Bennelong Papers

A Moral Duty in Black and White

It was four years ago this week that The Australian published a cartoon by the late and great Bill Leak, who was reminding us of the sad state far too many Aboriginal children are in. It was also four years ago today that some sectors of the public erupted in look-at-me ‘outrage’ over what they insisted was a “racist depiction” of Aboriginal people. They were never able to explain just why it was racist, leaving observers of the rational kind to conclude that any depiction of Aborigines by the wrong sort of person — a realist in Bill’s case — is by definition an exercise in stereotyping and intolerance and all the other venomous tags they toss about on Twitter. But even a casual follower of current events would know that Bill’s cartoon reflected reality then, as it still does today: The grim and simple truth: Aboriginal kids are vastly more likely to suffer neglect and abuse than non-Aboriginal children.

Other than saying that any accusation of Bill being racist is ridiculous, I won’t make this article about Bill, as he would not want us to do that. I know this for a fact because Bill and I spent much time talking about the injustices facing Aboriginal people, and he was deeply concerned for their plight.

Nobody is suggesting that all Aboriginal children are neglected or abused. Nor is anyone suggesting that it is only Aboriginal children who suffer. I need to say this, because past experience has shown that whenever the topic of neglect and abuse of Aboriginal children is raised, blacktivists and social justice warriors shout “But it’s in every community, so stop singling us out.”

My reply is that diabetes is in every community too, but nobody would deny that it affects Aboriginal people more than the general population. Interestingly, I’ve never encounted a critic who gets defensive when they are reminded that Aboriginal people are more likely to have diabetes than non-Aboriginal people. When Bill’s cartoon was published, the twitterverse was full of images of Aboriginal fathers with captions of “I’m Aboriginal, and I care for my kids.” I’ve never see images with captions of “I’m Aboriginal, and I don‘t have diabetes.”

Fast forward four years and we see the rent-a-crowds, BLM groupies, and keyboard warriors are still uncomfortable, not to mention profoundly reluctant, to discuss child neglect and abuse in Aboriginal communities. As the evidence cultural dysfunction becomes ever more indisputable, their reaction has been scream “racist” at an even greater volume while any other ad hom abuse that comes readily to mind. Meanwhile,Aboriginal children suffer needlessly.

At the height of the BLM protests a story went viral when an Aboriginal youth was knocked to the ground after threatening a police officer. The copper knocked the youth’s feet out from under him, resulting in a swift fall to the ground. Arguably the copper could have been more subtle, yet the outrage brigade wasted no time making exaggerated claims, “The policeman smashed his face into the ground” being just one of the charges stitched together from whole cloth and broadcast to the world.

Compare that incident to a more recent story from North Queensland involving the abuse of a young Aboriginal boy at the hands of a group of Aboriginal youth. The details are so shocking that I won’t detail them here, other that note that they involved an horrific rape. That story was published in a few different outlets, so it was not hidden from the public. Yet there has been no mass outrage, no protests, only silence. Like my friend Dave Price (husband of Bess and father of Jacinta) said, “A black life lost matters only when there is a white perpetrator”. Dave has told me that in Central Australia when an Aboriginal person is murdered, often you only hear about it if you are related to the victim or if the perpetrator is white. Yes, it seems that only some lives matter. Isn’t such a selective response itself a form of racism?

Bill, I wish I could say that since your cartoon, we’ve made huge strides in eradicating the problem you were so deeply concerned about—the wellbeing of Aboriginal people, especially the children. But I can’t tell you that, not even in my prayers, because very little has changed. Protesters have certainly been more visible, but it’s not the many black lives that are hurt by black hands that they decry.

All in all, it has me baffled. How can it be that in Australia, with almost limitless reservoirs of decency and goodwill characterising the general public, we continue to fail at looking after our most vulnerable children? The answer is simple: the code of political correctness, which means avoiding doing or saying what you think is correct for fear of someone taking offence. Unpalatable truths must be kicked into the corner, swept efficiently under the rug.

PC is the reason non-Aboriginal people are reluctant to speak out—they fear being labelled as racists. PC is the reason why Aboriginal people are reluctant to speak out—they fear being labelled a sellout. This shared reluctance has allowed the problems that have been facing Aboriginal children for decades to fester. But these children are Australian children, therefore all of us, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, are entitled to an opinion. Aboriginal affairs is everyone’s business. All Australians are entitled to say “these are our children, and it is our moral duty to save them”. Viewing Aboriginal people as a group separate from other Australians, as we have been tirelessly encouraged to do, has only ever failed. It may generate incomes, status, university careers and guest spots for the gatekeepers on ABC talk shows, but it is quite literally killing those who most need help.

