Psycasm is the exploration of the world psychological. Every day phenomenon explained and manipulated to one's own advantage. Written by a slightly overambitious undergrad, Psycasm aims at exploring a whole range of social and cognitive processes in order to best understand how our minds, and those mechanisms that drive them, work.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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The following is an abridged and paraphrased conversation with a taxi driver, a white post-middle aged fellow.
Oh mate, those New Zealanders are taking a hammering, aren’t they? [referring to the recent Earth Quakes]
Yeah, pretty unfortunate. I suppose it caught them unawares.
It was lunch-time you know. It’s not like a cyclone you can see coming.
Still, they had one in September last year.
You know what I’d do, in New Zealand, I’d jump on a boat. Come to Australia. Get priority listing on housing, get welfare, get my teeth fixed.
[Here I withhold the observation ‘At least they speak English’, because I’m sure that he will fail to catch the irony] I’m not sure that’s true. I reckon most folk who come here just want to work.
Oh mate, if only that was true…
[… mentally screaming: how can you know that...]
Still, at least they speak English.
[…oh FSM, really?]
Oh hey, a new restaurant. [Indicating a new Indian place, one of a franchise]
Yeah? They have one of those near where I live. Pretty ritzy inside. I’ve only been there once but the food was pretty good.
I like a good curry. …
Yeah? A curry fan? [ahh, safe ground. Food!]
I like curry. I don’t like Curry Cooks. No hygiene those curry cooks. No hygiene.
[…Ok, explicit racism….]
*a second awkward silence*
[a brief, one-sided chat about the recent floods]
*Radio* …Julia Gillard, PM, will be instituting a ‘Carbon Tax’, potentially costing taxpayers up to $300 a year in grocery, electricity and petrol…
Mate, everything’s going to get more expensive.
Because of this? Or generally speaking?
Both. Carbon tax and generally speaking. Gillard should be put in jail. She’s brainwashing the youth. It’s not a carbon tax, you know, it’s a carbon dioxide tax. They’re going to tax me on what I breathe out.
… silence… [I consider asking him what ought to be done instead, but withhold]
And Al Gore should be put arrested. Propaganda is all it is. How can he go around saying things like that?
Put him in jail? You need to assess the results of his actions, not just his words. You can’t put a man in jail just for saying something.
It’s all propaganda. The youth never stand a chance... I used to live down south, and we had a bushfire that burnt for four days. They say it released more carbon dioxide than we release in 10 years.
10 years? What does that mean? Who’s we, what were they measuring?
All of Australia, mate. That bush fire let out more carbon dioxide in 4 days than we can release in 10 years.
Even if that is true, that doesn’t mean that 1/10th of the carbon dioxide released by Australia isn’t a significant amount. 1/10th could still be doing damage.
Mate, what we release in 10 years? How can humans change the planet when a bushfire can release more carbon dioxide than we can in 10 years.
… Yes… But the amount we release, even if it is less than a bushfire, might still do damage.
You know, I can imagine Australia before we got here. Trees everywhere. Must have been paradise. Bushfires must have burned for months, moving around the country. Black fella’s must’ve followed it all around the country.
[Yay, more racism!] …*awkward silence*…
You know they used to start fires, to prevent bushfires. Burn up all the undergrowth so that if I fire came through it couldn’t burn as much.
We used to do that down south. Back-burn every year. You had to, get in trouble if you didn’t.
Humans are too small to change the planet. Look at that tree. It breathes Carbon Dioxide, and makes oxygen for me. Kill the tree, kill me. God wouldn’t let it.
You’re arguing from personal experience. Just because you see something, or don’t see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Aw mate, I’ve been around. I talk to old fellas. They’ve seen these things.
Yes, but scientist look at things over the long term. They measure things that can’t be directly observed by you or I. That’s how they can make these accurate predictions about what’s going on.
Are you suggesting that even if we aren’t making a big impact, we don’t have a duty of care. That we shouldn’t be mindful of the harms we cause?
Oh, we’re evolutionary beings. If something dies because of us, that’s evolution.
Hang on, you’re arguing with the naturalistic fallacy. Just because human activity may have done something, doesn’t mean it ought to have been so. So we may have killed the Tasmanian tiger, that doesn’t mean the Tasmanian tiger was somehow worthy of being wiped out.
