Bennelong Papers

Aboriginal algebra: BVB x BS = Zero

aboriginal landOver the years, when discussing Aboriginal affairs, I have often referred to the Victim Brigade (VB) and been criticised for using that term. That’s fine, I’m not troubled if some VB members take great offence at the label, nor am I disconcerted that daring to disagree with the approved VB narrative opens me to the charge of abetting ‘lateral violence’. Others are confused and don’t, or won’t, grasp my preferred term’s full meaning. This article is for them. So, if you are a VBer and feel an attack of ‘offence’ coming on, I won’t be irked if you leave now and check into your favourite safe space.

Before I continue it is important to distinguish the victim brigade from those Aboriginal people who are true victims. In the book In Black & White: Australians All at the crossroads, I wrote:

Before continuing, let me say I fully acknowledge that there are some Aboriginal people in this country who live in environments that are so toxic and impoverished on most dimensions that it is very difficult for them to even survive without significant outside assistance, let alone fix problems.

In some parts of Australia where there is little chance of meaningful employment, minimal access to basic services, minimal access to fresh and nutritious food, where alcohol abuse is prevalent, and people have known nothing different, then these people are victims of systems and mindsets that are fundamentally toxic. Some communities are victims of an ‘apartheid’ government policy: the Commonwealth refusal to allow leases on Aboriginal lands rules out private property and business enterprise and condemns these Aboriginal people to ‘welfare poison.’[1]

Those described above are true victims and, of course, the VB pay them little attention, except when their lives and predicaments can serve as handy tools for piling blame on the white man. Members of the VB are not victims, though, not as they would have you believe. They know where their next meal is coming from. They live in safe, clean, secure environments and enjoy access to all the amenities you and I and they take for granted.

VBers are easily recognisable and distinguishable. They are likely to be seen at protests amid signs that read “Stop black deaths in custody”. What they and their signs fail to acknowledge is that Aboriginal people in custody are less likely to die than non-Aboriginal people in custody. You also hear them chanting catchy but meaningless slogans — “Sovereignty never ceded”, for example — or claiming to be offended because January 26 is known as Australia Day. The also get upset when a white person wears blackface. They are also likely to tell you they are survivors of ‘genocide’ and targets of government ‘oppression’.

Any Aboriginal person who does not  claim to be a victim of genocide and oppression will be accused of being ‘assimilated’ or a ‘sell out’ or ‘coconut.’ They are likely to show their ‘outrage’ at the death of an Aboriginal person when the white man can be implicated but are noticeably silent about black-on-black murder. The VBers raison d’être is to take offence. They live by the creed: “To be offended is to feel important.” They are perpetually angry about something and anything.

But are they genuinely angry? Yes, they are very angry, but not about the issues they claim to be angry about. They are more likely to be angry over the lack of meaning they perceive their lives not to have. The issues they do claim to be angry about — the death of an Aboriginal person, funding, or a perceived act of racism requiring an Olympic gold medal standard of mental gymnastics to discern, are their excuses to play the victim and express that anger which defines them.

Black US author Shelby Steele puts it neatly in his book White Guilt discussing Black Americans: “In both the best and worst sense of the word, black rage is always a kind of opportunism.” That anger, as it is in the US and here, is simply an opportunity for VB members to grab some benefit. It’s also an opportunity to avoid addressing the genuine problems afflicting Aboriginal people — violence, child abuse, unemployment, unsafe living environments, and dysfunctional remote communities. For the VBer, he or she can simply say “it’s the government’s fault and that justifies my anger with the government.” No realistic appraisal is needed, nor any solutions offered.

I oppose the VBers because their message is poison. Although speaking in regard to the American context, the words of Harry Stein in his book tilted No matter what … they’ll call this book racist, helps provide the answer:

Perpetually focussed on past inequities rather than future possibilities, the victim mindset epitomized by affirmative action not only saps energy and initiative, it justifies the absence of energy and initiative.

Or in the words of Amy Wax when discussing US race relations:

Focusing on the actions of others may sap the determination necessary to achieve difficult internal changes. De-emphasizing or abandoning the elusive quest for racial justice may in fact be a precondition for real progress … The victim must realise that, although others have wronged him, his fate is in his own hands.

More simply, the endless daily messages of doom and gloom from the VB batallions hold Aboriginal people back. If you are black (or even a distant relative of someone who is), why bother getting out of bed if you have been conditioned to believe ‘white privilege,’ ‘white supremacy’ and other vague abstractions are keeping you down? Why would you even try to invest effort and belief in what modern Australia offers when constantly told such participation is the sin of ‘assimilation’ and makes you an accomplice in ‘genocide’?

