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I was racially abused at a public park. Basically out of no where he called me a terrorist. I ignored him. After a while he came directly to me and ask me to go away and said this is Australia.

The offender was a food truck owner. I am afraid that if I report to the police, the police won't take any action and just record it as another racial abuse statistic. I have his details, pictures and video recording the incident . I live in Australia.

Edit: I am not of middle eastern decent but I do have a beard. I was wearing a robe like garment for a cultural function i was attending. This is what provoked him. But i think, most of all is that I'm what people can immediately judge as a geek and weak appearing person (I slightly resemble Mark Zuckerberg). So people don't usually fear confronting me.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Oct 4 '20 at 15:56
  • Follow-up: did you file a police complaint? What happened? Aug 27 at 14:05
  • I actually ended up going to him, and I apologized to him for wearing the robes.... He was surprised and had no words to say. He then started talking bad about muslim terrorists in general and I just told him I agree with him. Our conversation ended with him saying 'I respect you mate!' Aug 27 at 15:00
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You should file a complaint with the police.

  1. If you complain to the police then they might do something. If you don't complain then they certainly won't.

  2. Are food trucks licensed? You might try complaining to the license authority. However go to the police first because the licence authority are unlikely to do anything without a police complaint.

  3. Even being just another statistic helps increase the pressure for action on the wider issue of racism in society.

If all else fails you can just post the incident on YouTube and see what happens. Its an unreliable method of enforcement and can backfire, but it has been known for international embarrassment to kick reluctant authorities into action.

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  • Probably should do the "if all else fails" part too regardless. I'd start with Twitter and Yelp.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 4 '20 at 1:03
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    The last bit can cause you real trouble depending on your countries rules about personal protection. Even making photographs of thieves public caused trouble to people who made them public.
    – Vladimir F
    Oct 4 '20 at 8:34
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    +1: Even if they dismiss it as a one-off event now, registering it with them means it's on their records in case they get another report about the same person. They might even have other reports already, and yours is the one that pushes it into 'this is a pattern, and must be investigated' territory. If you don't tell them, they can't do anything about it. Oct 4 '20 at 13:04
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From the Federal Racial Discrimination Act 1975:

18C Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin

(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:

(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and

(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.

You actually have a few avenues you can go down to complain.

Firstly, you can complain to the Australian Human Rights Commission, which is afederal body responsible for responding to these complaints. https://humanrights.gov.au/complaints/make-complaint

Secondly, you can complain to your relevant state or territory police force, who are empowered under this act to investigate complaints.

And lastly, you can complain to your local council, who almost certainly issue permits to such food trucks to allow them to operate.

While this is fresh in your mind, you should note down as many details as you can remember. Exact words that were said. Exact times and place. Things that may not be captured well in the video you took.

Please remember that statistics matter. Even if you feel like you making such a report will go nowhere, it can influence funding, it can influence decisions.

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  • Federal and State MPs (and their opposition) are good options for raising these issues with as well.
    – Aaron
    Oct 4 '20 at 0:24
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Firstly, sorry to hear this has happened to you. This type of thing can be very upsetting and ruin your whole weekend.

Do you know if the food truck is part of a chain? If he is a franchisee, you can complain the head franchisor about the inappropriate behaviour and he'll hopefully be disciplined.

I would definitely call the police non-emergency line and report the incident. This is important as this man may abuse you again in public in the future, and the police need to hold a record of the first time it happened in case this escalates.

You can post it on Youtube, but you need to ask yourself why you're doing this. Is it to increase awareness of racism in Australia, or just to embarrass the man? Think carefully before doing this, as it could backfire and aggravate the man further. If he finds out your identity, he may stalk and harass you outside your home or work, so you need to prepared for the retaliation he might take if you post images of him on Youtube.

Lastly, do you know what prompted the abuse? There must have been something that triggered it, like a behaviour that offended him? I used to live in Australia, and I only ever saw this type of racial name calling happen after two men got into a fight over something, with the exception of alcoholics and drug addicts who shout offensive, racial remarks often as their brains have turned to mush. The police call centre will ask you detailed questions about what may have triggered abuse, so you need to be clear with them about what triggered him when you report it. If they investigate further, they'll visit the man and ask for his version of events, and he'll probably say you started it (in these cases, people always get defensive and blame the other person, so be prepared for this). Give the police your video footage so they can refer to this if they do investigate further.

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    "The police call centre will ask you detailed questions about what may have triggered abuse, so you need to be clear with them about what triggered him when you report it." I understand that your point is to have amunition in case op has to prove something. But I should hope that Australia is a civilized country where the aggressor's behavior would be considered unacceptable no matter what might have "triggered" the verbal assault? The victim will (should) not be questioned on what they might have done to trigger this? Oct 3 '20 at 23:42
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    @JulienLopez. The police in Australia aim to resolve situations in an unbiased manner, and this means asking both parties for their version of events, as I stated. I saw cases when I lived in Australia where Middle Eastern or Indian men had sexually harassed a woman, which resulted in Australian men shouting abuse and racial remarks. In these instances, both parties may be charged by the police. Oct 4 '20 at 0:05
  • The Australian Police is one of the best in the world. Though since the number of cases are a lot they have to prioritize. I was thinking of doing something extra within legal bounds to teach this guy a lesson. Oct 4 '20 at 23:02

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