Species will go extinct anyway. It’s evolution. There were extinct species for millions of years before we humans got here too.
…!?!?!... [Wow, that doesn’t even make sense… here's a list of all modern extinct animals in Australia alone]
Look at cars. We’ve had the same technology for a hundred years. Burning fossil fuels. They don’t change because there’s money in it.
I can’t argue with that.
Oh mate, don’t argue. Don’t ever argue. You know, I’ll be happy the day we run out of stuff.
It’ll give us a purpose.
[Here I am thinking he’s going to argue for some divine plan] What purpose?
Mate, then we’ll have to do something about finding a new source of energy.
[...!?!...] Well, that’s true….
…and here’s another thing. Whenever there’s a disaster, there’s always someone on their phone ready to take a picture. In the old days, a pacific island gets wiped out by a cyclone and no-one would even know.
[ok, what’s your point?] …silence…
Yup, they say global warming is flooding these pacific islands. You know, it’s El Nino, or Ninõ. It makes the water hot, makes the water rise. Floods the islands.
I’m pretty sure that’s not right
Yeah, if the water’s rising on pacific islands, why isn’t rising here on this island?
That really has to do with the fact that pacific islands are not very far above the sea level, and Australia is. All the parts you see are well above the see level, and the parts that aren’t are protected by the parts that are.
They’re not really being flooded though. They’re sinking.
Yeah, if half your beach gets blown away by a cyclone you don’t go around saying the water is rising. It got blown away. Look at Fraser Island. It’s getting bigger every year. All the sand gets washed down and it gets bigger.
Hang on, are you saying that it’s easier to suggest that all islands are sinking independently than to suggest some common cause, like rising water levels?
Here’s another thing. I go fishing. Why isn’t the water rising. I’m down on the river, and I don’t see anything.
Rivers don’t feed from the oceans. I don’t know enough about this to argue against it.
Aw mate, don’t argue. All I’m saying is it’s just one pond, right? If it rises there, it should rise here.
… [at this point I’ve decided to shorten the ride and get out at home, rather than heading further to my destination. I sign my cab-charge and get out]…
Have a good day. And don’t believe everything you read.
Oh yeah, I’ll try to keep a skeptical eye out.
I know you will.
It makes we wonder – do cab drivers like this (and there are a lot of cab drivers like this) just repeat the same points to each new client, verbatim? How do they manage when an immigrant gets in the car? Honestly, they must sit there and quietly stew in their bigotry.
I felt a little disappoint in myself regarding the conversation. Even as it transpired I felt a duty to point out that he was being racist and bigoted, that he was misinformed and that his opinion was unsolicited. And yet I didn’t feel that I necessarily was in a position of authority to argue against him. I mean I made an effort to point out some of the major flaws in his argument, but I felt so woefully ignorant and inarticulate regarding the counter arguments that I just couldn’t speak. And I’m not ignorant of such things: Climate Science, Carbon Taxes, and Immigration are immensely complicated topics. I know that Australia takes in less refugees; I’m familiar with Denialist arguments that relate to the ‘hockey stick’ and climate change, and I can speak with a knowledge of statistics and why that conclusion is both wrong and deceptive; Pacific Islands are sinking because some are less than 1m above sea level, but Australia and Australian Coasts are above sea level.
It’s this curious effect whereby those who are less competent, aware, and informed always over-rate their abilities and judgments; and those who are more aware and informed are aware of their own limitations of knowledge, and so underrate their capacities. It’s a pretty typical explanation for the unfounded certainty folks like this have when speaking on topics so much greater and complex than they can possibly comprehend.
What is to be done about it? Part of me just wants to sit them down and run through a freaken’ reality check.
1) Here’s the test we give immigrants to obtain citizenship. Do you pass?
2) We assess the size of your family and your net contributions to society, as compared to both recently immigrated and long-term arrivals. If you don’t meet the mean standard contribution for an Australian Citizen – Shut. The. Fuck. Up.
3) Take a basic comprehension test. There’s no point in administering a Science Literacy test, they’ll fail. The least we could do is explain that they’re a poor evaluator of information.
4) Explain and articulate your arguments in full. Get the arguments rated for consistency and logic.
