‘I dont want to call White People in the fight against racism, inequality and injustice allies anymore. There are White Folks dedicated to anti-racism are good white folks doing the right things because they under stand when everyone is well, everyone is well. They are fixing what they broke and being responsible… It’s not called being an ally, it’s called being responsible’Marley K (Medium.com)
Australia Day Represents Tragedy for Indigenous Australians
January 26th is a difficult day in Australia, and it marks the beginning of illegal occupation, dispossession of land and extreme colonial violence. In fact, January 26th has been marked as a day of mourning for Indigenous Australian’s (since 1938) long before it was a national holiday (1994).
In a country lucky enough to have the oldest surviving culture in Australia, it feels disingenuous with the Australian values of mateship and standing up for the little guy to use a day marked by pain as a day of celebration. In my opinion, changing the date is the bare minimum we as a community could do as a gesture of reconciliation and respect for the indigenous community. But it should also be combined with constitutional recognition, a concerted move to implement the recommendations of closing the gap report and a reckoning with the deeply racist elements (both cultural and institutional) in Australia.
Please enjoy the public holiday, but it’s an opportunity to be a good ally, support the indigenous community and help change the narrative around January 26th.
What you can do instead
Over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the…. Ku Klux Klanner, but the White Moderate, who is more devoted to order than justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can not agree with your methods of direct action’. Who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season’
‘Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute understanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is more more bewildering than outright Rejection’Martin Luther King Jnr.
Doing the Work
As a white person, I am certainly not an expert and I don’t presume to speak for marginalised communities. I can only work on myself, my own biases and make sure I am using my white privilege to try and dismantle unfair systems, not strengthen them.
- Its important to constantly think about yourself and question your actions and biases, as humans we all hold biases, buts important to be critically self reflective.
- Do your research to learn more about the history of the struggle which you are participating in
- Do the work to find ways to acknowledge how you participate in oppressive systems
- Language is powerful:
- Inclusive language aims to avoid offence by avoiding expressions that express or imply ideas that are sexist, bias, prejudiced or denigrating to any particular group of people.
- Using inclusive language challenges unconscious and conscious bias and can help to shift mindsets.
- Make space :
- Don’t speak for others, create space for marginalised individuals to safely speak about their experiences and their perspectives. Let them be the narrator of their own story
- Do the work to create accessible and inclusive spaces for everyone, including conversations at work and events
- Speak up:
- When someone you know is saying something hateful or ignorant, call them out. Silence allows oppression to continue. As a white person, you can use your white privilege to advocate for marginalised groups.
- Listen to what marginalised groups are saying, face to face, via social media or in media
- Listen and learn, own your mistakes and embrace the work of doing better
- Donate, sign petitions, volunteers and support communities and creators and businesses with your time and money
- Research and find ways to change the oppressive systems we live in.
- However, it’s important to be sensitive about what you demand, First nations people represent 3.3% of the Australian population, and as such are often the only Indigenous people in the room, and as such, its often demanded that they represent their community, explain something, speech, sit in a meeting or provide consultation. Before asking indigenous people, google it.
Ask for Consent:
- @Blakbusiness suggests that when talking about indigenous topics, talk to your indigenous friends first. Unpacking and having to explain traumatic content without giving consent could be emotionally draining and potentially traumatic for Indigenous peoples. Asking for consent before talking about heavy content creates a safer space for change.
Support and Celebrate the Indigenous Community
Australia’s Indigenous communities are part of the longest surviving culture on earth, and can trace their history in Australia back 40 000 years. They have some of the most amazing art, artists, and businesses in Australia and January 26 (and every day of the year) is a great time to support, uplift and celebrate the indigenous communities.
There are Covid safe services, marches and rallies that are held nationally on invasion day, and they are open to everyone. You can find a list of them here. If you do decide to go, please wear sunscreen, bring water and a mask.
Sharing social media content is a good alternative if you dont feel like you can participate in person. Social media solidarity is important and can be an important education tool.
Petitions to sign
- Stop indigenous mass incarceration.
- Stop aboriginal deaths in custody
- Free the Flag
- Close the Gap
- Change the Date
Donate to black businesses, or blak support agencies: There are some amazing ones here:
- Djap Wurrung Tree Embassy
- Ochre Ribbon
- Pay the Rent
- Reconciliation Aus
- Aboriginal Literacy Foundation
- Aboriginal Legal Service
- Bringing Them Home Report
- Tell me why: the story of my life and my music – Archie Roach
- My place- Sally Morgan
- Aboriginal women and the white lies of the feminist movement: Implications for aboriginal women in rights discourse- Larissa Behrendt
Support Indigenous Businesses and content
There are some amazing indigenous businesses and content out there, and the best way to support them is with your money, a couple of my favourites are:
- Clothing the Gap
- Haus of Dizzy
- Wang Kathaa beauty
- Native Swimwear
- Deadly Demin
- Lowanna Skincare
- Warlu Art
- Creations by Kay Rose
- Magabala books
Indigenous Lead Podcasts
- Always Our stories
- ASH Podcast
- Ask the Specialist
- Autism our way
- Black Magic Women
- Deadly podcast
- The MSCLUP Project
- Pretty for an aboriginal
- Take it blak
- Wild Black Women
- Always was, always will be our stories
- Deadly voices
- Speaking out
- Tiddas 4 Tiddas
- Aretha Brown
- Bush Tucker Bunjie
- Fallon Gregory
- Matt Cama
- The Why the Way
- common ground Australia
- Uluru statement
- Blackfulla bookclub
Things to watch:
Westwind: Djalu’s legacy
Rabbit Proof fence
The Australian Dream
In my blood it runs
Samson and Delilah
Putuparri and the rainmakers
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, so if you have any more please let me know!
I want to believe in a brave, compassionate Australia that celebrates everyone, especially our first nations communities. Change the Date.