Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Racism is a very pernicious form of discrmination. At its most extreme racism bridges into genocide, seen all too frequently in the 20th and even 21st century, but at its less extreme it comes in the form of active discrimination against certain racial groups on the presumption that "that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

Today we have seen the former CEO of Telstra return to territory that he has visited before - the suggestion that a range of references to his ethnic origins in Australia amounted to "racism". It is a very big claim, especially when it is extended to the Prime Minister's one word "Adios" as a comment on Sol's departure.

It is nonsense. There is no suggestion or evidence that Mr Trujilo was ever discriminated against, nor indeed that the references to his Hispanic origins was anything other than the process of characteture that draws attention to people's noses, eyebrows or - in relation to Sol's predecessor - degrees (Ziggy was a nuclear scientist). None of the references suggested that he was in any way "backward" for being Hispanic.

Trujillo goes further and claims that Australia is "backwards" because it was only thirty years ago that we changed our discriminatory immigration policies. This is the most outlandish claim of all. Firstly "white australia" was retired forty years ago, not thirty. Secondly at the same time it was retired, the United States was still practicing segregation in its Southern states.

Finally one is left with the presumption that Mr Trujillo thinks his Hispanic background was the matter that was focussed on. But being a Hispanic business man is part of Trujilo's "claim to fame" as in this hort bio;

Sol Trujillo, Chief Executive Officer, Telstra Corporation Ltd
On 1 July 2005, Mr Solomon (“Sol”) Trujillo joined Australia’s leading telecommunications company, Telstra Corporation Limited (Telstra) as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Prior to joining Telstra he was CEO of London-based Orange, the first American to lead a CAC-40 company; President and CEO of US West Dex Inc.; President and CEO of US West Communications; and CEO and Chairman of US West Inc.

Mr Trujillo holds a Bachelor of Science with a major in business and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wyoming. He was granted honorary doctorates from both the University of Wyoming and the University of Colorado. Mr Trujillo was the first native-born Hispanic-American to serve as CEO of a Fortune 150 company.

In fact Hispanic Business welcomed his return without being accused of "racism".

Meanwhile, it was Telstra that pursued the xenophobic criticism of Optus - frequently referring to it as Singapore and foreign.

I am extremely happy to see the back of Trujillo and his "amigos". His claims of racism are extravagant, extreme and unfounded.

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