Though this might make me feel better, to shut them down and expose their ignorance and hypocrisy, it likely wouldn’t be productive. And this guy was an amazing hypocrite, undermining his own arguments with faulty logic - and being completely ignorant of his confusion – For instance this fellow supported action to find alternative sources of energy, after we’d completely maxed out the planet; but was against the proposition that we are causing an impact on the planet, arguing that ‘we are too small to make a difference’.
And yet the greatest failing here is a failing of the rest of us, myself included. The old bugger was nice. He wasn’t an angry racist, he was just a racist. No-one tolerates an outspoken racist, but a casual comment is allowed to fly. The exceeding majority of Australians (even the ones who don’t agree with him, i.e. me) don’t call him out. The rest who hold sympathetic opinions say ‘Oh, he’s not racist. He’s just an Australian’. That’s sad – but even having said this I’m not sure me saying ‘That’s bigoted and uninformed’ is productive. He’d just label me as young and idealistic, yet to know the true nature of society (I presume).
All this makes me want to write a hand-book: ‘Dealing with an Aussie Red-Neck’. It would contain conversation trees, with links to relevant chapters. For instance, if a Red-Neck says ‘Climate change is not real’ then I can go ‘Well, actually it is. Here’s a list of reasons why, and here’s my evidence’. Additionally, it would contain a list of the most common arguments that these jokers employ, and would list the simplest counter-arguments to their bullshit. The research would be easy, too. I’d just catch cabs for a few weeks, recording each new argument that arose. I suspect that there’s a finite number and a limited range of arguments. These people aren’t critical, they’re not creating new talking points. At best they sit in a circle and bounce factoids off each other, sharing the misinformation.
I’d love to be able to handle such people more deftly. If you want to offer an unsolicited (and contentious) opinion, then own it. Bear its consequences.
Sadly, the best I could offer was a brief explanation of science, a description of some logical fallacies, acknowledgements of my ignorance, and some passive-aggressive silence.
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I don't chat with the cabbie's. They always start asking me personal questions- why am I in town, where did I come from, what do I do, (they're also trying to guess my age and make comments like "what do you study in school?).
I really minimize the conversation to basic closed answers. I don't ask questions back to indicate that I am not interested in a conversation.
When I've landed at the airport and am trying to get to my hotel, am half asleep, starved, or worried, I don't talk.
In the US, you have racism and small mindedness in all areas and professions. I've never had a taxi driver actually start expressing that to me. Probably since most of them are non-American anyway.
If someone were to start expressing their racist views to me. I would definitely not engage more conversation. It's just a ride after all. I'm not going to change someone's mind in a 20-30 minute ride.
People are people- I just accept them the way they are and move on, as long as no one is getting hurt.
I have witnessed overt and hurtful racism riding the city bus in one of the Southern states and it was from a rider of the bus, not the driver, and it was painful and embarrassing. I was never more ashamed of the behavior of white people in my life.
I find it best for my sanity to pretend these characters are parodies and sit back and enjoy the show.
Engaging in meaningful debate only works if both parties are consenting and most bigots are not willing to listen or think.
If you have an android phone, check the app Skeptical Science by Shine technologies. It has the different arguments against global warming with good bibliography behind it.
Knowledge will set you free.
Yea, I probably do sound like a prat.
It's difficult not to when you're explaining a logical fallacy. And the alternative is to implictly accept bigotry.
How would you have handled the situation such that you satisfied your beliefs without making a scene or giving offence?
I hate to say I have been in many of these situations and nothing you say or no matter how many facts you present many cling to their preconcieved ideals like its their last breathe of air. I have tried calmly debating keeping quiet, I don't know. Back when I lived in KY, when I first went to grade school, kids liked me (quick background I am from Poland and when I was younger I still had a bit of an accent, both my parents have very thick ones, my accent is gone unless you listen hard, had a eastern european linguist peg me as a non native speaker, shocked me noone can usually tell anyways I digress) So I would go to school, kids were curious as hell, very nice asked questions good fun. Next day the climate changed, the kids hated me, told me to go back where I came from and that my parents were taking their parents' jobs. Of course being like 6 or 7 years old I didn't know what happened or how to deal.(Only been speaking english a couple years too) I wish I knew then what I know now. It was horrible, but where do you think they heard it from? Their parents were like that cabbie. And they were hateful after.
