Deniers of how bad it really is! What if… But it Still Happens to...

Deniers of how bad it really is for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, they always challenge our opinions with fictitious examples of what could have been and how much worse we could have it. My issue with these people is there lack of knowledge of the ancient peoples of these lands. We traded with ourselves, ochre from the center of Australia made it to the seaside communities across the country, spears from one group of Aboriginal People made it across the country to others. But we didn’t just trade within the shore of our own continent. Trade occurred with Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and all across the Pacific Islands. The Dutch had visited these shores so had China. Yet often I am faced with people making up examples of what would have happened if China had come to invade these shores instead of the English. History proves what China would have done here - trade!

Deniers of what the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People face enjoy pointing out the issues in other countries that they feel are more important than the issues faced by Australia’s First Nations People. Personally, I do not disagree that the issues they raise are important and need immediate resolutions. People like the Uighurs of China need better support that they are receiving, I too feel they deserve the same rights and freedoms as other people in the world. But I disagree with the opinion that these issues are more important and the issues the people of my nations face are undeserving of the same attention or resolutions for the issues faced within our communities.

Denying a race of people they deserve the same rights as another is founded in racism, funnily enough the individuals who try to push one groups problems as more important as another groups issues, are also founded in racism. It is telling a whole race they are unworthy of anything less than the circumstances as those faced by the other group.

These people are attempting to fight racism while conducting themselves in a racist manner, this does not make them better, nor does it assist either of the groups facing injustices.

Australian’s seem to have a deep lack of understanding of what racism is, the general gist is that if your words are derogatory towards an entire race of people then the opinion is founded in racism. Such as Aboriginal people all abuse alcohol - I barely drink myself, not even on birthdays, Christmas or New Years. So to say that all Aboriginal People abuse alcohol is derogatory to those who do not. It would be like saying all old white men are creepy - it is just not true, making it derogatory and therefore racist towards all old white men.

Many times my friends have told me they are not racist some of whom I took the statement with disbelief. Once I tried a bit of a test of a friend, I asked her to play a word game with me and say the first word that came to mind. I mentioned a series of names of different races or groups around the world - When I mentioned Iraq her word was terrorism, when I said Aboriginal her word was alcohol. When I said New Zealand she replied with Haka. When I said America she said Marines. So out of those four, two of the races I mentioned she held derogatory opinions towards - the people of Iraq are not all terrorists, yet some people are so scared of the radicalised individuals that they would rather lock up everyone from that region & throw away the key. Similarly with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders she assumed we were all drunks, when she said the alcohol she looked at me and apologised. She knew full well that I am Aboriginal, and she also knew full well that I do not drink. Yet the first word she thought of when I mentioned my own was the derogatory opinion that we all abuse alcohol. Her apology meant that she realised and completely understood the opinion was founded in racism.

Sadly this is an opinion many hold of the many First Nations People of Australia, but statistically speaking only one in four Australian’ have met an Aboriginal, even fewer call us friends. So where do they get these opinions about us from? Many come from the news, just as many of those people agree the news is rather one sided at times, we only need to look at Murdoch Media and see the lack of support for Climate Change to know that truth. Yet Australian’s blindly jump on board the opinions presented by the News Networks when that opinion is regarding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Why is this? Are Australian’s willing to continue the destruction our past saw at the hands of civilised men? Or is there too much guilt to look and see the truth of a broken people the past caused?

The truth of the opinions so forcefully expressed stem directly from the past of this great country, the opinions of superiority held by the English when they arrived on these shores. Opinions that resulted in laws that made oppression legal, laws that enabled slavery and genocide. Opinions that still reside at the foundation of many individuals in this great country. Opinions that continue to oppress, opinions that continue to cause charm and anguish.

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