White people have a lot to be sorry for. Our pale skinned privilege is the passport I and many others use to glide through life. We see this as our birthright.
Every day our pages are stamped with unquestioned approval. We may pass through. Career doors open easily, people smile on the bus when we sit next to them, landlords happily hand us the key to their homes, banks approve our mortgages, police don't do a car search when they pull us over for a random breath test, shop assistants don't follow us when we're browsing and when we're gathered in a park with our family having a few beers no one slinks past in fear.
It's just a BBQ with some Aussie larrikins, not a mob of 'drunk abbos'. I have two black sisters - beautiful, strong women who haven't had the easy passage through life that I have. They've experienced racism, whether overt or institutionalised, their whole lives.
When I was a little girl I once refused to walk to school with Shirley because I got teased for having a black sister. I crossed the road. My grandmother found out and I got the back end of a wooden spoon. I love her for it. I still feel ashamed that I crossed the road. White people cross the road every day - we take no responsibility. Thats our shame.
It's a white washed world. White people, predominantly white men, control the narrative around culture and identity. They decide when its Australia Day. They decide that celebrating nationhood on the day of white invasion shouldn't offend. I mean, isn't everyone ‘Australian’ now?
They also define what ‘Australian’ is. They decide when it's sorry day. They decide what to say sorry for. Its 2019 and Ken Wyatt is the first Indigenous Australian to hold the position as Minister for Indigenous Australians. White men congratulate themselves for that - but why has it taken so long? Previous title holders have been people like Mal Brough and Philip Ruddock - just a couple of names in the long list of privileged white men (and women) entrusted with representing the interests of our first nation.
In Queensland until the mid 1980's it was still an offence to be in the company of aboriginals for what was deemed an unnecessary length of time. Today Indigenous imprisonment rates are almost twice the non-Indigenous community. Indigenous life expectancy is more than a decade less than non-Indigenous.
The story of the trauma of the stolen generations was in turn stolen by politicians like Kevin Rudd who nabbed himself a Martin Luther moment with the apology. His hero status eclipsed the content. White men congratulating themselves for having the courage and compassion to say sorry.
So how have we embraced the content of that apology? By the crowds gathered to climb Uluru last Friday on the last day the rock could still be legally climbed - I'd say not very well…
It's clear Pauline Hanson's statement 'Our country is not based on Aboriginals' is both offensive and true. The Anangu were given Uluru back 34 years ago and thats how long it took for them to enact the 'no climb' as a law at this culturally significant site.
The hordes of people who turned up on the last day showed what absolute disregard many have for the wishes of Indigenous Australia. Pity we can't be immunised against White Entitlement.
We're morally repugnant. A global embarrassment. I suggest we start a movement in an attempt to repatriate all the harm and hurt we've caused. It would be like Black Pride, but we call it White Shame.
Billboards around the country could show Pauline stuck between the rock and her hard face. We could also appoint an Indigenous person as Minister for White Fella Affairs. Just one portfolio mind you.
White Shame Day could be everyday but I have the perfect date! 26 January!
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