If there is any doubt as to the doom and gloom messages, consider the rhetoric of 2015 NAIDOC person of the year, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks:

The assimilation process so far has failed, has failed to the extent that people are taking their own lives because they’ve been made to feel second-class; they’ve been made to feel less of a human being then (sic) the rest of Australians.

In the article whence this quote comes, Rosalie does not bother to define ‘assimilation.’ Was she implying that this ‘assimilation’ (whatever it means) is the cause of the suicides? I can’t help wondering if child sexual abuse could be a reason for the suicides?

She is further reported as saying

Aborigines are not native animals and building houses for them is only another attempt to assimilate indigenous Australians into white society.

Is she implying that someone described Aborigines as “native animals?” I wonder if Rosalie lives in a house?

Fortunately there are many Aboriginal Australians who do not buy into the BS of the VB.  They are the type of Australians who, rather than wallowing in fabricated victimhood, go to work, help the broader community and do everything to make this country a better place. They are the ones who want to move hand-in-hand with their non-Aboriginal brothers and sisters. The VBers still attract the majority of headlines and profiles in the media, courtesy of unquestioning reporters, but many others are leaving the VB behind. I am one of them, I guess, but I’m not alone — even if you don’t hear too much about us. But you will.

Anthony Dillon identifies as a part-Aboriginal Australian who is proud of both his Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestries. Originally from Queensland, he now lives in Sydney and is a researcher at the Australian Catholic University. For more, visit

[1] Hughes, H. & Hughes, M. ‘The Denial of Private Property Rights to Aborigines’ (2012).

12 thoughts on “Aboriginal algebra: BVB x BS = Zero

  • ArthurB says:

    Anthony: thanks for an article that, if it had been written by a non-Aborigine, would have caused outrage from the usual suspects.

    Despite the vast amount of money that is spent on Aborigines by the Federal and State governments, the problem is still there, and appears to be getting worse, and more intractable. One undesirable outcome from government policy is the growth of a class of activists, most of them dependent on the government teat who, among other things, are alienating the rest of the nation by their demands for a treaty and constitutional recognition. Also, there is an ever-growing bureaucracy, whose jobs depend on the perpetuation of Aboriginal disadvantage.

    In this country it seems to be impossible to have any meaningful and frank debate about Aboriginal affairs. I note that the USA has a major problem with its Afro-American minority, but at least the Americans are prepared to debate the issue. One of the best American websites I have seen is, it is full of important articles about race relations, and also about the potential consequences of the diminishing proportion of whites in America, a topic that is avoided here. I recommend the site to QoL readers, it is an example of the sort of debate that we should be having.

  • says:

    Good article as usual Anthony.
    Am I right in saying that I saw Alison Anderson interviewed on the ABC news the other night saying that the Government should appolgise to the Aborigines because the “Intervention” had failed? I paraphrase her … I supported the Intervention because of drunkenness violence and child abuse in the communities – but it has been a total failure and achieved nothing.” (?)
    So the Government should appologise?
    Its interesting how Aborigines apparently lack agency to solve any of their own problems but they resent anyone else having a go.

  • says:

    Incidentally, I actually agree with her (Rosalie) on the proposition ” … building houses for them is only another attempt to assimilate indigenous Australians into white society.”

    Thats exactly what it is. But is she seriously suggesting that we shouldn’t build houses for them? I’m up for it if she is, but I imagine there will be a fair bit of squealing from some quarters.

  • says:

    Thank you, Anthony, for consistently telling it like it is. Did I hear right when I accidentally dropped into Q & A on Monday, that the locals were telling the gullible overseas visitor that Indigenous people didn’t have the vote inv1967 ? Thank god, Tony Jones thinks, for gullible overseas visitors.
    Then some bloke on an ABC ad was going on about ‘genocidal poverty’. Great for overseas consumption (and inner-city consumption, roughly the same thing). So what benefits DON’T Indigenous people get that they are entitled to as Australians ? By my crude calculation, every child attracts about $ 10,000 on Family Benefit A and B. Back in 1982, I did an income study of a community where we had lived a decade before: I found that the mean income there was equal to the Australian median income at the time. Rents were roughly 20 % of the national average. Being a left-winger at the time, I found this information devastating; I went over and over the data, which left out odd sources of income and resources such as theft, bundles of clothing from the Salvos, unemployment benefits from other places, and deserted wives’ claims when their husbands were with them, that sort of thing. In that part of Australia, Indigenous people don’t get mining or national park royalties either.

