I am of course talking about political correctness. Are we too politically correct as a nation? Are we too politically correct when we talk about Aboriginal affairs? I think so. There are too many important issues in Aboriginal affairs that I think have been hijacked by the PC gang. Does ‘PC’ stand for ‘Politically Correct’ or ‘Pleasing the Crowd’? Far too often commentators wish to Please the Crowd and avoid talking about the tough issues. And by ‘tough’ I simply means those issues where the Aboriginal people themselves can play a significant role in addressing the problems they face. It is not about blame, it is about solutions.
The PC gang permit us to talk about high incarceration rates, but not high crime rates; youth in trouble with the law, but not about neglectful parents who do not supervise their children; poor health, but not about unhealthy behaviours like smoking and excess alcohol consumption; the basics card, but not about intergenerational welfare dependence; the closing down of Indigenous-run organisations, but not about incompetent or unethical business practices; the government’s role in closing the gap, but not the people’s. I could also mention Aboriginal identity in the list, but won’t in this opinion piece (I already have enough hate mail from people who are insecure about their identity). It is so easy to complain about a symptom, but very difficult to address its underlying cause. To address the underlying cause means accepting responsibility for finding a solution. And isn’t that what self-determination is about?
I cannot help notice that too many Aboriginal people and activists have misplaced passions and priorities. On various social media forums there are many topics that relate to Aboriginal people that get discussed. This can only be good. Some topics stir up more debate than others. What amazes me is that if there is a story about perceived racism, questioning the welcome to country practice, and other topics I would consider trivial, there are sure to be lots of comments. People will tell you how outraged they are and how they as individuals are suffering. However, when a story about child abuse, domestic violence, etc. is posted, there are often very few responses. Why is this? Why is there suddenly silence?
Are there certain issues affecting Aboriginal people that we don’t wish to discuss? Will silence address these issues, or will they continue to fester away. Now for this next statement I make, the PC gang are likely to say something like “So typical of Dillon.” Here goes: if these elephants in the rooms I refer to are ever discussed, it is usually done so in the context of “Well colonisation is to blame for those things” or “It’s the government’s fault.” In other words, we ourselves are not responsible for finding a solution.
Here’s an important question for you people: “When we believe that it is somebody else’s fault that we are in a mess, are we likely to focus on what we can do, or sit and wait for somebody else to fix the problems?” What is the message that is often subtly, and not at times, not so subtly given to Aboriginal people? The main point I wish to make here is that PC prevents people from identifying problems and their underlying causes, and hence finding solutions.