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This Tweet Nails Australia's Problem With Our Multicultural Sporting Heroes

Mariam Veiszadeh says we have a tendency to disown our non-white sports stars when they misbehave.

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Olympic swimming legend Dawn Fraser apologised yesterday, after saying that Australian tennis stars Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic should "go back to where their parents came from".

Many people were shocked by Fraser's racist comments, but for other prominent Australians with different cultural backgrounds, it was all too familiar.

Having been told to get out of Australia many times in my life it's a big relief to know all those people were just helping with directions.

Go back to where you came from. That's a flashback to primary school for me #KyrgiosOutrage

But it was Mariam Veiszadeh, a lawyer and Muslim community advocate, who really nailed the deeper problem in Australia with these tweets:


#DawnFraser Fiasco Why is Kyrgios' "Australianess" negotiable and conditional upon his sporting behavior?

We are deemed "great Australians" when we do something good but "bad(insert nationality here)" when we do something bad #DawnFraser #Kyrgios

No one told Lleyton Hewitt to "go back to where he came from" when he threw his countless tantrums on court. #DawnFraser #Kyrgios

This is why I cannot ever have road rage because #DawnFraser will attribute it to my background, & tell me to go back to where I came from.


Veiszadeh, who has been the target of Islamophobic abuse online in the past, told BuzzFeed News that Dawn Fraser's comments didn't surprise her.


"Time and time again it seems commentators have been quick to excommunicate and denounce people of colour and diverse backgrounds for the most dubious reasons," she said.

"We've witnessed it recently with the over-the-top condemnation of Adam Goodes and now we are seeing it with Nick Kyrgios. It's unfair to hold these figures to a different standard and to treat them as the 'other'."

In May, Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes was criticised by Eddie Maguire and other commentators over a post-goal Aboriginal war dance. Media personality Waleed Aly explained why he thought some people got so worked up over it:

View this video on YouTube

“There is no mystery about this at all. And it’s not as simple as it being about race, it’s about something else," Aly said on ABC's Offsiders program.

“It’s about the fact that Australia is generally a very tolerant society until its minorities demonstrate that they don’t know their place. And at that moment, the minute someone in a minority position acts as though they’re not a mere supplicant, then we lose our minds."

Kyrgios shared a message of support on his Facebook page this morning, and said the incident showed him that being Australian is about being "understanding, supportive, and standing by your people."

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at

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