21 Feb 2016

Another page from the unsecret history of racism in Australia

The words of Yvonne Sampson, sports presenter on channel 9, mostly for the National Rugby League, a sport she also plays:

"I've always known I was adopted. As soon as I could ask 'where did I come from?' my mother and father carefully explained they couldn't have children of their own, so they waited and waited until finally I came along. 
Luckily, when I turned 18 I met my birth parents, who turned out to be wonderful people who fell pregnant as teenagers and decided they were too young to raise a child. Thankfully, my birth parents and I have maintained a loving relationship ever since. 
On Boxing Day, my birth father called to wish me season's greetings but also to deliver another piece of my genetic puzzle. He had never known his mother. Raised by his grandmother, he was told his mum died in a car crash. The truth he recently discovered... 
Charters Towers (that's in northern Queensland), 1964, a 21-year-old mother was told her infant died of pneumonia. Secretly, the baby boy was perfectly healthy and given to another family to raise. Why? Because the young woman was Aboriginal. A mother was left to grieve a baby who didn't die, while the boy grew up never knowing his mother or her heritage."

'given to another mother to raise...'
Who made that call?
What are the chances it was some come-to-Jesus hypocrite and Church activist who decided a baby boy's identity was his or her right to change?

"Fifty-one years later they met and are now filling in the gaps, solving untruths and putting their identity puzzle back together. Which also turns out to be part of the fabric that tells my story. My history and my racial identity. Hosting the Indigenous and World All Stars last week took on a different significance. I've always been proud that league celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have transformed the game, become superstars and important leaders in the community, but somehow that match meant more."

Now there are all sorts of Right wing apologists or denialists for this sort of incident, who try to explain it away as 'exaggerated' or that it was based on good intentions.

This is what the Northern Territory 'Protector of Natives' in the 1930s stated:

"Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation, all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our half-castes will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white."

There WAS an explicitly racist ideology to it. It may not have been in the minds of the foot soldiers for the decades of mass human theft, who saw it differently, but they were enabled by it.

The term 'stolen generations' - now ubiquitous in Australian discourse - was not used till the 1980s and there are still Right wing hacks, writing for the arsehole wing of the Murdoch press, among other places, who persist in calling it all a myth.


  1. Given the US history with the native Americans, then the slaves, don't take our advice.

    1. Last year, before my son’s school year started, a teacher invited him and few other boys out for ice-cream (it was summer) to meet an aboriginal student who divides his time between my son’s campus and one of the school’s other ones which in the deep Outback. The aboriginal student is somewhat nervous when in the city here and it was just to give him some faces he would know.
      We don’t know his exact age, he was born into his mother’s hands under a tree.
      It’s like one Australia occupies another – in some places utterly, and in some other places so diffusely it might as well still be the time before.
      We’ve mostly got our attitudes sorted out, in the mainstream sense, and since sport is worshipped here that has been much of the venue for setting things straight, but we're still not doing some things too well.

    2. "but we're still not doing some things too well."

      Far better than the US is, that's for certain. Hell, we've even got our own anti-black brigade dressed in police uniforms to help the privatized prisons fill their coffers and cells. And, if they can't get them into prisons, they just shoot and kill them.