It’s time to act on the fundamental truth that the commonalities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people far outweigh the differences. A dead kid, black or white, is a dead kid – a person first, an Aborigine second. Until we embrace this truth the hypocrisy will continue, the suffering also.

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

11 comments
  • Stephen Due

    And the solution?

  • 2BePerfectlyFrank

    Anthony Dillion is correct…..This is the nub of the issue.
    “Viewing Aboriginal people as a group separate from other Australians, as we have been tirelessly encouraged to do, has only ever failed”.
    Every Govt program Study, Rollout, Trial or straight buckets of guilt money only continue to be divisive as such funds rarely reach those in genuine need after it is filtered through federal and state bureaucracy, Land Commissions and Co-ops. Watch out for the TREATY gravy train come hurtling through your town soon. All assistance paid for by the Tax Payer should be delivered without any reference to skin colour. We are pretty much all Australians and that should be the point of reference for all steps to an integrated society.

  • IainC

    Journalist: just before George Floyd was killed, a teenage Aboriginal girl was bashed and killed as part of a tribal payback dispute and dumped in a bin in WA.
    BLM: Yeah, righto, what’s her name then?

    Wondering why ordinary indigenous tragedies are irrelevant to activists? It’s because they have no political value in the longer term neo-Marxist struggle for dominance in the west. Protesting about their suffering would be strategically and politically pointless, because the perpetrators have no useful leverage to offer. Any protest or campaign would be aimed at non-whites or at best (on their terms) a powerless white perpetrator, and therefore inconsequential to the acquisition of power and influence, and a waste of resources.
    Only a tiny fraction of very specific black lives matter to the organisers of activist groups, especially BLM: those who are killed by a western government agency. That way, the whole of the state can be held to ransom and demands exacted in large multiples. In a very real sense, only a very small fraction of black lives matter.

    Stephen Due, here’s one suggestion.
    1. Move to a regional centre and find a job.
    2. Work hard to provide for your family.
    3. Work 2 or 3 jobs to make sure your children have their best education.
    4. Stay married and provide faithfully.
    5. Love your wife/husband and children and sacrifice your own pleasures for their betterment.
    6. Don’t waste the family’s resources on your own pleasures.
    7. Respect your spouse, respect your elders, respect your community, and respect yourself.
    The gap will close.

  • Alistair

    I think if Aboriginal academics stopped worrying about the political correctness of dairy products and started focusing on child safety we might all get somewhere.

  • Adelagado

    The gap that needs to be closed is the one between where Aboriginal people live and where the jobs are. Worrying about anything else is a waste of time.

  • PT

    Excellent piece.
    .
    I also notice that aboriginals were largely absent in the original BLM actions back in 2015/16! The “attempt” to get on the bandwagon here seemed more from recent African immigrants in Melbourne. What changed???? The issues they’re complaining about were as real then as now. Is it that the “recognition” seems to be in trouble and they need to step up the pressure, or is it that the 250th anniversary of Cook’s visit got the campaigners ready to exploit the images from the US?
    .
    Regardless, with white Marxist academics “organising” these demonstrations, we can be clear that these are not spontaneous grass roots protests by aboriginal people! They’ve certainly been co-opted but do they really know what they’re campaigning about? We’ve seen claims made that Cook shot a protestor’s grandfather! Considering that the man shot at would have been born prior to 1750, the person making the claim would have to be at least 110, assuming the alleged victim lived, and fathered the father at 80 who in turn fathered the one making the claim at 80! A clear lie! The truth is, of course, that Cook is merely quoted as a personification of Anglo-Australia. Hence attacks on Cook, and his statues are really attacks on any and all Australians of an “English speaking background”! More next post!

