Ian Hall has a good post up at his blog about this question, sparked by the comments of yet another self-righteous academic who's made a career spouting this kind of garbage. A sample:
"“A key barrier in achieving social justice for Aboriginal people … is the prevalence of racism in Australian society,” said Professor Larissa Behrendt tonight. The author was in Brisbane delivering the Mabo Oration - a speech in honour of Eddie Mabo and the decision by the High Court in 1992 which recognised native title. Prof Behrendt said racism had enabled governments to get away with eroding indigenous rights, including those gained through the Mabo decision. “Studies increasingly show that Australians are resistant to the notion that they are a racist society and resent the use of the term ‘racism’ to describe their attitudes and actions to any sector of the community, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders,” she said."
You bet Australians are "resistant" to the term. They're resistant because it's largely untrue. Not only have they absorbed huge numbers of immigrants since WW2, they've remained a relaxed and friendly people towards anybody prepared to respect their values and customs.
A few blokes ranting about "effing boongs" over a beer in the pub doth not a racist people make. Aborigines work alongside white Australians in all kinds of jobs, without friction and without suffering abuse.
What about the thousands of Australians who work as teachers, health workers, station managers, railway construction workers etc who treat their black workmates with exactly the same respect they treat anyone else? My friend Marc, who comments in Crusader Rabbit has worked in clinics among some extremely violent and dangerous (black) people, yet I've never seen him treat them with anything other than respect and courtesy. Indeed, one of the men he admired most was an old ex-soldier he treated for a long time and formed a close friendship with. That man was black, an old Aboriginal gentleman and a Vietnam vet.
There are thousands of similar stories all over Australia. This bloody academic needs to get out there where the real work is done, get her delicate hands dirty and come back with some facts.
These bastards can build a very comfortable academic career without ever coming in contact with reality. It's time we called them on this bullshit and demanded they produce real evidence for the claims they make.
It may go down well over a Chardonnay at one of your middle-class dinner parties, sweetie, but my message to you is to go get a real fucking job and stop leeching off the taxpayers you slander to further your "career".
Update: My friend Marc just sent me this comment and link:
"Thankfully our old warrior you mention is still going strong. To add weight to your argument it may be interesting to note that Lavarack Barracks in Townsville Queensland has a road and a sports oval named after this honoured (and honourable) gentleman. Is that a sign of a racist society?
(the link is to a story about one of Aboriginal Bill's white friends donating a kidney to him.)