Monday, January 28, 2008

Trapped in the Aboriginal reality show

Trapped in the Aboriginal reality show by Marcia Langton

Please read this article by aboriginal leader, Marcia Langton. It is an extract from a book by her which will be released on February 8th

She details some of the horrors that plague aboriginal communities, horrors that are hard to face but which we must face:
... a four-year-old girl drowned while being raped by a teenager who had been sniffing petrol; two very young children, including a seven-month-old baby, sexually assaulted by adult men while their mothers were elsewhere drinking alcohol. Both children needed surgery for their injuries. Another baby was stabbed twice by a man attempting to kill her mother
She asks why people don't want this information to come out:
Miranda Devine, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, asked: "Why did Tony Jones feel the need to ask Rogers, 'Are you worried that the information itself may be abused by tabloids and racists even, shock jocks - the sort of people who will take information like this and exploit it?' Are there really people so morally confused that they see opposition to the rape of babies as a shock-jock phenomenon?"

The question Devine should have asked was, "Are there really Aboriginal people so morally confused that they see the rape of babies as normal and not warranting any intervention?" I am sad to report that the answer to that question is yes. There are such people, and it is them - rather than snivelling racists or the shock jocks who exploit Aboriginal misery for fame - who undermine attempts to prevent the rape of Aboriginal children and other crimes against our most vulnerable citizens
She condemns the embedded thinking of many Australians towards aboriginal issues:
It seems almost axiomatic to most Australians that Aborigines should be marginalised: poor, sick and forever on the verge of extinction. At the heart of this idea is a belief in the inevitability of our incapability, the acceptance of our "descent into hell". This is part of the cultural and political wrong-headedness that dominates thinking about the role of Aboriginal property rights and economic behaviour in the transition from settler colonialism to modernity.

In this mindset, the potential of an economically empowered, free-thinking, free-speaking Aborigine has been set to one side because it is more interesting to play with the warm, cuddly, cultural Aborigine, the one who is so demoralised that the only available role is as a passive player. The dominance of the "reconciliation and justice" rhetoric in the Australian discourse on Aboriginal issues is a part of this
Australia's shame

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