Blacklisting an Ugly Truth

cashman et alOn November 17, the Centre for Independent Studies organised an event at the National Press Club that brought together three Indigenous women to discuss violence against Aboriginal women. The trio — Jacinta Price, Marcia Langton and Josephine Cashman — have had plenty of experience speaking on this topic. But bringing these three sharp minds together was nevertheless a very significant moment. As emissaries of reality, these women did not play the usual blame game and nominate racism and colonisation as the root causes of the violence seen today. What they did instead was quite remarkable: they told the truth and, more than that, they held their National Press Club audience to account for propagating comforting myths and indulging in wilful blindness.

Discussing the high level of violence in the Aboriginal population, particularly against women, has never been a popular topic, so I half expected to see a warm and fuzzy reaction — the promotion of photos, for example, of Aboriginal men as caring mates to their partners and good, dutiful fathers of their children. This was, after all, what happened when Bill Leak published that cartoon and the twitterati went look-at-me big with the #IndigenousDads hashtag. The well-meaning (?), though easily offended, activists felt Leak’s cartoon was racist. Of course, no evidence or argument was offered as to why it was racist, it was just denounced as such. The virtue-signallers of social media felt they had to prove there are actually good Aboriginal dads, as if the existence of such specimens had ever been in doubt. Such a mission may have been warranted had Leak’s intention been to communicate that every Indigenous father (and/or mother) is bad. I could not imagine one person in Australia with an IQ larger than their shoe size would have seen the cartoon and concluded, “This cartoon clearly shows that all Aboriginal fathers are bad.” Yet that was the bogus message Leak’s critics insisted they discerned in his artwork. So, if not stupid, they must be … corrupt? After all, a mentally challenged person who did draw that erroneous conclusion would likely also reach the equally absurd conclusion that, because the cartoon also depicted an Aboriginal police officer,  “all employed Aboriginal men must be police officers.” More about that policeman shortly.

So I’m left wondering, why wasn’t there the same morally outraged response to what those three Aboriginal womeen had to say at the Press Club. Allow me to “read between the lines” , as did Justice Mordechai Bromberg in the case of Andrew Bolt and the white Aborigines, and conclude that perhaps the key difference between the two events is that Leak is not Aboriginal, but the three superstar ladies are. The issue that riles me is that ‘outraged’ protesters felt the need for a hashtag campaign denigrating Leak, but have not been forthcoming with a #SweetIndigenousHusbands hashtag in response to the message on violence against Aboriginal women. If the differing responses are due to race, is that not itself a racist response? I am reminded of Theodore Dalrymple commenting on Leak’s cartoon:

There is no racist like an antiracist: That is because he is obsessed by race, whose actual existence as often as not he denies. He looks at the world through race-tinted spectacles, interprets every event or social phenomenon as a manifestation of racism either implicit or explicit, and in general has the soul of a born inquisitor.

The three ladies were not for one second suggesting that all Aboriginal men are wife-beaters. And similarly, Leak was not for one second suggesting that all Aboriginal fathers are negligent parents. The ladies and Leak were each simply raising awareness that Aboriginal women are over-represented as victims of violence, just as Aboriginal children are over-represented as victims of abuse and neglect. However, Leak was portrayed as a racist who promoted hateful stereotypes — even to the point where Race Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane went pimping for complaints on Facebook.

Now some members of the victim brigade might be quick to justify their actions with, “Yes but Leak’s cartoon showed an Aboriginal father.” That’s true, as the cartoon was about the neglect of Aboriginal children and given the context inspired by the Four Corners show about the treatment of black teens in Darwin’s youth-detention centre. The cartoon also showed an Aboriginal police officer, yet nobody claimed that the image inspire pride. Again, there is a gross inconsistency at work. As the son of a retired police officer who was highly regarded in his profession and just happens to be Aboriginal, I thought of claiming to be offended because nobody praised the Aboriginal cop in Leak’s cartoon. I even thought of claiming I had been traumatised. But would anyone care? Not likely! As there is no use claiming to be offended if nobody is going to pay attention, I did not contact Gillian Triggs at the HRC and demand a $250,000 payout.

Sweep away the hashtags, the posturing and the hissing of the politically correct chorus and what remains is a simple, straightforward and indisputable fact: Leak’s cartoon was not racist, only inconvenient to those who have trouble admitting that far too many Aboriginal children come from homes where they are abused and neglected.

