the proposed removal of some of s18c of the racial discrimination act is most certainly being highly evaluated and analysed to death. i have produced 2 previous posts on the matter and am now moved to do a third. and why? surely after all this time the arguments, both for and against have all been said and/or written. well, yes and no, they have but the subject is such a labyrinthine issue that new issues are raised with every reading or hearing.
the first article below comes from warren mundine and again i totally agree with his argument as put but i do not consider that ‘white australia’ gives a tinker’s cuss for the intricacies of our tribal law/lore on identity or familial identity especially. the white races of this world are much more interested in how much ‘white’ bloodlines are in non-white people than we are. i can only surmise that this brings out a mission-like salvation quest to turn the world citizenry to their own hue. regardless of sense or reason.
we aboriginal peoples have extremely intricate rules and laws on intra-family situations. whilst i have no real knowledge of those familial type agreements and understandings i do know that when i married my papuan ‘mixed- race’ wife, (as she was legally identified by the white long-socked rulers of the time whilst, incidentally, i was merely classified as an australian) i took on an intra-family role with some 3 500 of her ‘one-talks’ as they were called. over many years, even centuries. links had been forged with other papuan families that then became responsible for this large number of relatives. i had familial duties to those designated family members as they did to me. even know though long divorced from my then papuan wife i am still possessed of some of those familial duties to some, but not all, of her ‘one-talks’. and as they have to me. i have included below an article that explores and explains this issue in far greater detail from an aboriginal aspect.
i have long reached the conclusion that the governments of this country do not want to even try to understand our obligations under these family duties as they interfere greatly with their way of doing things. one of the ‘problems’ identified by abbott prior to his prime ministership was the need for the cultural niceties of becoming involved in ‘sorry business’ issues. a day off for a funereal was fine but days, weeks or even longer, no way. your duty was to your employer and not to your family cultural duties, he argued.
last monday i was alerted to the news that george brandis was appearing at the national centre of indigenous excellence (a problem for another time) to launch a reconciliation thingy. the event was an invitation-only event but i, and some few others, went anyway. we followed brandis and his coterie of minders and followers to the smoking ceremony and then inside for the welcome to country (also a problem for another time) and was then introduced to the main event, the launch, by chief judge john pascoe and judge matthew myers and tom calma who informed us that brandis was here to launch the reconciliation action plan (rap) for the federal circuit court of australia.
both judges highlighted the genocidal practice currently again in action of removing aboriginal children from their families. numbers of aboriginal child removals now outnumber those taken during the stolen generations era. these two lads do know what they’re talking about as both work in the family law jurisdiction and they query the need and numbers of those being taken. calma raised the s18c actions and how regressive they would be (at least to one hear-hear) but these matters were not addressed during brandis’s launch speech. brandis was then spirited away for the media’s vent and then left.
the launch of the rap explains that these circuit court judges wished to ‘come down from the bench’ as it were and mix with aboriginal groups, families and individuals in an effort to make justice more easily accessible and available for aboriginal communities. a laudable concept for sure but in a sense one that merely mirrors those 1991 royal commission recommendations. a further discussion back in the 90’s with ernie schmatt of the nsw judicial complaints commission for the need of cross-cultural awareness training for all the judiciary apparently also led nowhere.
a reading of the rap is positive in its actions, responsibilities and deliverables and we hope that they are indeed obtainable. the desired outcomes may succeed due to the fact that the public service honchos are not involved in the process. the other driving factor is that their involvement with aboriginal groups are not just restricted to a bunch of aboriginal ‘noddies’ and sycophants seeking some form of patronage. access must also be given to those aboriginal groups, such as isja, who are able to supply constructive criticisms. this process was once offered to the judiciary relative to the jury system but the judiciary and academia took fright and it never happened. the outcomes must be driven by those who believe in the process of better access and availability for aboriginal families and individuals. hopefully pascoe and myers are up to that role and, more importantly, those that follow them.
but back to brandis and s18c.
whilst public bully-boys like bolt are salivating at the thought of being let off the moral leash i continue to believe that the abbott government wishes to go even further in their racist actions against aboriginal peoples. unless and until the torres strait islands are found to be rich with mineral wealth they are not yet in the focus of the government’s land grab, hence i do not include them here.
