I am hoping that if you have found yourself to my blog, you're a lefty that detests prejudice and will likely nod along and may even learn something from what I write which will in turn help in your arguments with RWNJ's. If you are a RWNJ that enjoys partaking in racial vilification and hatred, feel free to write a scathing denigration of my views that will be thoroughly ignored and/or mocked.
I am writing this post because I have so much emotion stewing through me because of the NUMEROUS racist posts I have seen on social media and it has enraged me, not only that racists exist and consider their views acceptable - but because they are so flagrantly out of touch about the true history of this country and what racism actually is.
Australia has a long history with racism and the racism that has pervaded this land since 1788 has been particularly targeted towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the very first act of racism - the declaration of terra nullius – a lie predicated upon British ethnocentrism.
Terra nullius was a deliberate social construct that was intended to facilitate settlement without regard to prior ownership – theft without redress because the British classed themselves as superior based on their own notions of what constitutes ‘society,’ otherwise known as ethnocentric racism. Some of the white settlers as far back as 1832 questioned the legality of the British invasion of Australia. George Robinson, Chief Protector of Aborigines, wrote;
“I am at a loss to conceive by what tenure we hold this country, for it does not appear that we hold it by conquest or right of purchase.”
James Cook referred to the Natives of New Holland as “some of the most wretched people on earth” in his journal – an ethnocentric viewpoint if there was ever one.
The crux of the racist attitudes in this country are rooted in the long relationship between government and Church notwithstanding the theoretical separation of powers. Australian societal attitudes and behaviour towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is borne of the corrupt relationship between Government and Church and their inherent ethnocentrism.
The two together were a force of complete annihilation of that which was culturally and societally deemed inferior, specifically, that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were savages without the social standards deemed acceptable by the Government or the Church and the two, notwithstanding their false notions of commitment to human rights, waged war upon the Indigenous population, committed massacres, enslaved, introduced illnesses, poisoned and forced segregation of the Indigenous population.
There are many that, when faced with the historical facts of the atrocities against Australia’s Indigenous population, diminish the reality and the trans-generational consequences for the Indigenous population and simply say “it’s the past, get over it.”
But racism in Australia is not a dark (pun intended) history in which we can look back upon with the safe knowledge of having learned from the mistakes of the past; it is alive and well in Australia.
One of the most glaring aspects of racism in Australia is how we deal with questions surrounding what is racism and what is not and, invariably, we have some white commentator on right wing media franchises telling us that a racist comment or action isn’t racist, that it was humour or tongue in cheek and that we are all getting a little carried away with political correctness.
Nothing like having Asshole Blot or Madam Deville telling a black person that they don't have a right to be offended, because "free speech" or "get a sense of humour." Because lets face it, who knows better how to be black than a pair of white people that continue to propagate racial stereotypes from their platforms on the media provided by the very organisations that seek to gain from the denigration of Indigenous people?
Let me make one thing clear; the only people who think it is acceptable to diminish racism to a joke are those who either don’t understand the concept, have colonised minds or are, frankly racist.
By continuing to denigrate race and culture into casually accepted racism, we are missing the point and widening the divide within Australia.
In Australia, there are numerous aspects of our society that are responsible for the continuation of the racism that has been endemic for over 200 years; the media, the government and justice system and families.
The media is obvious. The reporting in the media is so overtly racist that it is obvious we certainly don’t have any standards. A young man does from a coward punch and this is a horrendous reality that amasses a tremendous outpouring of shock and horror and rightly so. But only a few weeks prior, an Indigenous man died in exactly the same way and the mainstream media was conspicuously silent.
Think about the things you see reported about Indigenous people in the media; you will see variations of the following themes:
- Substance abuse.
If you dig a little deeper you will be able to note the stories that AREN’T reported:
- Indigenous people dying at the hands of authorities.
- Indigenous people being targeted by police, spending lengthy periods incarcerated awaiting a hearing and then when they are finally acquitted for something that they should never have been incarcerated for – they never have that time back nor is there any redress.
- Indigenous people incarcerated for things as little as fines, while non-Indigenous counterparts receive NON-CUSTODIAL sentences for killing black children.
- Police officers going without any repercussions for brutally murdering Indigenous people in custody.
- How about Indigenous people successfully completing school, university, running a business, representing their people with dignity and pride and keeping their culture alive?
Don’t see those stories on the mainstream media do we? Why?
Because it does not serve the agenda of the powers that be that seek to divide and continue the practice of ethnocentrism that was borne from the church controlling our government (and continues to today).
The government and the justice system are also culpable in the continuation of the racist attitudes that thrive within our society. The government will placate the Indigenous population with token and symbolic gestures but will fail to address the truth of the past, the illegality of the purported settlement and will certainly make no moves to repair the damage of which it is responsible.
