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 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?’
All the talk of getting rid of 18C in the Racial Discrimination Act is centred around this idea that it shouldn’t be illegal to offend or insult someone. The conversation usually tries to clear of mentioning that it has to be specifically because of their race, colour, or ethnic origin, and it definitely never goes so far as to examine, or in any way acknowledge, the myriad of exclusions for 18C presented by 18D.
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.
Judging from his latest cartoon and from his lame defence of it, I guess that difficult conversation is about how Aboriginal fathers are all drunks and the myriad of reasons why that’s funny…
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day has been formally celebrated since 1988, when we took to the streets in protest. In truth, Children’s Day has been celebrated in community, in some form or another, for much longer than that.
I’ve been on a major high since being presented with the Australia Council’s Dreaming Award at the National Indigenous Arts Awards in late May. Last Friday, months of feeling seriously pumped at being acknowledged as an Aboriginal music artist came to a screeching halt – after a racist encounter with an Uber driver.
I sat on this one for a while, not sure whether I could bring myself to write about it one more time, or if there was even anything left to say.
I was just 11 years old when the cousin that I loved and adored spent what would be his last night in Tenterfield at our home, laughing and telling jokes and stories, just being everything you could ever want to be when you got older.
I was 11 years old when I walked up that road behind Evelyn’s family and her father, who carried her tiny little white coffin in his arms to her final resting place.