The recent shenanigans around the use of ‘invasion’ instead of ‘settlement’ was annoying on so many levels. Not least of which was the stark reminder of how many Australians just require an inciting ‘green light’ from media to let loose a tirade of hatred and ignorance aimed at Aboriginal people.
It can happen at the drop of a hat, over the most insignificant of events. Even a years old document stating things that have been around for decades can set it off. Never mind that it is not an enforceable document demanding students think and talk in a certain way. Never mind Captain Cook, who wasn’t even mentioned in the document in question, was not the first white person to come to Australia. Never mind that the Australian national ethos can proudly embrace historical criminals who opposed government in the form of bushrangers, but feels threatened by the acknowledgement of Aboriginal resistance fighters. Never mind that the edicts from England which spoke of peaceful negotiations, purchasing land and forming treaties were completely ignored in favour of the myth of Terra Nullius, or that the infamous posters pictorially claiming that both white people and Aboriginal people alike would be hung for killing each other was completely ignored (the only white people to be hanged for killing Aboriginal people was after the Myall Creek Massacre, the only massacre that has entered mainstream Australian consciousness, not because of the horrific nature of the massacre itself, but because of the fact that white people were punished for it). Never mind any of that, because as amateur historian Kyle Sandilands said, “get over it, it’s 200 years ago.”