when bolt produced his vitriolic attack against ‘white’ aborigines naturally enough there was going to be a legal reply from those named. but it must be remembered that bolt was not found guilty of a racist or hate crime style attack. he was found guilty of getting his ‘facts’ wrong. in his zeal to stamp his twisted views on others, he stuffed up. badly.
bolt and his ilk are nothing but government and socially sanctioned bullies and abbott and brandis want them off the leash to cover their own planned attacks against the traditional owners in the nt especially and all aborigines in general.
as was stated in the pilger documentary, utopia, the government needs to push aside the racial discrimination act only when they want to take racist actions. the tragic farce that is the nt intervention or stronger futures as it is now misnamed is a clear example of these racial attacks. there were no paedophile rings in the communities that were targeted; there were no petrol lords acquiring young boys and girls for sex; there were no porno-lords. it was all lies and nothing but lies.
real politics knows no ethics or morals. it knows only the lust for resources to enrich their own treasury coffers and the profits of the multinationals. all based on lies.
the removal of s18c, whether in part or full will increase the attacks on the minorities in this country. racial, religious, ethnic and sexual attacks will increase to a fever pitch. these verbal and print attacks will be followed by physical attacks against those who are seen to be different or somehow ‘unaustralian’. whatever that ridiculous term means after the politicians have denigrated by using the term to suit their own racist ends.
the pressure on abbott and brandis has caused them to back off a bit by going from total removal to part removal but that is not good enough. is it only a coincidence that these moves are made only by ‘white men’ and is always aimed at what they identify as being ‘the other.’ no legitimate and lawful minority group has shown any interest in supporting the abbott/brandis move, leaving aside such groups as the kkk and other white supremicist looney tunes.
again i applaud mundine, wyatt, calma and others who have raised their collective heads to inform the abbott government of the error of their ways. i also applaud those religious and ethnic groups who also have raised their voices against the changes proposed by brandis.
president indigenous social justice association 2013 Laureate Prix de l’Homme de Francais (French Human Rights Medal 2013)
firstname.lastname@example.org (m) 0450 651 063 (p) 02 9318 0947
we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people
sovereignty treaty social justice
Race act debate misses the point
WARREN MUNDINE The Australian April 01, 2014 12:00AM
I’VE watched the debate over the amendments to section 18C the Racial Discrimination Act with deep frustration. The debate is sucking up oxygen from the important work this government needs to do and threatens the real change it has committed to deliver for indigenous people. And all this to appease Andrew Bolt.
The proposed amendments narrow the definition of racial vilification and introduce a “public discussion” exemption. An exemption so broad that protection from racial vilification might become something only to be enjoyed by people in the privacy of their own home.
The government says the changes are to protect the right to free speech; but at the same time haven’t followed a strict free-speech doctrine. Last week, the Attorney-General said that the laws would still apply to Holocaust denial (although he wouldn’t be drawn on a specific example). This shouldn’t matter if the motivation is to uphold the right to free speech. In America – where free speech is a constitutional right – even Holocaust denial isn’t prohibited.
As it happens, under the new laws people can incite hatred against Jewish people while participating in public discussion of a wide range of subjects. Holocaust deniers will have a wide berth to peddle their misinformation. Evidently, the drafters didn’t manage to find a form of words that would allow Bolt’s comments on the one hand but prevent public hate speech on the other.
Perhaps this is because they don’t appreciate why Bolt’s comments were so offensive to indigenous people.
Bolt was censured under section 18C for accusing named individuals of choosing to identify as Aboriginal for personal and political gain. He believes skin colour and ancestry proportions determine Aboriginality and these individuals did not meet those criteria.
The original inhabitants of Australia didn’t see themselves as an “Aboriginal race”. They were part of hundreds of separate tribal nations. I’m from the Bundjalung nation and also a descendant of the Gumbaynggirr and Yuin peoples.
On my desk there’s a photo of me with my children and my grandchildren. The people in this photo have a range of different skin tones, eye and hair colours. They are all my descendants and therefore they are all Bundjalung. To say that any of them are not Bundjalung would be like saying they are not part of my family.
In modern Western societies, family and nationality/citizenship are different concepts. I vote according to where I live. My nationality is based on birth and/or government recognition of citizenship, not on who my family is. There’s a distinction between the private and the public, family life and civic live.
