Bennelong Papers

When the Facts Fade to Black

Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists and their sympathisers claim to care about all black lives, which prompts me to pose a question: Why are BLMers not protesting when blacks die at the hands of blacks? Instead, during the current eruption of outrage, they focused at first on Aboriginal deaths in custody, which demonstrated what a charade they were staging, given that Aboriginal people are less likely to die in custody than non-Aborigines. Such an inconvenient fact required a change of emphasis, hence the narrative’s switch to claims of systemic police brutality. The method? Cherry-pick examples and ignore context.

Consider a recent article by Australian activist Amy McQuire in the Washington Post. In regard to the alleged racist brutality of police and the justice system, she informs her US audience that “the violence is evident in the wounds on black bodies and in the life stories of Aboriginal people.” Actually, Amy, if it’s the wounds on black bodies you are interested in, I can take you to some remote communities where you will see all the wounded black bodies you want. The perpetrators are mostly Aboriginal, so you wouldn’t be interested in telling Americans about that, not when it is more fun, and wins you more attention, to slander an entire nation in the eyes of a wider world.

In a YouTube clip (below), Amy explains that while non-Aboriginal people regard police as protectors, “for Aboriginal people we see them as the aggravators, as the unjust people, as the people that you need protection from.” Really, Amy? When you speak of ‘Aboriginal people’, are you speaking on behalf of all Aboriginal people?

The stock ‘evidence’ BLM followers share and promote captures police struggling with Aboriginal people, typically with the first few crucial seconds of the clips missing, therefore also absent is the context in which the incidents unfolded. This is cherry-picking enhanced by omission and deceit, but it serves its purpose in promoting the meme that police, all police, are racists from Central Casting. Do you think your message encourages confidence when police assistance is needed — when, for example, a black perpetrator is beating the daylights out of a black victim? Guess what? The police aren’t summoned and there are more of those “wounds on black bodies” that Amy would have the world conclude are inflicted solely by whites.

Here’s a question for the professional protesters: How would you like it if short snippets of recent videos showing Aboriginal people fighting each other were shown on the news each night? Would you be happy for Australia to judge Aboriginal people the way you have judged Australia’s police? Put that shoe on the other foot and you will find it very uncomfortable. Why do they love doing this? Thomas Sowell offers an explanation:

The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer.

Making villains of police officers is a convenient distraction from the appalling rate of black-on-black violence and homicide here in Australia. And, yes, of course complaints of police brutality should be investigated. However, unless you’ve served as a police officer what you consider as ‘brutal’ and ‘unjust’ is most likely very far removed from the truth on the street. A resisting suspect is likely to be pumping adrenaline — the fight-or-flight response — and very aggressive, especially when alcohol and/or drugs are involved. Any police intervention seeking to subdue an aggressive person will likely appear ‘excessive’ to the inexperienced, especially if it is presented out of context as a few seconds of edited footage on social media or the TV news shows which love the argy-bargy much more than they respect truth and context.

Many times I have heard blactivists dismiss high rates of community violence and child abuse with the throwaway  line, ‘Walk a mile in our shoes before you criticise.’ Maybe they should try walking a few yards in the shoes of the police just to see what it’s like. They would likely discover that the last thing police need in pressure situations is some loud-mouth sticking a phone in a police officer’s face while shouting “I’m filming this!”

If they really want to help make things better — which, of course, they don’t — footage of black-on-black violence, of child abuse and community dysfunction would be a catalyst for conversations about the need to address real problems rather than largely notional ones.

Who am I kidding!

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 www.anthonydillon.com.au

3 comments
  • PT

    In the past, “the workers” were invoked by a group of marxists defined mostly they their decidedly non-labouring family backgrounds. Look at the well off nature of Lenin’s family, and above all the wealth of Trotsky’s parents! Stalin was the only genuine “prole” amongst the original Bolshevik politburo, and the reason he was looked down on (and not seen as the threat he clearly was) was largely due to this! Trotsky called him the Party’s greatest mediocrity, presumably because he didn’t have the advantage of Trotsky’s expensive education!

