African-Australians have poked fun at Victoria’s so-called African gang crisis in a social media campaign that shows most are anything but gangsters.
Fiery debate has erupted in recent days after federal immigration minister Peter Dutton said some Melburnians were afraid to go out to dinner because of youth gang crime.
But others have suggested the concern is overblown, saying crimes involving African youths get more media coverage and have become a political tool.
Amid the debate, law abiding African-Australians have taken to social media to share photos of celebratory and everyday moments in a defiant, tongue-in-cheek campaign.
The images of weddings, graduations and family dinners are ironically accompanied by the hashtag #africangangs on Twitter and Facebook.
Grace Aubour Jook shared photos of friends in academic gowns and neat dresses on Twitter, with the comment: “#AfricanGangs. Look how terrifying we are. Menace to society.”
Another Twitter user Momo shared a photo of herself with her mother, who she thanked for “instilling #AfricanGangs values” in her.
She then added: “Been at my current employment for 7 years, run my own business and in the final stages of a double degree.”
Others shared photos of family members working as doctors, their children helping at the supermarket and their friends attending AFL matches.
The hashtag, which started in Melbourne, exploded on Tuesday and was trending nationwide on Twitter.
It comes as an African-Australian community task force was created in Victoria in a bid to prevent youth violence and ease racial tensions.