoomba in the weeks following the 2010 attack. All participants were
born in India. They were selected by quota sampling to represent the local Indian community’s age and gender profile. This method was based on the known proportions
within the population, according to the ‘2006 Census of Population and Housing’ for the Toowoomba district,4 and non-random sampling was completed within each group to obtain a total of twenty interviewees (fourteen males and
six females) across four age group categories. In deference to community norms, a trained female research assistant who was a senior Indian community member conducted all of the in-person interviews.

Using both structured and semi-structured responses, participants reflected on their perceptions of community inclusion and social connectivity, with a particular
focus on the role of the media. Questions explored the effect of different forms of media usage on a sense of security before exploring broader questions of belonging
in local society. This article is based on the latter half of the project, and argues that the spate of violent attacks in metropolitan centres drew attention to internal
divisions within the regional Indian community, as relationships with local space and Anglophone Australians were re-examined. Respondents were careful to frame
their discussion about inclusion using terms that related primarily to physical security. However, their heightened consciousness of belonging in the community was reflected in discussions about legitimate presence in local spaces.

KeywordsIndian Australians, social inclusion, regional Queensland, Toowoomba
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470105. Journalism studies
440303. Migration
440802. Citizenship
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Arts and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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