    There are so many lies foisted on gullible foreigners and inner-city types, i.e. those utterly divorced (and determined to stay so) from the realities of Indigenous community life. Thank god for observers and participants like Anthony to set us straight.

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    As far as I am concerned aborigines are Australian and should be treated the same as the rest of us. I abhor the separate flag and the recognise and acknowledgement rubbish before functions. Both the latter serve to divide us.

  • says:

    Anthony you are a breath of fresh air on all this non sense. Until the industry admits it is an aboriginal problem, the white guy is always going to be the target. We can do nothing to stop the abuse in communities we cannot even enter without a permit. We can rescue all the children we like, and they will become the new stolen generation. It is an endless cycle. I was born on Gunditjmura country, my elder brother has taught bush food law to the current elders. I remember the smell of the camp, ell is mu favourite food. Am I aboriginal? According to my DNA, No! But I will continue to do all I can to help, but I will not apologise for the current abuse we have tried so hard to stop.

  • says:

    It is another one of those excellent articlesles from Anthony that makes one feel quite inadequate to make a comment matching the standard of his dialogue.

  • Jody says:

    Last night on Sky I watched a documentary, made 17 years ago, about “the real Bridge on the River Kwai”. I was utterly appalled at the depredations, violence, cruelty, unimaginable suffering, yet strength, heroism and resilience of Australians and other allied POWs. The Japanese were vile and cruel beyond measure. The death rate was huge, the suffering was staggering.

    And my husband said, “people like Abdel Magied and her cohort know nothing about any of this – nor do 2 generations of school children who’ve never been taught history beyond the aboriginal story in this country – so it’s very cheap and easy for them to trash both the ANZAC legacy and our basic freedoms”.

    It makes me wonder whether NOT teaching history has deliberately facilitated and enabled a much more subversive narrative – one that we are now seeing played out.

  • Patrick McCauley says:

    The VB are also – not all Aboriginal …. a large section of white fella sympathisers are also members. Many of the Aboriginal VBers are more Communist’ than they are Aboriginal. There is a confusion between the ‘race’ politics and the “Cultural Marxism’ – the latter of which feeds off ‘class’ wars. The VBers are also usually connected to the trough of govt funding which only admits those who speak the mantra for victimhood. The Frankfurt School has invaded the institution of the Aboriginal Industry and continues to expand its influence and its stated aim for ‘Sovereignty’. Perhaps we would be best served by a retreat ?… in the form of handing over the NT to The Aboriginal Nation – in exchange for all other Native Title … and recognising no special Aboriginal ‘rights’ outside of the NT. Let the Aboriginal flag fly over the NT – set up a permanent Embassy in Canberra … and let the VB form its own revolutionary Parliament and conduct business according to its own principals. We may even be happy to help and support the new Aboriginal Nation provided certain matters of National security could be negotiated.Borders and Visas … could be easily arranged. Current mining , farming and business interests mostly already have agreements with the Aboriginal people. City Aboriginal people and those ‘displaced’ outside their tribal areas would be given a one off funded opportunity to move to the NT … if they wish to continue to be defined by their race.

    • says:

      Patrick, I suspect that all those Indigenous people who want to move from their jobs in the cities, where they probably grew up, to remote ‘communities’, have already done so, including the elites. But as the late anthropologist W. E. H. Stanner noted drily of people coming out of the desert to Missions and stations, not one that he knew of has gone back to a full forager lifestyle. So it is with urban Indigenous people: their lives are in the cities, they are probably infer-married with non-Indigenous people, that’s where their hearts are. They belong in the cities and the cities belong to them, just like other urban people.

      Forty five-odd years ago, I airily believed in a ‘Black State’, somewhere up in the North, but was abruptly put right by two questions: who would leave their own country to live there ? and: whose country would you be on ? Indigenous people have answered both questions by staying put. The separate State proposal is a fantasy that nobody wants to live, if they’re not living it already. And nobody wants to. End of.

      Spinning daydreams is a lot more pleasant than facing cruel realities. Not too many Indigenous people seem to have the courage to face the enormity of those realities, Jacinta Price as a stand-out. May there be many more Jacinta Prices.

  • says:

    Thanks Anthony.

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