John Robson, a writer for Canada’s National Post has stated “Canadians feel for aboriginals, but our patience for too many insults has limits.” Although we might spell Aboriginals with a capital ‘A’, the situation is pretty much the same here in Australia. When non-Aboriginal Australians are constantly told that they are racist for celebrating Australia Day, or applying black face makeup for a costume party, or bombarded with endless rhetoric like ‘white supremacy’ or ‘white privilege’ then don’t be surprised that some will say to Aboriginal people: “Stuff you!” It shouldn’t be that way, but unless you’re a monk it can be damn hard not to lose some good will some of the time.
Thankfully, it is only a minority of ‘activists’ (both black and white) who have as their life’s goal to promote hate between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, but they are sufficient in number to impair race relations, and this sadly impacts on the Aboriginal people the most. These activists or whinja ninjas as I like to call them, are members of the victim brigade, a topic I have written on before.
Fanning the Flames of Hate
Consider what must be one of the most deplorable examples designed to promote racial hate: A campaign designed to encourage people to expose police harassment by a group calling themselves the National Justice Project. I have no problem with such a program, in principle. They are hoping to raise $40,000. On their webpage they state “Right now Aboriginal people in Australia are being harassed by police. Aggressively stopped, searched, cuffed and manhandled - too often for no good reason.” They further state: “Aboriginal mums, dads and kids face negative interactions with police. Daily.” I wonder what their definition of “negative interactions” is? Break the law and you are sure to have a negative interaction.
I am certainly all for stopping any inappropriate treatment by police against anyone. But how common is it? Perhaps those complaining have been influenced (or brainwashed) by promoters of the Aboriginal deaths in custody myth that believes that Aboriginal people in custody are at greater risk of dying than non-Aboriginal people in custody? If the people behind the National Justice Project were serious about helping Aboriginal people, then they would start a campaign and promote the following message: “Right now Aboriginal people in Australia are being harassed, beaten, raped, and killed by other Aboriginal people.” Given the well documented levels of violence in Aboriginal communities, this is where we should be focusing attention. Perhaps they could do a story on elder abuse where Aboriginal elders have their money taken off them by younger family and community members? (compare this with the Canadian experience)
Consider what ‘Darumbul woman’ and ‘journalist’ Amy McQuire is reported in the National Justice Project article as saying: “it's important that we begin to document all the interactions with police... we can use this as evidence in court.” I certainly agree with the first part of Amy’s rant – document all interactions. But I think she might be in for big shock to find that if she were to express the number of inappropriate interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people as a percentage of all interactions between both groups, then it would be a very small percentage.
But these race hounds love to see racism around every corner. It is so much more convenient than facing the realities of the high rates violence and child abuse in Aboriginal communities. Sometimes the most laboured of interpretations are required to see an event as being racist. Consider Indigenous journalist, Danny Teece-Johnson, who believes he was the victim of racial profiling because he was drug-searched at Sydney's Redfern Station in late 2015. He notes: “I apparently fit the description of someone they are looking for ‘bout my height, brown eyes, shaved head, a beard and brown skin of Aboriginal appearance.” So with that description, who should the police be looking for? Someone who looked like Dolly Parton? Danny notes that the reaction to his post about the search on his personal Facebook page has been “huge – bigger than pretty much anything else I've posted” and then makes the heroic leap to “It shows how much racial profiling affects people.” I think it only shows how many people are keen to see racism everywhere.
For those who delight in promoting your ‘white man is evil and the cause of all our problems’ agenda, here’s an important message for you. While your scheme might be winning you popularity contests, it might also be losing lives. Imagine being a service provider such as a police officer or a hospital staff member. Imagine that being spat on, kicked, sworn at, cursed, or threatened is not a rare event; it’s just all part of the job. Although it is only a minority of Aboriginal people who engage in such behaviour, if it happens enough times, then as a service provider it can affect the way you see members of that group. Imagine that one day you meet an Aboriginal person who needs genuine assistance. Due to past experiences, feeling tired, run down, underpaid, underappreciated, and hearing the 'white man is evil' message, you compromise your usually high standard of service for that one person who requires assistance. Most times you can get away without any harm happening to the person requiring assistance. But occasionally factors combine and the outcome is lethal. That one person then pays the price for the activism of the victim brigade. Could this have happened with Aboriginal woman Miss Dhu?
Injustices do Happen
Lest members of the victim brigade accuse me of ignoring true injustices that happen against Aboriginal people, some comment is warranted. The whinja ninjas love to cherry pick examples to support their cause and justify their fabricated victimhood. Consider Miss Dhu once again. I agree with WA Coroner Rosalinda Fogliani that police and hospital staff were negligent, and their actions contributed to her death. But how common is this? Context is important. Also as I have stated before, surely attention and intervention should have happened long before she came into contact with the health and justice system. Maybe the National Justice Project would be better off investing their $40,000 into preventing domestic violence, given that Miss Dhu’s partner broke her ribs. Her father was reported as testifying that she had told him that her boyfriend had “flogged” her and broken her ribs. How much attention was given to the ethnicity of the partner?
What to do?
Given the problems of violence, child abuse, and neglected elders, surely those issues can be addressed. Before pointing the finger only at police, try looking in your own back yard (many of which are over flowing with garbage, literally) and also clean up there. Certainly hold police accountable to do their jobs properly. But let's focus on the people's accountability also. Predictably, given that I have made some suggestions for what Aboriginal people can do, I will be accused of ‘blaming the victim.’ For such accusers, you are part of the problem. Have your rant and move on.
When I see the winja ninjas and victim brigade members continually painting the white man as evil, combined with the hate they have for those Aboriginal people who dare to speak about topics they are uncomfortable with, then I think that closing the gap will be a very slow process.