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Marcia Langton’s objections to the repeal of 18c in today’s Oz where she said:
“As a victim of frequent racism, I have tried to think of racist behaviour that would not be exempted by the proposed repeal bill and cannot think of one,’’ Professor Langton says.
“None of the requirements of good faith, accuracy, genuine, reasonable, public interest are provided for in the exemptions, and I have concluded that the repeal bill, if it were passed, would provide me — and other victims of racism — with no protection at all from low-level racist abuse, or abuse that a ‘reasonable, ordinary Australian’ would not deem to be intimidatory, in the media, in public, on social media, in the workplace, in educational institutions, or other public institutions.”
Professor Langton says the repeal bill would encourage racists to be more emboldened in public and to use subtle forms of intimidation and aggression, “which I know from personal experience can be just as dangerous and distressing as overt forms”.
She says that, amid increasing racial attacks on public transport, the passage of the bill would expose victims to further attacks.
“The reluctance of most victims to make formal complaints or to contact police compounds this problem of their vulnerability to increased attacks by those emboldened to behave in even more offensive and aggressive ways on public transport and in public places,” she says.
Professor Langton goes further, arguing that the bill would undermine the success of multiculturalism and reconciliation in the community and lead to more events such as the race riots in the southern Sydney suburb of Cronulla in 2005.
And she warns: “The youth suicides that result from cyber bullying may well increase, and so too would internet bullying among school students.’’
Thinking back to her last appearance on QandA where she (and the ABC) had to apologise for her outburst against Andrew Bolt made me wonder just how a woman so blighted with racism managed to get herself into a safe and secure academic position and how she came to be consulted so often by governments on matters indigenous. I also can’t help wondering if she might be mistaking reactions to her antagonistic, confrontational and abrasive personal style of public discourse as racism when its her total lack of respect and generosity to all of her interlocutors that generates and equally terse response to her whenever she discusses the issues with others. Strangely enough in this country where we have manged to do tolerance and “multiculturalism” pretty well its antagonistic people like Langton who try so hard to grandstand about “racism” that are a problem, at least as significant as those very few individuals who are actually racist, because their whole ego and self image are totally tied up with the notion of ” being oppressed” that they want to magnify and exaggerate the whole issue of ” race” enough to justify their own bigotry .
We have a country that does diversity, equality and tolerance pretty well and long may that be so but we won’t do it any better if people go out of their way to find offense when and where no offense was intended, we can and I hope will, continue to do better to promote inclusion and acceptance of diversity as a nation but the strictures of blame and well nurtured resentment over long past events will not help anyone.
The ABC are to be congratulated for apologising but they also deserve to be admonished for not pulling Langton up for making such a vile and unwarranted slur in the first place. I put that down to the rather common view that anyone who is not white can not possibly be racist themselves. The simple fact is that accusations of racism are an a to common resort of scoundrels who don’t want to burrow down and explore the deeper ethical questions about public identity, especially when some of those identities offer the qualification for particular government largess.
Sometimes you have to wonder just what drives men like Pat Dodson and just how skewed their perceptions are by the chip on their shoulder. There are few people that have been so vociferous as Pat has about the plight of indigenous people in the more remote parts of the country. But I think that he and those of the same mindset have got the whole understanding of place wrong.
Responding to a question during the talks about where the impetus for a new policy on outstations originated, Mr Dodson launched a bitter attack on his fellow Aboriginal leaders Mr Pearson, Mr Mundine and Professor Langton, whose ideas he ideologically opposes.
He said the movement towards greater intervention into Aboriginal people’s lives began with Howard government ministers such as Amanda Vanstone and Mal Brough, who believed that “people who live in these remote places (homelands) should all come in back to the missions … because that is the better way for Aboriginal people in a white man’s terms”.
“You may recall a minister called Amanda Vanstone,” he said. “They were talking in Canberra and the east that Aboriginal people who live in these remote places have got no future.
“And then some other people got involved and they talked about social reform because of drugs and alcohol and all sorts of things. Some people said we have got to change the way public money is given to Aboriginal people. And some Aboriginals were involved in that and you probably know them – Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Warren Mundine.
“So there is a lot of people who are not very supportive, they are not backing you, they don’t recognise you, they don’t recognise your culture. They are only looking one way. Some of them got a good heart, but some of them not.”
Mr Pearson, Mr Mundine and Professor Langton could not be contacted last night.
The connection to country that those like Dodson would claim is central to the the outstations is not about the mysticism of indigenous religion. It is a connection that is predicated upon the ability of the people to rely on the bounty of a place. So when the peoples reliance shifts from that to the money economy for the necessities of life then the very reason for living in that particular remote part of the country is almost entirely gone. Settlements all over the world have been abandoned and their populations dispersed whenever the raison detre for their existence has ceased to be.
What we have with the outstations is the classic wanting to have their cake and wanting to eat it too situation. If any people want to live in the remote parts of the country they need an economic reason to do so. Now that can be their ability to sustain themselves from the land as their ancestors have for thousands of years or by producing a commodity (or service) that they can trade for the money they need to buy what they cant grow or gather.But if they can do neither then their existence there has no future and should not be sustained because of mere sentimentality.
Instead of acknowledging this reality we get a constant litany of complaints about how remote Australia is not getting enough largess from the rest of the country, how more services should be provided and so on. The people who were the target of Dodson’s venom are the ones that we need to listen too here because, as they argue, it is only by embracing the economic realities of the twenty first century that our indigenous brothers and sisters are going to make a future not only for themselves but for their children.There is just no point in living in as place where the kangaroos roam if you only ever dine on store bought tucker.
I commend to all the essay from Marcia Langton that points out just how racist Germane “proud Marxist ” Greer’s essay on rage actually is I quote her conclusion.
Greer’s panoply of protest slogans deployed as social theory was dismissed long ago by the research and policy community as incapable of explaining the present levels of disparities in life expectancy, morbidity and mortality rates and other socioeconomic indicators. Although the burden of history is acknowledged in much of this work, the everyday suffering in communities at risk is caused by a multiplicity of factors, some originating in customary life and some in the transition to modernity, but all more complicated than Greer would have us understand.
The conclusions she wants us to draw from her essay and her many media appearances are threefold: the Aboriginal population and the many indigenous societies from which the rapidly growing Australian indigenous population is drawn (now about 500,000 people) is not viable; Aboriginal males are so crippled by what she calls rage, they cannot recover; Aboriginal women, notably myself, have contributed to their downfall that further belittles them.
Taken as a whole, her arguments are racist.
As a social commentator Greer has done her dash, Having repeatedly chosen abortion over having children she now reaps the reward that such things bring, namely being alone and bitter in her old age. She repeatedly demonstrates that she knows nothing of the lives of real people, nothing of the lives of the ordinary women she purports to argue for. But the arrogance and hubris that is so evident in her essay on indigenous rage shatters her last shard of credibility. Frankly the world will be a better place when Grear shuts up about the things that knows bugger all about or when she draws her last breath.