In Aboriginal tribes, family and nationality/citizenship are the same. Traditional law is centred around the kinship system – a highly developed and complex system of rules that defined your position in the tribe, who you could marry and interact with and even your rights and responsibilities over land and sea. Your tribe is your family and your family is your tribe, despite being thousands of people spread over a wide geography. Some of your aunts and uncles are officially your mothers and fathers, providing a natural welfare system. Others play a role in your ceremony. Under traditional law, there’s no distinction between your family and your nationality, between the private and the public, between familial life and civic life.
Kinship systems have rules for how outsiders fit in. Because traditional law defines everything in the universe, an outsider can’t exist if not brought under traditional law.
European colonisation cut a swath through traditional societies. Aboriginal tribes had to adapt to new situations – having outsiders on their land who were not under traditional laws; being moved off their lands to settlements with other tribal groups; being prohibited from speaking their languages or practising ceremony.
Aboriginal women had children to non-Aboriginal men. Sometimes this was consensual. There were non-Aboriginal men like my Irish great-grandfather who married Aboriginal women and cared for them. There were also many instances where Aboriginal women were raped or pressured into situations they had no control over. Consequently, there have been “light-skinned” people in Aboriginal tribes for nearly as long as there have been Europeans on this continent. Traditional laws don’t define a tribal group’s members by physical appearance.
Having “white” people living in Aboriginal communities was a conundrum for authorities, especially in a segregated society. Governments tried to formally categorise people of indigenous descent based on “blood-quotum”, labelling them with terms like “half caste” and “quadroon”, usually based on appearance.
But Aboriginal tribal groups had defined themselves under traditional laws for thousands of years. We didn’t need government telling us who was in our tribe and who was not; who was in our family and who was not.
Many conservatives mistakenly believe Bolt was prevented from making legitimate comment on whether special benefits are being abused or misdirected. I agree that people should be free to comment and debate on those topics. But they already are. Bolt can talk freely about these issues without breaching section 18C.
Bolt can point out if someone with no indigenous ancestry receives a prize for people of indigenous descent. He can point out if a special benefit for people who are disadvantaged has been given to someone who doesn’t meet the relevant disadvantage test. No breach of section 18C.
Bolt can argue that a prize or benefit for indigenous people should have a disadvantage test, such as means testing or a condition the recipient be from a remote area. No breach of 18C there, either.
He can even argue there should be no prizes, awards or special benefits, whether given by government or the private sector, that are limited to people of particular ethnic or national backgrounds; that all prizes must be open to all people. Even that wouldn’t breach 18C.
However, if Bolt wants to argue that a prize or special benefits for indigenous people should only be awarded to people with dark skin or who are “full blood” then my sympathies end. Because that’s the mentality of the authorities-of-old who purported to define my tribe – my family – by appearance and by blood-quantum.
Since the judgment, Bolt regularly posts photos of indigenous people on his blog who don’t fit his view of what an Aboriginal person should look like with the caption “No Comment” and a statement that his lawyers won’t let him say anything more. Targets of his “No Comment” comment include schoolchildren who visited the Prime Minister and Josephine Cashman, a member of the Indigenous Advisory Council. Given the chance, perhaps he’d post my family photo to his “No Comment” series too.
If the RDA has “hair triggers” that go beyond what’s needed to keep racial vilification at bay, then let’s look at those in a logical and rigorous way. Indigenous and other community groups would be happy to participate in that conversation. I am happy to work with government on that too.
But let’s not cause division and upheaval over one newspaper columnist.
We have real, serious issues to address in this country. Whether Bolt can engage in his particular form of public shaming and bullying of people of indigenous descent is not one of them. And he seems to be doing it just fine, anyway.
Last February, Tony Abbott released the annual Closing The Gap report. It illustrated just how much work we have to do in indigenous communities. It was a sobering day, but also one of hope. Here was a prime minister and a government taking a new approach to indigenous affairs; cutting through the rhetoric and bureaucracy and focused on real, practical change. Such as the government’s Remote School Attendance policy, a community driven program that is designed to relentlessly address chronic truancy in remote indigenous schools.
That same day, the Indigenous Advisory Council first spoke with Mr Abbott and Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion about a radical proposal to divert all juvenile offenders out of detention and into jobs and education, starting with a pilot in Western Australia. They gave the proposal their backing and we are working right now with the WA government to implement it.