As I said, if Leak’s critics were honest, or at least consistent, they would be howling down Langton, Price and Cashman. But that isn’t happening. Rather, as the attention their remarks garnered fades away, they will be ignored. It’s so much easier to attack a white cartoonist as a racist than to actually address the problem three black champions of truth have laid out chapter and verse.

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

17 thoughts on “Blacklisting an Ugly Truth

  • ian.macdougall says:

    Well written and well reasoned.
    In my own experience in the Australian bush, the former casual mixing of blacks and whites has given way in recent years to an apartheid which is now well entrenched. And it mainly comes from the Aborigines. They want minimal social contact with the Whites. There are many reasons for this I am sure, and for the slow rate of change. But it is there.

    • en passant says:

      Ian McD,
      How dare you comment on racism. Are you completely self unaware? Anthony has written an insightful article full of good sense, personal experience and logic whereas YOU accused me (twice) of being a racist? Your words were “I would say not only that you are a 24-carat ignoramus, but pretty clearly a prize racist as well.”

      Ah, the last resort of the Leftoid scum. I pointed out that I have been continuously married for the past 41 years to a wonderful Asian lady. ‘Innocently’ commenting and giving your opinion on racism to someone of Anthony’s standing and knowledge while simultaneously accusing someone of racism without the slightest evidence is pretty low even for you.

      I have passed on your comment to my wife and children so they can see the sort of Leftoid ignorance they may face from a White Australian WASP of Scottish descent. They are hurt that someone could consider me racist given my record.


      • ian.macdougall says:

        ‘en passant’, or whatever your real name is:


        • en passant says:

          Ian McD,
          That is NOT a withdrawal or apology.

          Last Chance

          • ian.macdougall says:

            ….while simultaneously accusing someone of racism without the slightest evidence….”

            ‘en passant’ or whatever your real name is:
            I gave you the evidence. Best possible: a direct quote from YOU (not from your wife, children, uncles, aunts, cousins, or whoever else you are determined on dragging in). But you chose to ignore that rock-solid evidence in favour of whipping yourself up into a frenzy. You must be spinning on the spot like a top so fast that your shoes have caught fire.
            I suggest you calm down and if necessary use the rest of eternity to do it. Because that is how long you will be waiting for the apology that I don’t owe you.
            Nor answers to your dopey ‘questions’.
            (Curses! ‘Last Chance’ blown!)

      • rosross says:

        You seem to have over-reacted. Don’t take it personally. It isn’t personal on such discussion threads.

        • en passant says:

          Unfortunately, it is personal an Ian has to learn that there are consequences an punishments when you cross the ‘line in the sand’ between robust satire an offensive accusations. Three years ago (on another site) a blogger made two false accusations about me. He was invited to withdraw fully an apologize. He did so, but just two months ago I received a comment that included “Do you still hang out with paedophiles?” – and named a well-known one (I have never met and do not know). As I volunteer some time teaching children you can see how mud sticks.

          Ian either withdraws and apologizes or there will be consequences as he has crossed a line that cannot be uncrossed as there is now a permanent record of his statement that I am a racist.

          • ian.macdougall says:

            ….there is now a permanent record of his statement that I am a racist.

            No. A permanently recorded RACIST statement by YOU, ‘en passant’ or whatever your real name is, that you to date have not tried to justify, apologise for, trivialise or explain away.
            You just ignore it, presumably in the time-honoured process of hoping it will slowly evaporate.

          • en passant says:

            I have no idea what racist statement you are referring to. Please advise as I now intend to take this further – much further, so I need the authorities to be clear about the evidence of why you slander me as a racist.

  • Jody says:

    I’m so bored to death with this topic. And now we have the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’….. Sorry, I would have finished this but I feel asleep…

  • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

    Another astute article from Anthony Dillon.

    But of course, he does not qualify as a genuine Aborigine because he also acknowledges his white ancestry alongside the Aboriginal, which makes him a despicable traitor to the indigenous course. To be genuine Aborigines, people must identify wholly and exclusively with their indigenous ancestry, regardless of the proportion of Aboriginal blood in their veins – if any at all, for that matter – feel perpetually offended by institutionalised racism and blame every problem ever encountered on the white invaders. Those are the bare minimum of requirements to quality.

