From America, a Lesson Unheeded

Seventy years ago, on May 17, 1954, the American Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Brown v Board of Education. The unanimous decision, written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, is authority for the proposition that state-sanctioned segregation of public schools constitutes a violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, according to which no State shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

In its decision, the Court said that education is “the very foundation of good citizenship” and that educational opportunities must be available to all “on equal terms.” The Court then decreed that “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

In doing so, the Court overruled the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine propagated by the now infamous case of Plessy v Ferguson. Homer Plessy, who was of seven-eighths Caucasian and one-eight African blood, purchased a train ticket to travel from New Orleans to Covington. Upon entering a coach reserved for whites, the rail authorities ordered him to sit in the coach reserved for people of colour. He refused to comply with the directive and was subsequently charged with violating a Louisiana statute passed in 1890 which provided for separate but equal facilities for Black people and White people.

The Brown decision effectively rejected government-sponsored apartheid, and not just in educational institutions. As such, it holds particularly important lessons for Australia. Indeed, Australia, by not heeding the lessons of Brown, is trending towards the establishment of apartheid as official government policy, and has embarked on a path that facilitates preferential, and separate, treatment for Indigenous Australians.

In this context, it is useful to remind readers of the failed attempt by the federal Labor government to railroad the entrenchment of the Voice in the Australian Constitution. It is fair to speculate that a successful “Yes” vote would have generated, over time, incessant demands for political power, reparations, land rights, treaties, ‘truth-telling’ commissions, and more. A successful “Yes” result would also have overturned the noble aspirations and achievements of the 1967 referendum, credited for developing a colour-blind society, coupled with an expectation that governments would assist those who needed help to overcome serious handicaps – regardless of race or ethnicity.

However, the defeat of the Voice has not impeded the trend to separateness and preferential treatment of Indigenous Australians. This is because this defeat did not end the grovelling, obsequious, prelude that speakers recite, at the beginning of meetings, paying fake tribute to past, present and emerging tribal ‘elders. Nor will it stop the anodyne Acknowledgment of Country announcements. For example, those who travel on Qantas-operated flights would know that, at the place of destination, an announcer welcomes people to the land of its traditional owners, thereby indicating that their passengers are trespassers on Indigenous land. It is a shameful spectacle that very few travellers take seriously anymore, but it is symptomatic of the general culture that promotes one group of people over others.

Australia needs to implement the principle of political equality, which would ensure that the distribution of burdens and benefits is not determined merely by the race of a person – a characteristic over which people have no control. A genuine attempt to be proud of the achievements of our ancestors, regardless of whether they are Indigenous or Non-Indigenous, should complement this principle. There is thus no need to be ashamed of the contributions made by Australia’s early settlers. In this context, Bella d’Abrera commented that in 1788:

…the British colonists brought with them centuries of ­accumulated knowledge and the basis of our cultural heritage. They brought with them the values of liberty, inquiry, toleration, religious plurality, and economic freedom. They brought with them Christianity, which had positioned the individual as the locus of meaning, sovereignty, and significance. Equality of man, individual dignity and the abolition of slavery were all bequeathed to the world by Christianity and Christian thinkers.

Yet, the repudiation of this principle of political equality continues unabated in Australia. The Aboriginal flag stills flies in the Australian parliament, suggesting parity with the Australian flag, under which Australians fought and died in defending a free society that is rapidly becoming unfree. In this context, Geoff McDonald described in 1982 in his book Red Over Black, that during the Cold War, the KGB supported the victimisation narrative of the Aboriginal ‘industry’. The publisher describes this book as “the chilling and almost unbelievable story of the Marxist manipulation of the Aboriginal land rights movement, told by a man who learned of Communist strategy while in the Communist Party” and “the long-range Communist strategy for the establishment of an Aboriginal republic under Communist control.”

The complete disregard for the people who overwhelmingly voted against the entrenchment of apartheid in the Constitution, when they defeated the Voice, is truly staggering. This is because governments try to do indirectly, what they could not achieve directly because of the defeat of The Voice. For example, in South Australia, where 64.17 per cent of voters rejected the entrenchment of The Voice in the Constitution, the state Labor government has now installed a state Voice, with only a few hundred Indigenous people voting for their representatives. This farce confirms that some people have more voting rights than others, and an expensive administrative structure will surely inhibit the workings of good government. In Victoria, the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s truth-telling inquiry may well have the same effect, and in Western Australia, the Cook Labor government only reluctantly shelved its contentious Aboriginal Heritage legislation, which would have encumbered the agricultural industry and made even small improvements to a person’s property dependent on the permission of an Indigenous quango.

