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.
“By putting a whole range of projects together that mark out some kind of broad perimeter that Aboriginality can exist inside of, it’s offering more than a tick-the-box example, or a single way of thinking of our world. We’re pulling Aboriginality out in lots of different directions because we are more diverse. And no one else gets to define who we are. We get to define who we are,” says 2017 festival director Wesley Enoch.
Social media users are perfectly aware that they’re ensconced in a bubble, and prefer it that way. It is a wilful ignorance. Conflicting perspectives, regardless of their substance, are flatly rejected or simply blocked. Self-affirmation is the objective. And in a climate of socioeconomic disenfranchisement and political disaffection, that participation imparts a measure of agency. This is the much vaunted democratising affordance of social media, and a cruel irony.
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….?
What is the ‘best way’ to respond to racism? Not only is there no one answer to that question, the question itself is problematic. The real questions should be ‘how can we stop racism from happening?’