Before anyone gets into a flap about the past being the past and the current government not being responsible for past governments, have a think about our tort law system. In our legal system, if someone wrongs another, not only do they receive damages for their loss, but they receive interest on their damages. That is our law and yet, Indigenous people have been overlooked on the issue of damages. In fact, the government has been so consistent in their denials of liability – that they have not even attempted to quantify their responsibility.
The thing is, most people think that the Indigenous people want money, money, money. In truth? Indigenous people want to maintain their connection to land and culture and this cannot be done if the government continues to behave in an underhanded manner, united with mining companies to destroy for profit. This land is not for profit – it is for sustenance of life.
The government is also responsible for the school curriculum which is alarmingly lacking in anything with objectivity when it comes to the Indigenous history of this land and the post-1788 experience for Indigenous Australians. This is something that needs urgent redress and appointing racist curriculum reviewers is the Liberal party’s idea of a review.
The legal system? This is something that enrages me. We have an imperfect system that unfairly targets. We have people within the police force that are intellectually inappropriate and target certain people based on their race, so much so, that racial profiling is an accepted problem within the force. Then we also have those that take their prejudices further by acting upon their racism in the form of racist violence and rather than responding to a CRIME, our system investigates and sweeps such acts of racial violence by authority figures under the rug – thus creating a culture where such behaviour is accepted.
This is not only a problem for the Indigenous population that then intrinsically fears this authority, but it lays waste to the reputation of the law enforcement officers that are genuinely in the job because of their desire to keep ALL of the community safe and treat all with respect and equality.
The legal system? One need only look at the sentencing practices of certain Magistrates to know that personal prejudices play a hefty role in how sentences are handed down. There are also factors such as access to legal representation, quality of that representation and ability of the legal system to address issues of mental health and other physical issues.
Families, particularly parents and grandparents, play a huge role in shaping the society in which we live. The amount of racists walking around spouting their venom? That was learned somewhere and, statistically speaking, it is almost always in the home. Parents and Grandparents that teach children to hate are then unleashing those mongrels onto the world for the rest of us to deal with.
There are many contributing factors for the endemic racism in Australia but the government and legal system, media and families are the most culpable and capable of changing the landscape.
Until they get their shit together, it is going to be up to each and every person that detests prejudice in all forms. Each and every person has a responsibility to call racism out when you see it. To recognise bullshit stereotypes and educate yourselves on the truth and think about what is not being reported on mainstream media because often what is not reported on these pathetic programs is the real news.
Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to not be assholes. It is quite easy:
- Form a view of a person based only on the content of their individual character and actions.
- Realise you are one person with a set of experiences, learning and values that shape who you are and you will never approach an issue the same as another, and that is okay. Our differences are an opportunity to learn, not to perpetuate ethnocentric ideals.
- If someone makes a racist or otherwise prejudiced comment – CALL THEM OUT ON IT. People make these comments because we live in a society where they feel safe to do so because they are the majority – it is time to educate and eradicate these notions of hatred and fear.
Australia’s racism is allowed to flourish because we as a society have elected a government that is fundamentally racist. We as a society have not stamped out racism, we have ignored or denied it to such an extent that it is now eating away at the fabric of decency (however little) that remained in our society.
We do not have a society in Australia, we have an economy. We are expected to be hamsters on a wheel and then consume and then run on the wheel and then consume in the constant cycle without regard to any of the true questions of our lives.
This is why the government, the media and in turn society view Indigenous people as a problem for money to be thrown at and then whinged about when the root problems remain. Fundamentally, Indigenous people are unwanted guests in their own home and that demoralising hurt cannot be cured without understanding, empathy and true understanding of the reparations required to bring about healing; self-determination, treaty and land.
Racism plagues Australia because Australia likes to pretend the past is in the past and that Indigenous people are the 'problem.' Nope - hate to break it to you - the problem lies within the ignorance of the population that sits on their hands and does not demand action from the government to redress the past.
The problem is that there are thousands of people that educate themselves on the history of the country from the likes of Pauline Pantsdown and those Reclaim Australia dickwads and then shout it as gospel.
The problem is that there are people who will rally against mining ONLY when it stands to destroy farmland, but were conspicuously absent from protests when it was destroying Aboriginal land and sites.
The problem is that the past is so vehemently denied that there is no possibility that there will be a bridging of the divide of our peoples.
Racism is not something that us black people have to "ignore," "get over" or "rise above." Nope. It is something that assholes need to be responsible for and need to have consequences befitting a society of 2015.
Until our government pulls its head out of its ass and stops treating citizens like stupid hamsters (and lets face it - a significant portion of the population do a fine impersonation of the government's 'good little consumerist hamsters') - it is up to you and I.
When you see a racist - make it known to them and those in the vicinity that it isn't acceptable. On social media where they are rife, screen shot and go public so people can be made to suffer consequences for their racist comments and rants.
Every little act not only diminishes their platform of hate, but it gives hope to my brothers and sisters in Australia that cop this shit daily. To know that the number of people that have our backs outnumber those that seek to stab us in the back provides us with hope and power that the Australia we are fighting for is already taking shape.
Peace out x