Five Questions with Luke Pearson

Luke Pearson was Indigenous X host from December 27, 2013 to January 3, 2014.

Five questions to Luke

My name is Luke Pearson, I am a Gamilaroi man and I the creator of @IndigenousX. I am also an education consultant, public speaker, writer, digital strategist, and various other things from time to time.
I’ll mostly be talking about whatever random thought crosses my mind (it is Twitter after all!), but I do plan to focus on a few key topics during the week as well. By far the most important thing I’ll be talking about this week is the latest IndigenousX campaign at Start Some Good, being run by Culture Is Life.
I find inspiration and motivation from a wide range of people from own life and from history. My father was a very important role model in my life and in his own way helped me to set high expectations for myself, to stand on my own two feet and to not take crap. My mother is pretty cool too, and provides me a lot of hard earned insight and experience, and always offers her support and sound advice. My two older brothers have taught me the importance of loyalty, and it is great to know that no matter what happens in life they will both always be in my corner.

Twitter has also been great in letting me connect with a wide range of very deadly and amazingly inspirational people online, many of whom have been kind enough to host @IndigenousX in the past or have promised to in 2014.

Education is one of my greatest passions, in particular the education we provide to Indigenous students, and the education we provide to all students about Indigenous Australia. These are both crucially important, and complementary, issues. One can help to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth a range of opportunities that are otherwise inaccessible, and the other can help combat the misinformation about Indigenous peoples that is so rife in this country. This misinformation creates additional barriers as it perpetuates ignorance and animosity and is used to not only justify the conditions faced by many Indigenous people, but has even gone to the ludicrous extreme where many Australians now believe that Indigenous people are actually a privileged group in our society. This misinformation includes a wide range of racist stereotypes and ranges from beliefs regarding our “special treatment”, work ethic, cultural values and identity, right through to old school scientific racism about “educational capacity”, “primitive cultures”, and perceived character traits justified through grossly inaccurate genetic theories.

Schools are actually already obligated to ensure adequate educational opportunities for Indigenous students, to educate all Australians about Indigenous Australia, and to eliminate racial discrimination – including direct and indirect racism, racial vilification and harassment by their own policies, but unfortunately many teachers, administrators and executives do not feel adequately trained, resourced and/or supported to achieve it.

This is core business for educators, but is a far cry from the narrative told in the media largely by politicians, which speaks exclusively of parental responsibility for school attendance as being the sole factor for a history of lower educational outcomes for Aboriginal students.

Justice. There can be no reconciliation without justice. Protection against racial vilification which upholds freedom of speech as well as freedom from racial vilification (much like the protection we already have, at time of print at least) is probably a good idea too.

Might even be worth having a go at implementing a few of the evidence based recommendations that have been consistently appearing in reports like the Bringing Them Home report, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and the Little Children are Sacred report for the last few decades, and which will continue to appear in similar reports for the foreseeable future. Considering that incarceration rates and child removal rates keep going up, it seems somewhat odd that no one in power has tried that already at any point in the past 40 years. Especially since it is applicable to health, housing, education, employment, incarceration, land rights, and self determination and is backed by research, evidence, community consultation, international examples, our human rights obligations, and common sense.

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