-sigh- its ike that everywhere and hard to really know how to react. Sometimes its not bad just kind of insulting. This situation was I will describe here in a moment, is a little laughable and could have gone much worse.. One time my dad and I were sitting at a park bench eating lunch and chatting, in english mind you, and this couple came over (older like in their 70s) and very loudly and veeerrrrryyyy slowly "Welcome to the United States of America." We thanked them and told them we had been here a while and really enjoyed it. But still loudly and slowly, "You are Welcome. Have a nice Day."
I have had people attack me as soon as they hear I do sceince, the earth is 6,000 years old, when I worked at a research institution in this town people asked if I was making frankenstein in the basement, or killer mutant mouse armies (no they were not joking). People protested b/c they thought we were doing evil stem cell reserach, messing with "God's Plan" making things unnatural, we were torturing animals for fun. etc.
Also my friend worked as a beahvioural psychologist and of course did animal tets, lots of mouse scoring and people really freaked out at that lab.etc.
I don't know how to fix the problem. I wish I had a solution and way to deal. I just camlly talk to the person, present my beliefs best I can and lay out facts and as you say sometimes I don't feel informed enough to present it best, and I think people like that smell the uncertainity and go for it, if they get heated or freak out I walk away and just tell them they are entitled to their opinion. If they really are upset I sometimes just say I see your point and get out.
PS My dad is a scientist that was hired by US gov b/c he was doing special things in his field which is how we came to the states so very curious on whose job he was taking...
On the one hand, it's not like I like the driver's attitude. I wouldn't really want him babysitting my kid- those are not the sorts of attitudes I want my son to pick up.
On the other hand, I think you are being overly hard on him. For one thing the hygiene remark is *not* 'explicit racism' (prejuduice yes. but also perhaps not ignorant- I mean, what *is* the level of hygiene of chain resturant curry places?) I mean, if that's the worst racism you ever have to encounter you owe it to the universe to thank your stars everyday.
You can walk around feeling you have a moral duty to point out racism- but you've gotta remember we all have our biases (you have some about cabbies, apparently).
You can walk around feeling you have a moral duty to point out illogic about science- but you've gotta remember cognitive dissonance is a coping mechanism. To be perfectly honest, to me it sounds like this person was capable of understanding dire predictions of global climate change, but can't absorb the information because it would require too drastic a lifestyle change. He knows his livelihood depends directly on consuming fossil fuels. So either he gives up his job to go do ...?, and rides a bike and gives up eating meat and indoor plumbing in favor of a composting toilet... or he lives with hipocracy. Just like you and I.
Becca, do you ever get tired of trying to play the devil's advocate in EVERY discussion?
I was going to ask her how she got so smart :-P. I do think Psycasm is being a little too hard on the cabbie. And I liked her last paragraph a lot. I think we all have to live with hypocrisy.
I think Becca brings a good, well thought out, perspective to every discussion. She shows me something in a different light every time.
Yeah, I agreet to some extent with Becca and Jade - I was hard on the guy. But I would argue I have a right to be. His opinions were unsolicted, he didn't test the waters to see if I even wanted to listen or would agree.
I'm a blogger, I put my opinion on the line every time I make a post. If (and when) people disagree I need to *own* that opinion. I said it, I must then handle the consequences. If I was having a mutual and private conversation with a friend and I said something off-colour, which was then taken out of context and publicized, well, then I could moan that people are being hard on me. But this Cabbie, without a second thought, tried to explain to me all the little bits of his misinformed thinking.
The point was it was unsolicited and uninvited. What if I was the head some kind of Anglo-Indian Community alliance, and put my full weight into a boycotting his cab company? Hard done by now? I don't think so.
We all write on the internet, and we all understand the rules that what we say stays said. If you don't want a particular comment/slur/opinion following you around, don't say it, especially when you don't know who you're talking to.
I <3 Becca too, but someone has to give her shit every once in a while to keep her on her toes.
"to shut them down and expose their ignorance and hypocrisy"
Shut them down? Who, the "Red-Necks"?
By using this offensive term, you are "othering" the cab driver and displaying your own ignorance and bigotry. And honestly, becca is right, he seemed like a nice guy.
The biggest hypocrites around here are the oh so sensitive academic liberals who love to talk trash about working class whites (CPP just won an internet hypocrisy award for this very reason in fact).
