Stereotyping refugees is detrimental to assimilation

Refugees are at risk of becoming a result of realpolitik.

The human stories and emotions have been lost to this ongoing narrative and negative stereotyping of asylum seekers in Australia.

Due to the political nature of the debate, the treatment of many refugees has been negative at times.

This is at the detriment of legal refugees who are choosing to call Northern Tasmania home.

It was saddening to read social commentary relating to The Examiner’s story on Launceston refugees who are participating in a learn to swim program.

Many comments stated that “they” get everything for free.

The learn to swim program was delivered by the Swim and Survive Fund, which uses donations from individuals, community organisations, corporate supports and the Royal Life Saving partner facilities.

The aim is to increase access to swimming and water safety education for people who are at greater risk of drowning.

Other comments argued that the participants should have been taught swimming in primary school, like all other children. 

The students taking part in the program were aged 13-19. 

They were being taught the basics that children in primary school receive. The primary school they were unable to attend due to their refugee status. It’s about building confidence so they are equal with their peers.

The majority of other comments either questioned the need for the program and others defended the initiative.  

Some people felt the need to comment in case those connected to the migrant community were reading the posts. They said the migrants were welcome in Launceston and were adding to our community.

Many of the people contributing to our community on a daily basis have a history that involves migration. Whether it be as a refugee or migrants searching for a better life and opportunity in Australia.

It’s our melting pot of cultures and beliefs that makes Australia a strong and bright country. The Community Kitchen is a great example of how the traditions and cultures of other nationals are literally brought to the table for Launceston community members through lunches.

The saying goes: ignorance is bliss. But in this instance ignorance can be harmful, dangerous and destructive.