So, the defeat of the Voice proposal is only a small, but crucial, step in the direction of entrenching the principle of political equality in Australia. This is because the relentless pressure for special rights for Indigenous Australians will undoubtedly continue and may even accelerate. Yet, the demonstrable, and justifiable, moral obligation to close the ‘Gap’ will succeed only if a united and prosperous country can fix critical issues such as homelessness, energy security, foreign aggression, and morale.

It is thus time to celebrate the anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, and to appreciate the wisdom of its main lesson, that separate facilities (even if they are equal) violate the principle of political equality.

12 thoughts on “From America, a Lesson Unheeded

  • Podargus says:

    The aboriginal idiocy is only one part of the currently fashionable Loony Left, Witless Woke Wanker trendy thing.
    Having ALP governments federally and in all but one state is at the bottom of the problem but I am not sure that Liberal/National party victories in coming elections will be a sure cure.
    The Liberals in particular have a trendy wet faction which has caused serious problems in the past.

    • STD says:

      Podargus, woke people don’t wank, as it is extremely unbecoming and lacks any semblance of finesse, these days people are transitioning and that type of behaviour is considered wacky. The days of Rod Marsh nicking one to square of leg are long gone. It’s a hazardous position/ pastime as any umpire including the very cheerful Dicky Bird will vouch.

  • David Isaac says:

    If we are to accept such a system it behoves us to ensure that the culture-bearing race, the Anglo-Saxon, retains or regains an absolute majority in the electorate and in representation and that the country should be acknowledged as a homeland for that people. We are at present heading in exactly the opposite direction with a de facto anti-White policy but one which hides its fangs under the guise of anti-racism.

  • Blair says:

    “Indigenous Olympians preparing for Paris have been earmarked for a grant of $5000 each towards training and costs in one of two key initiatives to increase the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands contenders heading to the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane.
    The Australian Olympic Committee is committed to at least a $50,000 cash splurge to help with general expenses for 10 male and female that already have qualified for the Olympics under the new Indigenous Athlete Performance Grants program.”

  • Brian Boru says:

    This comment comes to you from the land of the Boru people, where all are equal and there is no racism. We judge people by what they say and do, not by their colour or who their great, great, great, great grandparent in minute proportion was.

    • STD says:

      It sounds like the Boru people are fine purveyors of equity and connoisseur’s of minute proportions of all things adjectively great and small. I hear by acknowledge the timely contributions of the Boru peoples past present and encouragingly emerging. An indignant reply would be most welcome!

  • Stephen Due says:

    In my random five-minutes samples of ABC Radio while driving, I’ve noticed that some ABC presenters open their sessions brightly with intros such as: “Today’s episode of Women’s Weekly Grievances on Air comes to you from Mumbojumbo Country, the lands of the Neverheardofem People”. Whooppee, I’m so excited (not). If this bizarre practice is going to die, the death will evidently be slow and painful. If it gains momentum, even five-minute samples will be far too long.

    • Another Richard Harrison says:

      When I first learned that I live in a place called Naarm I thought someone had mispronounced the name of an Indian foodstuff. The second time I heard it I thought it was a reference to a country in South-East Asia in which our troops fought 50 or so years ago.

      • Michael Mundy says:

        It was more ‘Nam’ than Naarm’. Pointed out to me by a mate who visited his doctor and was quizzed on his 10 schooner a day drinking regime. The mate told the doctor that it worsened since ‘his time in Nam’. The doctor took on a more sympathetic tone and asked where he had served in Vietnam. The mate responded that it wasn’t Vietnam but Nambucca Heads, where he had been living in a caravan park next to the far too close licenced club.

  • Paul W says:

    If you don’t have Australian nationalism in Australia, you will get a different one taking over instead.

  • Rebekah Meredith says:

    10 May, 2024
    At the risk of taking away from the valid point of this article, I would like to point out that Brown vs. Board of Education may well have done more harm than good. It was one of many decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries, that expanded the power of the federal government beyond what the authors of the U.S. Constitution ever intended. Schools are not mentioned in the American Constitution; therefore, they fall under the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States [i.e., the federal government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
    I do not agree with racial segregation in public schools, and, of course, if states had not allowed it the federal government would not have had the opportunity to interfere–in this case. The decision, however, was part of an endless slippery slope that sees people appealing to the federal government for help. This is not the way the U.S. was set up; state and local governments were supposed to be much more involved with people’s daily lives than was the federal government. That condition has become reversed as the federal government has grown to a gargantuan size, with gargantuan control.
    The 14th Amendment was one of those brought in by the Northern states after the American Civil War–a war which, for all the good that did come from it, did much to crush the states and the rights the Founding Fathers intended them to have. The 14th Amendment has since been stretched well beyond anything that even the most rabid Unionist would ever have dreamed of–such as being used as the “basis” for a “constitutional” right to sodomite “marriage.”

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