As I said of my good friend Sue Stanton a couple of years ago here in an introduction to another of her guest posts:
I’ve known Sue Stanton, a fiercely proud member of the Kungarakan & Gurindji peoples, for too many years for either of us to remember.
For those who know her I don’t need to tell you that she is a careful and impassioned thinker on contemporary life and politics in the NT and beyond. For those that don’t know her, all I can say is the you are the poorer for not having the privilege of doing so.
Sometimes her clear thinking and forthright statements rub up what passes for the “great and the good” in the Northern Territory the wrong way. More power to her I say!
Here is her take on the recent events concerning Andrew Bolt…and more.
Well…how about that! Just when I thought it was safe to slip on into my sixties, after years of hard work and paying government taxes along with all others who work hard and pay for the privilege, feeling proud that I have contributed to this country, done my bit, all the while as an Aboriginal citizen of this country…along comes Andrew Bolt to tell me that, due to my fair skin, the identity I have should no longer be an accepted one in this country.
Now fair crack of the whip here Andrew. When I was born (just after WWII) and while growing up in the (still) frontier town of Darwin, I was labelled “half-caste”, “yella fella”, “half-breed”- and a whole lot of other names, but I was never labelled “white” nor even Australian.
Even the good Catholic nuns where I went to school, reminded us on a regular basis about who we were and how worthless we were. “Half-castes” were never going to amount to much – all the boys would be useless layabouts and all the girls would be prostitutes.
We should never expect to “rise above” or even be equal to whites.
Then the Australian government told us we were to be named “Aborigines” – even gave us criteria for that identity – yes, and I ticked all the boxes!
At the same time fellow Australians labelled my type “part-Aboriginal”, “part-white”, “white blackfella” along with a few other nonsensical tags.
Still I knew who I was and stuck to my Aboriginal identity – proud of my Aboriginal heritage and equally proud of my white heritage, even though somewhat ostracised from it…but I was never excluded from my Aboriginal heritage and as a result, embraced it wholly.
Now the government want me to identify as “indigenous” – whatever that means! But not me, I stick to my old tag, resisting all attempts of modernity … and terms that enable that pack mentality that government and people like you have when categorising or tagging people, especially if they are not white or not able to claim to possess that history of pure white lineage, as you obviously do.
Andrew, surely you don’t think that “fair skins” still pose a threat to national security?
And sorry mate, its a bit late to be worrying about fear of contamination of “white bloodlines” – it is also too late to be doing anything about racial hygiene. You can’t blame blackfellas entirely for that even though Aboriginal women were seen “as the inadvertent biological revolutionaries”, meaning they had to be “watched, managed and controlled”. (H Reynolds, Nowhere People: How International Race Thinking Shaped Australia’s Identity, 2005)
I guess that you think we are still biologically dangerous as we continue to breed and produce more children that continue to be proud of their Aboriginal heritage and ancestry. It is an awesome heritage that cannot, nor should not be forgotten or buried.
I wrote a poem many years ago asking How About the Half-castes? Are they still the outcasts? Too right they are!
Historically many “Aboriginal half-castes” were the unwanted progeny of irresponsible whites (and others)and added to that they were removed from their Mothers under a number of government policies that essentially stated that it was white peoples’ responsibility to redeem these “fair skins” from irrational savagery and immoral wickedness.
I don’t make any excuses or apologies about my Aboriginal heritage, and I will never deny my Grandparents, as they endured all types of degradation, imprisonment and suffering so that our families could survive and carry on with our histories, our stories, our traditions and keep our identity intact.
I owe it to their memory to never forget them and to never be ashamed of or try to cover up our past, our history.
Andrew Bolt and his fellow-travellers tell us loud and clear that we are never going to get past that subterranean source of western autocracy and embedded racism that was a huge part of nineteenth and twentieth century Australia.
Even now, in the early stages of the twenty-first century, you and your contemporaries try to engineer the genetic structure of non-white society and call for a return to attitudes that scream of cultural genocide.
When will the idea that Australia is only a white man’s country ever go away – how long do we need to suffer the imperialist legacy of the old Anglo-Saxon attitude along with the mythic glories and historical memoirs of the invading culture? Yet you want to deny Aboriginal people their mythic glories, histories and their identities.
Andrew Bolt – your anti-Aboriginal stance and arrogant white superiority has no place in today’s Australia. Believe it or not, in Australia at least, that terrifying arrogance and assumption that people like you believe you should determine which people should inhabit this country, and how they should identify, is so passé.
Truly, Australia needs to rid itself of the traditions and rantings of imperialist white superiority, and Aboriginal people are quite over people like you sapping our identity, our Aboriginality.
Get over it – you are as stuck with us as we are with you so lets try and get on – or at least pretend that we do. We won’t tell you how you should identify or what heritage is suitable for you and your family/descendants, and don’t you dare try and tell us who we are.
…All I ever want to be, is to be an Aborigine…
Dr Sue J Stanton,