I never really thought of myself as bigoted or xenophobic, but it dawned on me recently that I’m prejudiced against Australians. I’m not going to try to soften this by claiming that some of my best friends are Australian, because they’re not. In fact, I can’t remember ever actually meeting an Australian, although I did briefly work for a woman with a Boston accent so thick that some Chicagoans thought she was from Australia. Hate is too strong of a word. It’s not really even that I dislike Australians as much as I’m scared of them. They’re not like us; something just feels off.
There could be any number of valid reasons for this revulsion; their alcoholism, their loudness, their penchant for cruelty towards marsupials, not to mention their Aborigine-murdering/penal-colony roots. For me it comes down to this: Australians have an amazing talent for imitating us, while genetic differences prevent us from reproducing their accents as convincingly. Think about it; American actors always sound amateurish and cheesy when they do Outback Steakhouse voice-overs, but how many Australian movie and TV actors can you name off the top of your head who can effortlessly slip into completely-authentic American accents; Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts, that guy Jason from True Blood, the list goes on and on.
I mean, honestly; did you even know that these people were Australian when you first saw them? I sure didn’t, and finding out the truth left me feeling violated and mistrustful. I’m starting to look at people in my daily life differently, wondering if, just maybe, they might be Australians too. I can’t help thinking about all the people who I always just assumed were American. People who, in some cases, I’ve known all my life; People I have allowed into my own home! And what about our government, for God’s sake; for all I know, the President of the United States could actually have been born in Australia!
Here’s my bottom line: If Australians want to come live here, fine. But is it too much to ask for a little transparency on their part? I understand we can’t “violate” their civil rights by making them display some sort of identification on their outer-clothes (my idea was a large, red “A”), but can’t we at least force them to speak in their own accents while on U.S. soil?
Judge me if you want to, but first ask yourself; can you really trust an Australian the way you could trust someone of a less-suspect heritage, like a Canadian or a New Zealander? You tell me.