    And back to the original “class based uprising” the French Revolution. Again this was not pushed by the peasants but by what would be called the “bourgeoisie”. In fact when actual peasants revolting against the Directory came onto the Streets of Paris, these worthies sent Napoleon out to clear them away with his “whiff of grapeshot”!

    For various reasons the “left” (with some notable exceptions) have given up on “the workers”, and have looked for another “moral cause” to justify their pet project – which is ultimately to reform the world according to the own will (surely the ultimate imperialist project given their definition of imperialism)! They want to have a “Year Zero”, and pulling down statues and dissolving existing law and custom is outward projection of the ultimate goal. Race is not the aim, merely the justification. Which is why they don’t care to differentiate between true aboriginal traditions and faux ceremonies like the “welcome to country”; and why they specifically avoid a “warts and all” view of aboriginal culture whilst publicly proclaiming they’re for “truth”!

    The truth, as I see it, is that aboriginal people are an excuse, and are exploited as a tool by people whose aims are totally unrelated to the aboriginal experience.

  • Alistair

    Thanks Anthony.
    If you really want to see an genuine example of the racist application of the law in Australia – I think this is the best I’ve see in recent times – From Quadrant Online of course.
    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2019/10/why-alice-cant-get-ahead/
    Of course we all know who the losers are.

  • lhackett01

    Aborigines have much lower employment rates than other Australians due to factors including education, training and skill levels, poorer health, limited market opportunities, some discrimination, and lower levels of job retention. Most of these disadvantages are self-inflicted by those who refuse to send their children to school, who live in self-imposed unhygienic conditions, who live in places where there is no work, and who claim their ancestral culture gives them special privileges. About 44% of Aborigines do not seek work compared with about 27% of non-Aboriginal people and, as ABS data shows, about 39% of working age Aborigines choose to live in remote or very remote regions of Australia where there is no real work or opportunity.
    Note that even the 1991 Commision into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody found no, I repeat ,NO deaths attributed to custodial police or prison personnel. Quoting from the Report, “The investigation into the deaths was extremely thorough. No effort was spared to get to the truth. All contemporary documents were subpoenaed and studied. Relevant people were interviewed wherever possible and in the great majority of instances this, was possible. In many cases postmortem reports were reconsidered by eminent pathologists. Not only the cause of death, but all aspects of custodial care and the orders binding on custodians were critically examined. Hearings were held in public; families of the deceased were represented by legal counsel. All documents were made available to counsel. Reports on the ninety-nine deaths have been delivered to government. At the time of writing almost all have been tabled in parliament and thus made public.
    1.2.2 The conclusions reached in this report will not accord with the expectations of those who anticipated that findings of foul play would be inevitable and frequent. That is not the conclusion which Commissioners reached. As reported in the individual case reports which have been released, Commissioners did not find that the deaths were the product of deliberate violence or brutality by police or prison officers.”
    The Commission noted that Aborigines had a higher rate of alcoholism, gaoling, larger families and lower than average education compared with other Australians. One of the main findings of the Royal Commission was that the high number of deaths of Aboriginal people in prisons was a result of the high rate of imprisonment of Aboriginal Australians rather than different treatment for Aboriginal prisoners.
    Indigenous Australians continue to be over represented in our prisons and make up a high proportion of deaths in custody.
    Data from the 2002 NATSISS show that Indigenous people who had been incarcerated had higher rates of unemployment and lower incomes. Over half (58%) of Indigenous persons who were not still at school and had been incarcerated in the last five years had not completed Year 10, compared with 40% of those who had not been incarcerated in the last five years.
    Aboriginal lives will improve when they stop living off the efforts of other Australians, give up on the myth that they are special because they are descendents of various groups of early Australians, and join with the rest of us in modern Australia.

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