Australia should do more for Aborigines? If so how?
The self-righteous bleat below is an editorial from the Left-leaning Melbourne "Age". It exhibits all the brains of a flea. It shows no awareness of Aboriginal life or of the unending stream of government efforts that have been made to better the lot of Aborigines. I would be surprised if the writer had ever set foot in a black's camp. I have. I grew up with Aborigines around the place. They were in my Primary school and down the end of the street where I lived.
So the writer below has only his self-righteousness to put forward. He puts forward not a single suggestion about what to do to help Aborigines. He doesn't know what has happened and has no idea what should happen. He is just a brainless Leftist fool
The best he can do is end up with an unsubstantiated accusation. He speaks of "The disadvantage foisted on Indigenous Australians by ignorance or prejudice." Where is his evidence that the poor situation of Aborigines is due to "ignorance or prejudice". He has none. It's just a verbal fart.
There are many ethnic groups in Australia and many of them came here when there was indeed prejudice against them. My mother's father told her when she was young that he would cut her off if she married an Italian. So did that hold Italians back? Hardly. Not long ago, Australia's most populous State -- NSW -- was run by second generation Italians and Greeks -- the Iemma administration. And they were put there by the NSW voters.
And note that most Italians who migrated to Australia in the early to mid 20th century were poor peasant people trying to escape poverty. They were by most criteria very "disadvantaged" people. But they thrived in Australia, as they did in the USA. In one generation they leapt to prosperity.
And look at the Jews. Can any group ever have been more hated than the Jews? If you want to talk about prejudice and discrimination, look at the experience of the Jews. Yet Jews ride high wherever they are. Israel even prospers despite constant attacks on it by Muslims.
Plainly, there is no systematic disadvantage inflicted on anyone by prejudice and discrimination. One could more plausibly argue that it spurs people on to a high level of achievement.
So our brainless Lefty editor is plain WRONG in his explanation of Aboriginal backwardness. That leaves Aborigines responsible for themselves. Self-responsibility? What a horrible thought to a Leftist! The State is their solution to everything.
Over 40,000 years, Aborigines evolved to lead a hunter-gatherer life and they are superbly adapted to that life. They are NOT however adapted to modern life and nothing will make them that. There are however some ways that they can be helped.
I see it in the contrast between elderly Aborigines and young Aborigines. The older ones are much better adapted to white society. They lead reasonably clean, orderly and sober lives while the young ones are plagued by every conceivable problem. Why? Because when the older ones were growing up, the Aboriginal settlements were run by missionaries. And Aborigines are a very spiritual people so religion has a big effect on them. It gave the missionaries the leverage to teach Aborigines habits that would be to their advantage.
But there is no political will to bring back the missionaries so is there anything else to be done? Just about everything that could be tried has been tried by successive State and Federal governments of all political stripes so there is really only one possibility left: Better policing.
The casual violence towards women and children by Aboriginal males is horrific. I have seen it. But if the women had somewhere to run to in their settlements, many could escape that violence. Most settlements already have a police presence but it is woefully inadequate. More cops are what is needed but I am quite sure that would not suit our brainless Leftist editor. Where would he get a warm glow out of that?
If you are yet to take the 8½ minutes to watch journalist Stan Grant speak on the topic of "racism destroying the Australian dream," make the time. His words are searing, a much-needed jolt to national complacency towards Aboriginal Australia, and a powerful statement of reality, both historical and present day.
But more than words, the accompanying passion – Grant's face and tone deeply imbued with sorrow, anger, hope and regret from personal experience as an Indigenous man – points to the emotional toll of unfinished business on the first people of this country. We must all strive to better acknowledge this suffering, even if it remains a lived experience most people can never truly understand.
Grant's speech, delivered in October, won prominence last week when released as an online video during a traditional time of introspection, both for the community and in our personal lives.
The new year is often a moment when people choose to take stock of goals, to resolve a fresh beginning, or rededicate themselves to cherished dreams. The symbols of nationhood are put on overt display just as languid summer weeks are about to be swamped by the reality of busy lives. As if to warm up dozing political muscles, we have developed a habit of adorning Australia Day with a ritual debate about changing the flag and becoming a republic.
But Grant's speech challenges the country to do more. Much more. His is a reminder that the personal and national experience is deeply intertwined for Indigenous Australians. The "Invasion Day" protests to mark the anniversary of the arrival of white settlers are illustrative, but cannot alone convey the discrimination felt each and every day in the Indigenous community.
"My people die young in this country," Grant reminds us. "We die 10 years younger than average Australians and we are far from free. We are fewer than 3 per cent of the Australian population and yet we are 25 per cent, a quarter of those Australians locked up in our prisons .hs.hs. If you are a juvenile, it is worse, it is 50 per cent."
Statistics that alone are distressing, but in what stands as a national shame, Grant observes "an Indigenous child is more likely to be locked up in prison than they are to finish high school." What a indictment on the supposed ethos of a fair go.
Australia can do and must do better. The steep difference in Victoria, where Indigenous children are more than 12 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be placed in state care is another indicator of woeful disadvantage. We have become far too comfortable with pledges to "close the gap" that the action necessary to make this a reality is rarely a priority.
Complacency also marks our debate about the place of Indigenous culture in our national story. We have become fixated on a slogan, "recognition", too often ignoring the concepts many Aborigines would prefer be debated, such as "self-determination", "sovereignty" and "treaty".
It is not that the proposal to change the constitution to acknowledge Indigenous culture is without merit. But the country must properly decide what such a change is meant to achieve. Megan Davis, a legal professor and member of the Prime Minister's Expert Panel on recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution, has warned the idea has become mired in "bipartisan stage-managed process". We should be aspiring to more than piecemeal reform, but justice.
Like Grant's speech, Davis' essay "Listening but not hearing", published in the latest edition of Griffith Review, is a further reminder the country can grow from a frank, and importantly, inclusive debate about the life of Indigenous Australians. The disadvantage foisted on Indigenous Australians by ignorance or prejudice is holding the nation back. To do better, the voices of the Aboriginal community must be listened to, and heard.