  • PT

    Now just as aboriginal hostility and claims about Cook are really proxy complaints about white Australia (in school, Cook’s landing was taught as the starting point of Australia – white mans’ Australia – which is why Cook has this resonance in places he never went near, it’s not Cook, it’s the collective “we” he represents), so BLM is not really a concern about black lives, for the organisers anyway! In the past, Marxists (and other leftists) used to claim the interests of the “working class” as justification, but most have now abandoned them and indeed deride them as “racists”, “rednecks”, “bogans” and “deplorables”! This should, I think, be a warning to any “minority group” now being championed by these lefties that they’re only promoted whilst they’re useful! If aboriginal people ever seriously got in the way of the agenda of these people they’ll suddenly find themselves referred to once again as backward, primitive etc and all the negative stereotypes the progressivists claim to be against. That’s what happens when you’re used as a means to an end!
    .
    Why aboriginal leaders aren’t more concerned about the fate of aboriginal women and kids etc is more complex as I see it. But the most important factor is that some prominent figures have found they get publicity and money from this alliance with the left! It’s also easy to blame all your problems on someone else. You don’t offend, or make uncomfortable, anyone in the community you claim to speak for, and so don’t get attacked! Introspection is hard. Acknowledging your own faults and working on them is hard too. So if wider society is willing to excuse aboriginal people on these points, why wouldn’t they? We have now come to the point where I read an article a few weeks ago (in the wake of the attacks on ScoMo about there not being slavery in Australia) about this aboriginal women born in 1940 (same year as my father) who was “stolen” and “made a slave”! This means that Curtin and Chifley presided over slavery – strange how this doesn’t dawn on these people! All statues of these men should be torn down, right? In truth she was made an apprentice! Whatever she was, she wasn’t a slave, unless we want to degrade the term to cover anyone who has to work for a living! But we live in a post truth age, so such claims can be accepted apparently. But what is the common denominator? An attempt to degrade our society! But aboriginal suffering is an excuse, not the reason. Hence any aboriginal suffering that is not laid at the door of “Captain Cook” is an “inconvenient truth” and must be ignored! The blackivists are either ignorant, blinded by resentment, or don’t want to rock the boat. Or, as was the case with Robert Bropho, perpetrators. Indeed Bropho used the proceeds of his activism (another story) to cement his tyrannical control over his community! A form of corruption surely!
    .
    A true understanding of aboriginal heritage would be an understanding of the positives and negatives of aboriginal societies. A traditional society that venerated age and experience: in part because age meant knowledge in a time before true writing. The elders had the initiation, greater knowledge of tracking and animals and seasons and a lifetime experience that couldn’t be recorded. And so were venerated and had the pick of the young girls due to their status (perhaps Bropho was taking a traditional role in his view – and felt himself above the issues of age of consent and what she felt, as these are “whiteman’s Laws”). Basically a young fella needed to prove himself and live long enough to be truly worth to become an elder to get in on the act. It’s not restricted to many aboriginal clans, but many traditional societies had similar outlooks. I can seen sense in this, but it’s hardly the “progressivist dream”! They’d only tolerate it in aboriginal communities if they didn’t care about those communities! And that’s the ultimate point isn’t it. They don’t want to remake aboriginal society (unlike others) which means they cannot care much about aboriginal people! So the indifference to inconvenient aboriginal suffering is to be expected. I only wish I had a good path out this!
    .
    For myself, as I value my own past and traditions, I respect those of others, even if I find them odd. It’s the ones that cause harm to others where I draw the line! A restoration of study into Anglo-Saxonism, and how this led to our modern society together with early Britain and aboriginal society and ancient history in general and the ongoing legacy the ancients left us? A warts and all approach (for all societies, not just ours)?

  • DG

    The continued oppression of Aboriginal children physically, sexually, intellectually and socially is the great blot on modern politics which Blatant Lying Marxists serves merely to perpetuate.

    BTW, the cop and the foot sweep: best way to defuse a young thug. Quick, humane and effective.

  • Simon

    “How can it be that in Australia, with almost limitless reservoirs of decency and goodwill characterizing the general public, we continue to fail at looking after our most vulnerable children?”

    -Look no further than useless, virtue signaling politicians like Ken Wyatt.

    What really gets me is that we’ve been trying his approach for over century and must by now know it isn’t working. We need to try something different.

    And to find what that ‘something different’ is we must start listening to other voices, such as Warren Mundine and Jacinta Price.

  • john.singer

    While-ever the Aboriginal people allow their current spokespeople to champion their cause they will have an ever-widening “Gap”.
    People, who champion the reduction of Aboriginal incarceration without addressing the actual lives of Aboriginal women and children, are trapped in the stagnation of ideology. If they addressed the root causes of the problem, then all the hierarchy would topple and the people will flourish – perhaps that is what they are afraid of.
    Tony, you are allowed to say things we cannot. As Tennyson put it :
    “…And I would that my tongue could utter,
    The thoughts that arise in me.”

  • Dubitat

    “It’s time to act on the fundamental truth that the commonalities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people far outweigh the differences. A dead kid, black or white, is a dead kid – a person first, an Aborigine second. Until we embrace this truth the hypocrisy will continue, the suffering also”
    So sad that current policy and MSM comments assume the only solution is separate treatment, separate laws, separate voices to parliament etc. We’ve tried that for 50 years and the results are no better than when we started.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.