Oh, and as far as suggestions...you might start by prefacing your arguments with acknowledgement of the other person's understandable lack of knowledge and experience, perhaps admitting your own ignorance , or saying something like "Yeah, it is hard to wrap one's head around the concept of average temperature change over time when we're having record snowstorms" or "I totally understand that this is difficult stuff to understand- it's taken me forever and I do this for a living" or even more neutral and non-commital, yet encouraging and polite: "it sounds like you've given this a lot of thought" or "I often wonder as a scientists how laypeople are able to get the information they need in order to make decisions on these topics, where did you get your information?" or "sometimes as scientists we see all this confusion and wonder how we could get things across better. Do you have any suggestions?" Who knows, maybe you will learn something.
I'm not romanticizing the situation, btw, just suggesting you don't immediately reciprocate with "Red-Neck" stereotyping when these incidents occur.
Guess I'd better just keep quiet, never argue and let the predjudiced among us insult migrants, debase science, and offer unsolicited opinions to a captive audience.
Also, feel free to report me to the Red-Neck Association for Fair Representation. If it doesn't exist, form it and lobby against a country free of racism and science-denial.
Also, the guy was nice. I said as much. Here's the context:
"...And yet the greatest failing here is a failing of the rest of us, myself included. The old bugger was nice. He wasn’t an angry racist, he was just a racist. No-one tolerates an outspoken racist, but a casual comment is allowed to fly. The exceeding majority of Australians (even the ones who don’t agree with him, i.e. me) don’t call him out. The rest who hold sympathetic opinions say ‘Oh, he’s not racist. He’s just an Australian’."
Oh, but hey, racists are alright people once you get to know them. Some of my best friends are rednecks.
...and my predjudice against working class folks, me, as an ivory tower academic? Go to hell. I'm a student. I deliver pizzas, I've worked in a garage, and I sweep your fucking floors. I was educated at a state school. My parents - not that I'm going to get into depth - do honest work and engage with the public daily, and were educated the same. My 'oh so sensitive academic liberal' biases - well, shit - that sounds like 'othering' language to me.
You want to prop up a red-neck, go ahead, but as I've said over and over, own it. Sure, I'm educated, but I worked for it. Sure, I'm on the left side of politics, but those are conclusions drawn of deliberate enquirey. Sure, I support science in matters of policy and the global future, but only because our own intuition is horribly innaccurate and our imagination too limited.
Really? You think you have no prejudices? And I didn't say 'ivory tower' you added that. You are in academia as a student I presume, so you are a liberal academic. I wasn't othering you. But that is indeed where the biggest hypocrites are found.The well-educated people who explicity say 'I am better than other people because I am not flawed and prejudiced as they are.'
And I told you that you used an offensive term. This doesn't seem to bother you. Hmm.Yeah, I guess you're right. It is hard to educate people.
The only thing I get tired of is trying to build enough rapport to ever have a prayer of convincing anyone of anything. That's hard work. Playing devil's advocate is... like breathing.
Also, the completely internally inconsistent position on climate change and human's place on earth... that's classic Carebear. So I'm used to arguing with it. Or rather, I'm used to coming smack up against the illogic, hurting my poor delicate head, and learning compassion for the confusion that causes it. Because as far as arguing against it? I've still got nothing. After several years.
Psychasm- to a degree, any blogger anywhere has a right to rant. It's what makes the internet what it is. I figure it this way- you have the right to get upset, and that's a sign that you care about racism and science and that itself is something I admire. However, I'm not so sure you have a moral right to judge, inasmuch as you've got some socio-economic privilege issues just as this guy had some race privilege issues. And the irony of a guy taking a cab trying to convince someone of the importance of climate change is tickling in my throat a little.
"The pay's ok, and the tips are pretty good. A lot better than when I waited table in that veggie-reggie-hippy-dippy resturant. GEEZE! All those left-wing 'power-to-the-people' types are the tightest-fistet, holier-than-thou crabs I ever met!"- David Budbill
Touche @Guest Commentor (and doesn't the anonymity add a dash of irony?)
I thought the under tone of my commentry was fairly clear - if you share an opinion, own it. The prejudices I carry (which I do not deny exist) I reserve for appropriate forums. But ya' got me - colour me prejudiced against bigots; I said that, it makes it so.
"The prejudices I carry (which I do not deny exist) I reserve for appropriate forums."
