I have for many months heard the criticisms thrown at Jacinta Price and have decided to respond. A response hardly seems necessary given that her critics only have slanderous attacks; they do not critically address her opinions and what she stands for. Most of what Jacinta talks about, others have spoken about in the past, yet she sees to be the one copping it. Why? Is it because she speaks from first-hand experience? Is it because she is female? We welcome criticisms of Jacinta, but not personal attacks, rants, and lies. If that’s your style, then you belong with the ABC and SBS.
The expression ‘The ears won’t hear what the heart can’t accept’ was attributed to Albert Einstein. It is highly applicable for many Aboriginal people around the country who oppose the words of Jacinta Price. For her national tour, there were reports of one group of ‘elders’ telling her that she needed the permission of local Aboriginal people to speak in their town. Should we take them seriously? Do they believe they are upholding some valued Aboriginal tradition? For her Brisbane talk, we see one infant-like sook in her audience rant and rave like a spoilt child.
I’m not here to defend Jacinta from the attacks of her critics, as she doesn’t need defending, particularly against something that only makes her laugh. What I will do is discuss what it is that Jacinta says that so many of her Aboriginal ‘brothers and sisters’ are afraid to hear? I attended her speaking engagement in Sydney recently, so have a fair idea of what her critics are so threatened by.
For those who are used to hearing the city version of Aboriginal culture, Jacinta smashes a few myths. She talks about her family’s ancestry. She is proud of both her non-Aboriginal father’s ancestry and her Aboriginal mother’s ancestry and identifies as having mixed heritage. This immediately makes her a target by many Aboriginal activists who believe you can only be Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal—why is it that in an age where there are purported to be more than 50 genders, people can only be Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal? Their worldview does not allow for people like Jacinta or myself, who are honest about their ancestry and proud to call themselves part-Aboriginal. Interestingly, many of these activists have very minimal Aboriginal ancestry themselves.
So what else do Jacinta’s critics not like about her?; her views on Aboriginal culture. As an academic, who sees what is circulated around universities about Aboriginal culture, Jacinta is a breath of fresh air. What I see in universities and the public domain more generally, is what Jacinta’s mother (and my Aboriginal sister) Bess, calls Disneyland culture. Proponents of the Disneyland culture would have you believe that all Aboriginal people are wonderful story tellers, have a unique connection with the land, are deeply spiritual, and their ‘sovereignty was never ceded’ (whatever that means).
Traditional Aboriginal culture, like all cultures, has many beautiful aspects to it; and like all other cultures, Aboriginal culture has many not-so-nice aspects about it. It is on this matter that Jacinta receives much criticism. For those who believe that traditional Aborigines lived a peaceful happy existence which was ruined by the arrival (or invasion if you prefer), Jacinta is enemy number one.
Jacinta explains the complex Aboriginal kinship from her part of the world (Central Australia) beautifully. Contrast that with some of the city-based Aboriginal cultural advisers who teach you the local Aboriginal word for river, and the ‘correct’ way for doing a welcome to country speech—should we be surprised that closing the gap is very slow?
Jacinta speaks openly on the serious problems facing Aboriginal people today, and it is this that she is perhaps most heavily criticised. But does Jacinta have the right to talk about Aboriginal issues outside of central Australia? Yes she does, because these Aboriginal people are Australians, and that makes it everybody’s business, even though some activists may try and tell you otherwise.
Many of you would be familiar with these problems; they include violence, child abuse, and putrid living conditions. Contrast this with the problems described by the left-leaning media such as Australia Day celebrations, assumed rampant racism, and transgenerational trauma, and it is easy to see why the luvvies of the left claim “Jacinta does not talk for us.” On that matter, I can't recall any other Aboriginal person in this country have that claim made about ("He/she does not talk for us"). Am I to assume then, that every other Aboriginal person who who has a platform does speak for Jacinta's critics.
Jacinta’s talk abandoned political correctness. She has lost far too many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins die too early to play the PC game. Political correctness, I believe is killing Aboriginal people faster than drugs and alcohol.
There is a film currently doing the rounds that focuses on alleged racism against an Aboriginal footballer which has a few of the bleeding hearts praising it. However, I think a film of Jacinta’s talk sponsored by True Arrow should be made available to the public. If there was such a film, would your heart allow your ears to hear it?
See Chris Kenny’s excellent article here for further discussion.