I have a Facebook friend. I have never met my friend in proper, real, actual life. That’s so common with many of my Facebook friends.
However, this particular friend has had a life different to most. Different in one sense but for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, my friend has a shared experience with so many people of our age.
The day was “Harmony Day”. A day that celebrates social cohesion, equality and our sense of ‘fair go’. So why has this friend felt the need to share life experiences and mistreatment on such a day?
The current Federal Government, led by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to change the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 Section 18C – Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 deals with offensive behaviour “because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin” in Australia. He is determined to change the Act. He is bowing to pressure within his conservative, not progressive Party, by the backbenchers to make such changes. Those backbenchers range from extreme right wing Queenslanders to outdated, ‘flat world view’ South Australians. Sorry, my anger and race is showing by writing such comments about this attack on Aboriginal people as the deplorable acts by a deplorable system still taints all of our lives.
One time ago, we heard yelled from a crowd thirty rows back, “get over it”, “move on” but today, we get that reply on many social media profiles who hide with dubious names and cartoon filled photos.
Such brave people.
Sorry it’s showing again.
So instead of rambling on with amounts of frustration and a tirade of typing to overload my blood pressure, I will show some of my Facebook friends actual life. The treatment. The suffering, the life. The reality of why we need the protection of 18C in the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
Ironically, I will need to put a warning on the following as it will contain offensive language. Strong language. Disgraceful language.
Her postings on social media on Harmony Day were as follow – sorry a reminder. This is one persons life. A woman. A victim and a mother unveiled to you:
” when I was born, I was not an Australian citizen, until I was 6 years old, 1967 Referendum . #HarmonyDay, let’s share stories of racism with hashtag #FreedomOfSpeech “
” when I lived in Campbelltown and was being bashed in the backyard by my ex with a shovel and bottle. To which I found the strength to jump the fence and escape, very beaten and bloodied, I ran to my friends house and she called the police. The white neigbours in the townhouse looking down on the incident, told one of my friends, “geez, she put up a good fight. ”
” when I lived in Redfern or wanted to get a cab from Redfern or dropped off at Redfern, to this day, I have never been able to get a cab. “
” when my son started kindergarten, he came home with a black eye, an older child had bashed him, because he was Aboriginal. Ever sat with a child who is traumatised and doesn’t want to go back to school? “
” when I was growing up, racism and hatred was normalised and acceptable, until the introduction of the Anti Discrimination Act and the Racial Discrimination Acts in 1975. “
” when my son was at school, he was suspended for jumping into a fight, because his best friend, who was Chinese, was being beaten by 3 white Australian kids. Thanks Pauline Hanson at the height of your racism towards Chinese. ”
” At the height of Pauline Hason’s racism against Asians, When I was in traffic I witnessed 3 white young Aussie’s throwing a bottle of water on a Chinese girl and drenched her and told her to “fuck off back to her Country”, she started crying. ”
” when I went to Alice Springs in 1985, I was drinking with some friends and the bouncer told us we had to go outside in the beer garden, because Aboriginals aren’t allowed to drink in the lounge. #HarmonyDay, let’s share stories of racism with hashtag #FreedomOfSpeech “
” When I owned a red Datsun, I pulled up at the shops and two blokes asked me did I steal it. ”
” when I went to Queensland in 1985, I was denied access to a club, the reason given by the bouncer “because I am Aboriginal.” ”
” when I was at school and wore a halter neck dress for plain cloth dress day, my music teacher, said to everyone in the class the next day “I saw Cleonie walking around the other day in a lap, lap.” and everyone started laughing. ”
” when I was 20 years old, I was bashed by two bouncers and kicked in the head, at Caringbah Hotel and put in hospital with concussion for defending my friend who was Vietnamese. ”
” When I lived in Lurnea, a neighbour would call my children “Niggers and told me to fuck off back to the bush.” ”
” On ANZAC day, when my eldest son was 2 years old, happy singing on the train, an ex drunken veteran said “shut up you little black cunt.” ”
” when I was 15 years old, I was refused service in a Café in Marrickville, because he didn’t serve Niggers. #HarmonyDay, let’s share stories of racism with hashtag #FreedomOfSpeech “
“when I was 15years old, my best friends boyfriend ” asked her how could she hang around with a piece of Abo shit.” ”
” when I was 6 years old, I asked my foster mother, “why do people call me blackie”, she replied “God made me in the daytime, he made you in the night, he made you in a hurry and forgot to paint you white.” ”
” when I was 4 years old, I was removed from my parents, under a racist policy, now known as the Stolen Generations. ”
” when I was 12 years old, sitting on the train coming home from school, I was spat on and called “nigger”. ”
” when I was 10 years old, 5 boys bashed my head into the bubbler at school and cracked my tooth, calling me “black” ”
I ask if you think this language and treatment is okay? Now you do not know your future and the family you have in the future. You may have Aboriginal children as nephews, nieces, sons, daughter or grandchildren. That may influence your thinking about the use of words mentioned above. It may not. But you also may have a past. Someone in your past was treated this way too. A grandmother. Grandfather. An uncle who suffered or great Aunt who remained alone for unknown reasons.
I would not want this for my daughter, son or granddaughter.
I will leave the last word to my friend who opened up her story and life to anyone wanting to hear.
“Seriously, if you can’t say something without denigrating someone else and being a racist, is your opinion really worth listening to?”
#HarmonyDay, let’s share stories of racism with hashtag #FreedomOfSpeech
David Towney – Wiradjuri NEWS