    • rosross says:

      That is all true, but Anthony is one of a growing number of younger indigenous who are comfortable with all of their ancestral inheritance and appreciate the variations equally, identifying ultimately as Australians.

      Most indigenous are of very mixed race and many, probably most, have minimal Aboriginal ancestry, and are as differeht from indigenous of less mixed race, and particularly those in remote communities, as are any of us.

      I am sure they are also aware of the deep racism within some Aboriginal communities, indeed, they face vicious abuse for taking a stand and speaking out and speaking as Australians of mixed race and culture.

      But they are important voices for they provide a bridge between various groups and a hope for the future, beyond the divisive racism of the Aboriginal industry and its deluded academic and political supporters.

  • raymart@tpg.com.au says:

    Another valuable contribution from Anthony. Thank you
    But your last paragraph really hit me between the eyes.
    That is where the bile rose in my throats for the compassionistas.
    Such hypocrisy is the cancer that is destroying any hope of a future for the real victims of these crimes, the next generation.

  • en passant says:

    40+ years ago I spent some time on the outback in places where the local aboriginals outnumbered the ‘whites’. I gained a great deal of respect for the people I dealt with. The downside was that they were often prisoners of their culture. The only way to ‘get on’ was to get away and head for the towns or the mining centres.

    Some made it, but about half could not make the transition as they did not have the technological skills or the mindset. These were the ones who drifted to the town camps and drink and trouble. Not turning up one day – and going walkabout for the next four weeks was somewhat difficult to fit into the labour management plan – as they would then suddenly reappear as if nothing had happened and expect to pick up where they left off.

    I kept in touch with some of them for a while after I left, but as time went by I lost all contact. I thought it odd (though I have some ideas as to why), that 80% of them married non-aboriginal women. You may have a better view than me as to why, but I think it was because they actually were going out of their way to de-tribalize’ and move into the mainstream as there was no future in going back to the settlements and reservations.

    • rosross says:

      Many mining companies report the difficulty of getting indigenous to complete or even participate in training programmes so they can be employed, let alone actually being able to remain in the job. The pressure from other members in the community and the label of ‘coconut’ – white on the inside and black on the outside because they are looking to participate in the broader community, is just too much for some to bear. They give up the training or give up the job in order to ‘fit in’ with family and community.

      No doubt such behaviour has been a part of the human condition for a long time and something which an enlightened community seeks to outgrow.

      You see aspects of this in Africa, somewhere I lived for many years, in four different countries, where they tell the story of ‘everyone being like crabs in a pot and if one crab tries to climb out, the rest will drag it back in’ and it is this Aboriginal racism which is not addressed and which cripples so many and ultimately destroys their lives.

  • rosross says:

    It is just a pity that racist terms like ‘black’ and ‘white’ are becoming entrenched in conversation. The fact is, Bill Leak may have Aboriginal ancestors and not even be ‘white’ in the way the term is used and the other fact is the three indigenous women also have Anglo/European ancestry and so are indigenous of mixed race, as opposed to being Aboriginal.

    The problem with labels is they stick and at this point in time ‘white’ appears to mean anyone with no Aboriginal ancestry, even if they are black of skin, and ‘black’ means anyone with some Aboriginal ancestry, no matter how miniscule, even if they are so white of skin and blonde of hair they are physically not the slightest bit Aboriginal and neither have they grown up in Aboriginal communities.

    I don’t have the answer to this but I do believe it is of concern to label around 600,000 Australians as ‘black’ because of some Aboriginal ancestry, and more than 23 million as ‘white’ because of a lack of it.

    Many indigenous Australians live and grew up in privileged lives for which some non-indigenous Australians could only dream. Instead of dividing the country into racist groups, we should be looking at need-based welfare and give up race-based welfare and race-based terminology.

    Beyond that, good and sensible article as always from Anthony Dillon.

  • a.crooks@internode.on.net says:

    Good point Anthony. It is pretty strange when you have to know a person’s race before you can tell whether you agree with them.
    Slightly off topic, but I was talking to a lawyer who was at a meeting of judicial officers the other day. One said “The question we need to ask is – Why are so many Aborigines in jail?”. Another stood up and said “No, that’s not the question we should be asking. The correct question is – Why do so many Aborigines offend?” Its only by rejecting those who are trying to divert attention into unproductive directions and getting to the very roots of the problems that progress can be made. The problem we have is that there are too many smoke and mirror sales people trying to muddy any debate.

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