And these are just a start. This government has committed itself to making real change for indigenous people through commercial and economic development, through jobs and education. With real change occurring not in a generation, not in a decade, but now.
Let’s not squander that opportunity. Let’s get back to the real issues.
Nyunggai Warren Mundine is the managing director of Nyungga Black, executive chairman of the Australian indigenous Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.
The Stringer But You Don’t Look Aboriginal
by Defender of the Faith April 1st, 2014
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are denying that I am Aboriginal. To deny that I am Aboriginal is to deny that my grandmother was taken by welfare because she was Aboriginal, by the dictates of past government policies. To deny that she was taken because she was Aboriginal is to deny that past policies attempted genocide of Aboriginal people. To deny that the government’s objective was genocide is to deny that the government is responsible for the widespread decimation of Aboriginal language, traditions, land rights and intact family trees today. To deny that there is no widespread crises of identity within Aboriginal individuals, families, communities – and indeed our entire country – is to deny our lived reality. And when you deny our reality, you deny us our humanity. And so when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, it goes much further than just skin-deep.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, it says much to me about your level of misunderstanding and your adherence to the tenets of the obsolete pseudo-science that is biological race theory. Your individual ignorance is however, symptomatic of a widespread pandemic, where these beliefs are not systematically dismantled in the education system from a young age, thereby perpetuating the dominant white-male-heterosexual-Christian-dual binary values that are normalised and exude from the hidden curriculum. And so when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you’re not entirely to blame; the weight of such culpability is much too much for an individual to bear.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are nevertheless still guilty of perpetuating violence control through your embodiment of racist values. You are acting as a vehicle for oppression, an agent of history and part of the framework that continues the legacies of past assimilation policies. Does this come as a shock to you? Are you in denial? This is where the recognition of your privilege must come into play on your part. You must locate your beliefs in the historical and spacial continuum of oppression, and only then will you realise how you are an agent, acting out this culture. Conversely, you will then be responsible to be an agent of change. With knowledge comes responsibility, because education without action does nothing. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you’re not getting off that easily with a seemingly innocuous comment; ignorance does not equal innocence, and I’m going to take this as an opportunity to do my responsibility.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are implicitly perpetuating harmful stereotypes. Prevalent misperceptions and misconceptions of Aboriginal people include that we are lazy, drunk, dole-bludging, violent, sneaky and uneducated [sorry, I couldn’t think of any good ones that I’ve encountered in my whole life; not my fault]. When you compliment me for not embodying any of these negative stereotypes, and upholding me as the paragon of black virtues because of my perceived whiteness, you are reinforcing these stereotypes of what all “real”, “authentic” Aboriginal people are like. By telling me I’m the exception to the rule you are reinforcing the rules. You are promulgating a colonial hangover of media-created deficiencies. You are telling me that I’m inauthentic and you are telling yourself everything that centuries of racist politicians, scientists, missionaries and journalists have told you is the truth. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are deluding yourself with the very tools they created to oppress us.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, and you grill me about the whyfores and how-sos I have the gall to identify as such, you are being invasive and rude. By believing you are entitled to know the minutiae of my family tree, you are presuming that your sense of entitlement takes precedence over my personal boundaries. But not so. When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, and you drill me with your intrusive eyes and prod me with your blunt questions, you are telling me that you do not respect me.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, and add that I ‘mustn’t have much’ in me, or enquiring after my caste and blood percentage, you are attempting to reduce over 40 000 years of deep and vibrant culture to a quantifiable measure; over two hundred years of survival and resilience against colonialism, attempted genocide and ongoing assimilation to a drop of blood; my own nearly thirty years of lived culture in family and community to a miniscule section of mammoth lengths of DNA. You are reducing who I am in flux and flow to an immutable, graspable number for ease of understanding, to further reduce and divide the entirety of me and mine. By continuing to ask how much I have in me, after not getting the hint to drop this line of eugenic economic interrogation, ‘what part?’, ‘what caste?’, you continue to ignore the fact that it just doesn’t work that way. That despite centuries of imposed definitions that sought to variously segregate and assimilate us, to provide a solution as though we were a problem to be solved, that tried to cut us down enough so that we would fit into their constricting frameworks, you do not hear the truth that I just am. Not half of me, nor a quarter, or one seventy-eighth; not my head or my heart or my left arm or right pinkie toe; not my eyes or hair, not tooth or nail. I just am. All of me, all the time. Always was and always will be. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’ you are attempting to reduce the entirety of my identity and relationships and activism to one single moment, now, where you want the answer that I will never give you the satisfaction of giving you. You will never cut me down to size.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, and add that I am too pretty, my features too fine, my height too wonderful, my feminised body too elegant, you are telling me that you believe all other Aboriginal women to be ugly. You are saying that my Mum and my grandmother, my Aunties, my cousins, friends, nieces and my unborn daughter are all ugly. Not just different by the narrow standards of the male gaze of the white beauty industry, but actually unattractive, fullstop, done. How then could you explain all of our non-Indigenous fathers? Lovers? One-night stands? Here I will acknowledge the fact that rape has been a reality for us the last couple of centuries. However, this does not explain the many healthy mixed race relationships, or even the unhealthy fetishisation of black women. You are ignoring the reality that black women have always been desirable to non-Indigenous men and women. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are not only saying that desirable black women are not authentic black women, you are also saying that only non-Indigenous women are allowed to be beautiful.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, that I look more Lebanese, or Italian, or Spanish, or Croatian, or whatever, you are reducing what it means to be Aboriginal in all its gorgeous complexity to an essential list of clinical physical features, to a cold and simple checklist for cookie-cutter authenticity. Not only is this sheerly stupid because of the evidence that Aboriginal people today come in all shapes and sizes, with an astonishing diversity of facial features and skin colours; to discount certain items off the checklist in favour of other items is to racialise our bodies, to racialise our very beings. By subscribing to the Dulux colour-card myth of Aboriginality, you are continuing the work of past welfare and government institutions who held colour swatches up to the skin of black babies before they ripped them from their mothers’ arms. They grouped these babies according to tone, often separating siblings by this completely arbitrary division that could change seasonally with the strength of the sun. Further to this unpredictability, it was an actual division in many cases where sister and brother were physically separated not only from their mother, but also from each other. This was the case with my grandmother, who was taken from her Aboriginal mother at the age of four, along with her seven-month-old brother, never for any of them to see each other ever again. Yes, they took their heartbreak to their graves. So for me and mine, colour is not just an objective judgement of a visual hue, it has a crushing historical weight that has crippled all of my family members, each in their own way. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, this shameful historical legacy reaches to me from the past to haunt me to this very day.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, my deep-running empathy and over-active imagination come into play. I imagine and feel what this would have meant to me if I had been born one hundred, eighty, sixty, or even forty years ago. And I consider myself lucky that I was born in the year of Orwell’s hell, although my Mum still did instill in us her very deep fear of the welfare, so that we knew how to perform for society and never draw attention to ourselves. Because growing up as we did, with a single Aboriginal mother, if we had not performed well and hidden ourselves, if we had been born ten years earlier, there is a statistical probability that we would have been taken too. Do not misunderstand me; we were very much loved and always supported. We weren’t abused and we were never in danger, however we never had any money and poverty is criminal in the eyes of the welfare. Furthermore, traumatic events necessitated that we move far away from our extended family – my Mum’s only support network – and begin to integrate into a completely disconnected community who thankfully very soon took us in. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’ you are telling me how lucky I am to have been born when I was.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, I imagine that you are the welfare with the authority of government policies behind your words, and that you have the power to take me from my mother and my brothers. And in a way, you have, because I step back in time to the known story of my grandmother’s life. My grandmother, who never knew me, walks beside me every day in the only form I’ve ever known her. I look very much like her, and it’s not just her beautiful features that have left their mark on me. Her entire life-story haunts mine, and I continue to try to make sense of myself in the context of her struggles. She walks inside me every day and I have an ongoing relationship with her. I have an obligation to ensure that what she suffered through is known, and also that it stops. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you have taken me away from my family and into her life.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, I feel, viscerally, my grandmother’s pain; I panic in the knowledge that I will never see my mother again, that every letter I write to her will not receive an answer. That instead of the girl’s home guardians telling me the truth that they are not passing her replies on to me, they instead tell me that she has forgotten about me and that she doesn’t love me. I am paralysed by the knowledge that my mother will not be there when I am sick, when I need her to love me. I will never hear her voice again, nor smell her skin, or have her kiss me goodnight. Ever, ever again, forever, never. Never. She will never pass on parenting practises to me, and the adults I have as parent figures are in turn abusive, cold and transient; all unloving. These early role models imprint on me and my first escape from them is straight into the arms and wedlock of a man with an uncanny resemblance to my early caregivers. My mother will not be there when I get married, when I am in labour, when I am sick, and when I die too young. She will not be there for my children, when I need her to love them. