The judicial system in Australia targets Indigenous people more than any other group. Indigenous people are racially profiled, are killed in custody and are more likely to receive custodial sentences than their non-Indigenous counterparts. In fact, Indigenous people in Australia have higher incarceration rates than during apartheid South Africa. We continue to gaol Indigenous people for non-payment of parking fines as a result of mandatory sentencing that was instituted to target this very group of people within society.
What is my identity? And, how do I learn more about it? As an Aboriginal person, what do I want to contribute? What do I want to be known as? What makes me Aboriginal….?
Putting face to the many loving and intact Aboriginal families and engaged and active #IndigenousDads is necessary to reject Leak’s caricature of us, equally we need to find a way to talk about some sad realities beyond the reach of the Bill Leaks of the world and beyond the reach of those who fight with or against him over the top of us.
Australian likes to see itself as the Lucky Country, the land of the fair go, home of the ‘Aussie battler’. We like stories of underdog battling against the odds, even if they don’t always overcome them – Ned Kelly, ANZACs at Gallipoli, the Australian farmer, convicts, bushrangers – these are our national heroes.
These are how many Australians still like to view themselves, even though most Australians today have never farmed the land or even ridden a horse, have never fought in a war (thankfully!), were not sent to Australia in chains, and have never even worn a trashcan on our heads while having a shootout with police.
I was once tapped as ‘young Indigenous leader’, and have been invited to various equivalent programs over the years to talk to the next generation of ‘young leaders’ and it has never really sat that well with me that the opportunities provided to our ‘young leaders’ don’t seem to continue very well after we turn 25. What is the point of focusing on recruitment if there is not a similar focus on retention and promotion?
Me, being all young Indigenous leadery and whatnot.