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Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his address to the Australian Parliament said of the relations between Indonesia and Australia:

‘The most persistent problem in our relations is the persistence of age-old stereotypes, misleading simplistic mental caricatures which depict the other side in a bad light.’

 This is accurate and applies to many walks of life and many situations. Racism and cultural stereotyping are a type of diminished vision that limits the ability of one group of people to see the nuances and the shared-humanity of other groups. We all suffer from these ‘sight’ issues to a greater or less degree – it is good to be aware of the issue.

President SBY went on to say:

‘Even in the age of cable television and the internet there are Australians who see Indonesia as an authoritarian country or as a military dictatorship or hotbed of Islamic extremism, even with expansionist ambitions. On the other hand, in Indonesia there are people who remain afflicted with Australia-phobia, those who believe that the notion of white Australia still exists, and Australians harbour bad intentions toward Indonesia.  We must expunge these preposterous mental caricatures.’

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