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you have taken my mother from me. You have taken my world from me.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, my breath catches, knowing that if not for the grace of my being born when I was, that I would never see my brothers again. As we five, joined to each other through our Mum, and glued to each other through our close upbringing, some of us have different Dads, creating a beautiful diversity within our obvious similarities. But that because we have different skin colours, body types, nose shapes and eye colours, we would not be deemed similar enough in the eyes of the law to remain together as would support our basic human dignity. That some of us would grow up in cold hard institutions, trained for domestic or menial labour according to gender, yet regardless of gender as befits our darker skin. That the others would be adopted into a white family to become their chattel, neglecting to nourish our connection to our true culture; denying us our rightful inheritance, severing who we are from who they want us to be, and therefore butchering our very being. Placed far apart, names changed and changed and changed again, we would never even know where to start looking for each other, and so we would all live out the rest of our lives as only, lonely children. So when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are tearing me from my big and little, but all strong brothers. You are dictating that we have different worth and different levels of usefulness according to your cold and convenient colour-coordinated doctrine.
When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are alerting me to the fact that if left unchecked and uncorrected, you will repeat this comment to others, maybe others who are less resilient or strong in their identity than I am. Perhaps young children, maybe of my blood or maybe not. Perhaps one day my own daughter. Probably, you will impress upon your own children that this comment is okay, mayhaps they will continue this legacy. I do hope you might leave that in the past where it belongs. I also hope you might get with the times. When you comment, I wonder who you are and what power you wield in the world, and what influence you have on Aboriginal people. Are you a social worker, a teacher, a doctor, a cop? A football coach, a journalist? A shop assistant, an employer? A real estate agent, a model scout? An anthropologist, an art dealer, a miner, a farmer? A magistrate, a screw? Or are you just the average busybody, keeping the hard-to-kill-but-not-yet-obsolete White Australia policy alive and well? Whoever you are, do you have the power to invoke feelings of shyness, shame and inadequacy in our young black kids? Or even our Elders? So, when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’ you make me wonder whether you can change your position, change your course, catalyse reconciliation and continue on as an embodiment of alliance, acceptance, validation, respect and healing that our cultures have so sorely missed from you.
– Defender Of The Faith, 24th March, 2014
I highlight this because I’ve heard it said that recognition and identity is only a “small issue” compared with the health, housing, education, employment, and criminal justice statistics that describe our situation today. I first point this out to demonstrate how imposed definitions blatantly attempted our genocide in the past, and I further point this out because this attempted genocide is absolutely, unequivocally responsible for our fourth-world socio-economic status that we live through today. Finally, I point this out because our current low life expectancy, high infant mortality rate, incarceration and deaths in custody ratio, and child removal rates – that far surpass Stolen Generations rates – tell the tale. These facts and figures speak to a government who still do not care. Although they have changed the terminology and phrasing of their policies, the effects of their actions and interference is ongoing, yet with even worse outcomes than at the times the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths and Custody, and the Bringing Them Home report, were published.
I wrote this for the people who still come up against this, in the hopes that they can more deeply understand why it’s not appropriate, and maybe get some new angles on their reactions. I especially wrote this for the parents of black kids: the Indigenous parents who may also know what it’s like, and the non-Indigenous parents who might not know on a personal level. I wrote it for all the parents who want to defend our black babies, so that they know what to say, but more importantly, so that they can instill the pride in their kids that my Mum instilled in me – pride so that they can be resilient and not buy into out-dated myths.
However, I addressed this to non-Indigenous people who do this, who might be setting a bad example for their own kids to follow in their footsteps. I addressed this to those people who might be making our kids feel angry and hurt and defensive, for all those who have made me and mine feel this way, and for those who still attempt to. So whether you intend to belittle us or not, you can recognise where you are located in the continuum of oppression, and hopefully make the decision that racism stops with you, to become our allies instead of remaining as obstacles in allowing our babies, and even ourselves, to feel as valued and strong as we should. As we must.