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Contents
Essay

Pumpkin seeds, angry minorities and race

The moral contortions of multiculturalism

DURING MY DOCTORAL fieldwork researching Islamophobia from the point of view of the ‘Islamophobes’, I spent many weekends in the town of Bayside on the Central Coast of New South Wales, where my parents had bought a holiday house. I had detected that Bayside’s unmistakable Anglo-Australian majority population was ‘disrupted’ in the holiday season and long weekends when many ethnic and religious minorities from Western Sydney descended on the town. Among the crowds was a highly visible and growing Lebanese Muslim tourist population. One evening I was walking with my father when a car slowed down beside us. One of its occupants, a young Anglo guy, leant out of the window, yelled, ‘Go back home you bunch of pumpkin seeds!’ and promptly sped off.

To this day, the incident is a source of amusement to my father and me. I think it is the originality of the reference to ‘pumpkin seeds’ that tickles us. (‘Go... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 61: Who We Are © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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