Changing Things I Cannot Accept

“Black Dolls, Gollywogs and Dictionaries”

A common refrain people of non-European descent hear when we voice offense or concern is “political correctness gone mad”. Somehow nostalgia and tradition have become trump cards for the continued promotion and consumption of racist paraphernalia and vernacular. It’s no wonder then that for a lot of my peers and including myself, it’s easy to fall into a routine cynicism. However this is not the way it has to be, I want to share in this piece, moments of change in 2015, where taking action and reasserting our right to not be dehumanized in public spaces or institutions has resulted in progress. The first experience is a personal one, when I was in a local Darwin chemist and stumbled across this.

Here we go again: Bill Leak isn’t racist, according to Bill Leak.

With the possible exception of members of overt White Supremacist groups it is rare to find anyone who proudly, or even reluctantly, admits they are racist or have committed an act of racism.

Andrew Bolt, according to himself, was actually defending ‘real Aborigines’ when he racially vilified a group of Indigenous people.

Let’s Recognise More Conservative White Men

If there was one thing we needed more of in the discussion on Constitutional Recognition for Indigenous people, it was the centring of the voices of wealthy, conservative white men. The entire discussion on CR has been missing the voices of conservative white men and what they think on a topic which is going to have very little impact on their lives. And no conservative white male voice has been sidelined more on this topic than that of Andrew Bolt. What with his regular News Limited column, his blog, his TV show and his radio appearances, poor Andrew has been struggling for space to elucidate why he thinks Indigenous recognition would be racist. Therefore, I think it’s wonderful that the ABC have sought to rectify this travesty, and have engaged Bolt on their documentary series I Can Change Your Mind About Recognition and give him the platform he’s truly been lacking.

An Open Letter to a Teacher from an Aboriginal Parent, 1977

(Adapted from an open letter, from a parent to a teacher published in the Native Perspective July – August 1977)

Dear Sir/Madam

Before you take charge of the classroom that contains my child, please ask yourself why you are going to teach Aboriginal children.

What is the cost of being ‘Australian’?

The past week has seen a continuation and an escalation of terror. Attacks of terror and counter-attacks of terror have hit numerous countries, leaving hundreds dead, thousands of friends and family members in mourning, and many around the world feeling lost, fearful, hurt, confused, and looking for something, anything, to ‘do’ in response to all of it.

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Cultural Awareness Training Is Not A Punishment, Or A Cure-All For Institutional Racism

By now you could possibly have seen the story about a South Australian cop who called an Aboriginal man a “black c—” and said he would like to “tie the hose around your neck, set you on fire, and drag you around the streets attached to our car with the lights and sirens on.” I say possibly because the story did not get much airtime in the national press and the police officer in question was neither demoted nor fired.

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I’m Not A ‘Proud Australian’

I don’t “feel” Australian. I don’t ever identify as just “Australian”. I don’t sing the anthem. I don’t wave the flag and don’t really care when I see someone burning it. I don’t feel proud on Australia Day. I don’t eat lamb chops. Frankly, I don’t particularly care for the people who do all the aforementioned. Indeed, a good portion of the time, I tend to view them with disdain and frustration.

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Racism: The Painfully Obvious ‘Missing Factor’

Every now and again we hear in media that ‘research has found that racism may play a factor in [insert literally any school, uni course, job, or industry], and then it usually disappears from public discourse for a few months or even years. Sometimes, very rarely though, it flares up into the full blown media circus that is “Is Australia a racist country?”. This quickly leads to various groups of white people in the media attacking anyone who would dare suggest that racism exists in any other form than ‘reverse racism’, which we’re told is a is a very real and serious problem, and not at all a completely farcical circlejerk. They may also tell of us about all of their black friends, and then will usually attack the ‘professional anti-racists’ who rely on ‘playing the race card’ in order to make white people feel various feels…