Stop calling us divisive – you’re the ones who invaded!

25 Jan 2021

What is with politicians and their love affair with calling Indigenous people's aspirations 'divisive?'

A card ripped in two pieces with

You might have noticed that this year the ABC are giving their staff the option to refer to Invasion Day as either ‘australia Day’ or ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’.

If you understand what words mean then you might have seen this as a fairly inclusive gesture seeing as how it includes multiple perspectives, you know, ‘includes’ – ‘inclusive’.

But according to a variety of conservative politicians and pundits you’d be wrong; divisively wrong!

It’s actually a divisive thing to do because it ‘divides’ people into different camps. Well, not literal ones, like when Indigenous people were forced onto missions and reserves and often used as slave labour, these are metaphorical camps. And okay, it isn’t actually ‘dividing’ them into these camps as they have already existed for decades but still, divisive!

As someone who regularly finds the things I think being labelled as ‘divisive’ I have to admit that I’m rather confused by the inconsistency of how the term is applied.

See, I would’ve thought our political leaders fuelling the animosity between the left and the right would be seen as divisive, but apparently that’s just part of living in a robust democratic society.

Or maybe the people who literally created a society built around the principles of white male supremacy, who literally had ‘Whites Only’ signs and rules and laws well within living memory, which have created a modern society that is still provides disproportionate power to white men. I would’ve thought they were divisive but no, apparently they were all brave men, our founding fathers, who sure maybe they were victims of their time. Sure, not like ‘We’re going to kill you and steal your land’ victims, but victims all the same.

I also would’ve thought it’d be seen as divisive to keep putting up statues honouring the guys who did that but again, nope. That’s just history, even though we are still building statues to honour them today.

The best I can work out, it only constitutes as being ‘divisive’ when it’s something they don’t like – like anything that reflects Indigenous aspirations. You know, a treaty (a country can’t make a treaty with itself!), Constitutionally protected powers (a third chamber!), being allowed to live on traditional homelands while having access to basic services (a lifestyle choice), a football player throwing an imaginary boomerang (it was really scary, okay!), or even just calling Invasion Day ‘Invasion Day’.

australia, I have been told, is the greatest multicultural society on Earth, as well as being the greatest country on Earth, because it is so freedomy.

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion, just to name two, and again, I guess we are just ignoring the Indigenous languages, religious practices, and sacred sites that have been banned, sold, mined, dynamited or otherwise pushed to the brink of extinction. And I guess we are also ignoring how many white people lose their shit whenever someone wants to build a mosque in a rural setting. But I digress…

australia, I have been told, loves these freedoms, and it loves being inclusive.

But the best I can tell is that it thinks being inclusive is everyone doing the same thing even if they don’t want to but that’s not inclusivity, it’s forced assimilation.

Merikio Onus at a protest carrying an Aboriginal flag with the caption "Indigenous people have the right to resist forced assimilation and destruction of their culture"

Article 8 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

And now that I think about it, australia also confuses multiculturalism with assimilation too.


Actually, I’m starting to think ‘freedom’, ‘multiculturalism’, ‘inclusivity’, ‘australian values’ and a bunch of other political catchphrases all usually end up meaning ‘assimilation’.

And anything that threatens australia’s cultural and political hegemony, whether it’s Indigenous aspirations, same sex marriage, having different opinions, or simply telling the truth (about the past or the present), is seen as being divisive.


And football teams, how are they not divisive? Different uniforms, different flags (FLAGS!!!), different anthems. Sounds pretty divisive to me!

Or even worse, different sports – they even have different rules. Everyone should have the same rules! So divisive.


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