Do theories of racism explain crimes against international students?

Victoria University has published a lengthy research paper on the ‘community safety’ of international students.

Their survey of international and domestic students at Victorian universities and private providers finds that international students are at greater risk than domestic students of various adverse incidents. But this greater risk is in the context of a more general incivility and crime problem:

Compared with domestic students, international students were significantly more likely to feel unsafe at work (10% vs 5%), to report being verbally abused (58% vs 44%) to report being physically attacked (11% vs 7.5%) and to report being robbed (10% vs 5%). ‘Physical intimidation’ was the only safety threat experienced reported slightly more often by domestic students compared with international students (25% vs 20%).

While the researchers surveyed students and interviewed various ‘stakeholders’, the most important people in understanding the causes of these problems – the perpetrators, or even people from the youth subcultures they come from – don’t get a voice. Instead the report gives us pages of academic theories about racism, little of which seems to me to be helpful in understanding Melbourne’s particular recent issues. Continue reading “Do theories of racism explain crimes against international students?”