It's unlikely you even know what they are, let alone how to reserve them for appropriate forums. You're totally missing the point here.
"colour me prejudiced against bigots;"
Yes. "bigoted |ˈbigətid|
obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one's own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions."
Perhaps my position is not yet vindicated, whatever that means, but the alienation of American working classes thank's to the hostility and scapegoating activities of the liberal democrats (and I am far from the only person to fault them for their anti-populist attitudes in recent decades) has had devestating consequences for the entire planet.
Also you are still missing the point. You are stereotyping the cab driver and all people from his race (so you are being racist too) and class as "Red-Necks" a term derived from their own oppression. Unless they "prove" to you that they have elevated themselves over their vile racism I suppose. Then they are good working people not like those evil racists like the cab driver. So when you say "red-Neck" you don't mean those good white working people, so they shouldn't take offense at your stereotyping. Right?
Look at the photos you chose. How you over-react to his common, human prejudices and call him a vile bigot.He's a bad guy, you are a good guy. You are so good, such a sensitive, enlightened anti-racist that you could not stand to drive any further with him- you actually changed your plans so you wouldn't have to spend any more time sharing space with such a vile creature. I mean nice guy- which was it?
Do you really think all those immigrants you are defending are pure and perfectly non-racist and multi-cultural? Then why do you expect him to be?
Hmm, how did those "red-necks" get to Oz in the first place? Do you even know the origin of the slur that you apparently don't care is considered by many to be offensive?
Ok. I will correct one thing. Red-Neck is a white slur. I wasn't aware of this. As an Australian the meaning is somewhat more dilute, essentially referring to racists and those that hold non-PC opinions.Generally accusing someone of being a Red-Neck here, after they have expclicitly and undeniably demonstrated their bigotry, is no big deal - at least among people who are against racism and bigotry.
Within the context and with the intent I used it I was not referring to the rich history of American Racism.
On the other hand - the guy was a racist, grossly misinformed, and demonstrated poor critical thinking. Qualities I find damnable. See here? I corrected myself after being directed to do so. Here I was thinking you were a racist sympathizer, if not outrightly bigoted yourself; but it turns out you were merely defending the integrity of the white working-class majority. Good for you.It seems the both of us are willing to argue for what we believe in.
As for everything else you said - I dust my hands. You've done more damage to your own credibility than I could hope to by refuting your poorly constructed arguments. No doubt you will interpret this as some kind of intellectual cowardice, a trait (I suspect you will claim) as typical of 'academic liberals'. However you choose to interpret it the fact is I will no longer respond to your arguments that - by all measures - appear bigoted themselves.
I will make a final point - the context in which you interpret my post (which is explicitly Australian) as part of an American problem is flawed. The alienation, skape-goating and 'predjudice' against the American Working Class is yours, and your country's, problem (not uniquely, but it appears that this is what you are referring to). This post might have been in the same neighbourhood (given that it's about a white bigot) but all the gaps were filled in by your victim complex.
Try turning off Limbaugh for a little while.
"somewhat more dilute, essentially referring to racists and those that hold non-PC opinions"
So a racist Chinese would be a red-neck also, and not, say, a yellow-nose?
"Within the context and with the intent I used it I was not referring to the rich history of American Racism."
right. There is no connection. Btw you never answered my question about the "red-neck" history in Australia. Not important, eh?
"your arguments that - by all measures - appear bigoted themselves."
wait, I thought you just said I wasn't a racist. Now I am again? Because I referred to "liberal academics"? wow the bar for calling someone a racist keeps getting lower.
"This post might have been in the same neighbourhood (given that it's about a white bigot) but all the gaps were filled in by your victim complex."
I had to fill in approximately zero gaps. You pretty much laid it all out.
All this flailing, ending with an (untrue to any intelligent, observant person) insult based on a group you have (incorrectly) assumed me to belong to is typically human, but by your own estimation, something only bad racists do. Perhaps this conflict explains your over-reaction to the man's banter, how you had to get away from him.
Well, you sound young, so perhaps I've been a little hard on you, but I do hope you will reconsider use of the "perfectly fine to say in Australia" term in the future. Not only does 'redneck' refer to skin color and group or race membership, it refers to the painful damage done to skin tissue after doing hard labor in the sun with no protection. Not a nice thing to call someone. Why not just called them a racist, if that's what you are trying to say?