Sue Stanton, Darwin 2010

I could write a thousand words and more on the shennanigans over the past few days…but who better to comment on a stoush between a couple of black women than another one.

Just the other day Sue sent off her thoughts about Andrew Bolt.

Here are Sue’s thoughts on the more recent affair…

WOW!! I’m reading this article in The Australian 14th April and I’m offended by words from both Aboriginal women. I am saddened to read comments from both.

While not caring what anybody watches on nightly television, I must say I do think that Larissa is way out of order with the comparison she made – the analogy is just a bit too conceptual. And I reckon she must apologise to Bess for that remark.

At the same time I am astonished to read Bess’ attack on Larissa, and it seems, on all “white blackfellas”.

The ultimate sadness for me, is that these two Aboriginal women have let themselves get drawn into the colonisers’ old strategy of divide and conquer. Whitefellas just love to see this – this is great entertainment for them.

When are Aboriginal people ever going to wake up to the fact that this type of public argument between Aboriginal people (of varying degree of colour) is so damaging – to us, in the first instance?

I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of “The Intervention” except to say, like all things, some agree with it, some don’t.

I personally don’t agree with the way it was implemented or the framework in which it currently operates as I believe it is unfair and bad (and racist) policy – I name it “the racial contract”. And like all that has been offered to Aboriginal people since colonisation began in this country, “the intervention” (still) has not offered much in the way of socioeconomic equality.

“The Intervention” is not dissimilar to the earlier days of the assimilation policy but with no real eventual goal.

It is a justification for segregating Aboriginal people (on settlements/communities) and it has created an “us” and “them” argument that now divides Aboriginal people and further plays into the colonisers’ hands. It is about the ongoing exploitation of Aboriginal people, with economics at its very centre – and – it takes up all the space between Aboriginal people – keeping us separate – keeping us arguing and fighting.

All this comparison talk regarding “culture” is so damaging to Aboriginal people. This “us” and “them” mentality and attitude keeps us divided, while others lurk around us waiting to pick out the best pieces and make off with them – for their personal gain and glory.

I absolutely abhor how some Aboriginal people continue to make comparisons, learning off their white mates mostly, and making statements about what they consider “high” Aboriginal culture – that is “traditional/remote/community” and the culture of urban and not so remote Aboriginal people.

We all have rich cultures of which we are all equally proud.

My own culture comes from a proud and rich Kungarakan and Gurindji as well as “coloured” culture – from which a number of members of my family fought long and hard for basic rights for ALL Aboriginal people.

I am a member of the McGinness Family – the eldest Granddaughter of Jack McGinness, freedom fighter and committed human rights campaigner. The legacy of my Gurindji family and our early day revolutionaries at Wave Hill are also part of my rich culture and heritage. We continue our fight for freedom and rights in this country.

I do agree with Bess somewhat that too many urban/removed from grassroots Aboriginal people are consulted, and gladly give/sell advice to government and others – and that more Aboriginal voices, especially “on the ground” voices, should be heard and consulted.

But this is again, another tactic of white colonialism.

Colonists handpick their good and compliant natives…oops I mean advisers, so that they will get the answers and advice that government/others want. It is a clear, deliberate, and clever strategy – and colonists have perfected this after more than 500-odd years of colonisation around the globe.

But Bess, please don’t put us all in the same league. And don’t think we all “make money out of being blackfella” as some of us “townies” are actually persecuted because of our loyalty and commitment to being Aboriginal. Whether we are described as “white Aboriginals” or not is immaterial.

People like me know who we are and are proud of our roots – and I would like to remind all – did not choose to have this “fair skin” – its mostly beyond our control! But it does not makes us any lesser or any better than any other Aboriginal person in this country.

I’m not going to play the game of the coloniser, and am not going to be forced to accept all the legacies of colonialism. I am certainly going to continue to resist – to my dying day – that shit talk about who is more Aboriginal.

In my opinion, Larissa and Bess, and all other good Aboriginal women out there…and men…and children – should resist being drawn into that colonial mindset of conquer mentality, and its devious tactic of creating and fostering a “cultural war” between us.

We need to unite, to offer each other solidarity and support, don’t get caught up in this insidious personal mudslinging – and stop providing this gutter entertainment for the coloniser.

Some last words on “white blackfellas”. We are what people like Andrew Bolt and others might describe as such simply because of the destructive and contradictory nature of Australia’s assimilation policy. Most “white blackfellas” also did not make the choice to remove their Aboriginality – and just as many were not keen, and are still not keen, to embrace the status quo set down by the dominant culture.

I also want to remind you that for many of us, government policy has meant little more than removal and conversion, and dispossession from family as well as from land. Yes, being “white Aboriginal” might be our legacy now, but it certainly was not our choice.

Ernestine Hill (The Great Australian Loneliness, 1937) once described “white blackfellas” or “half castes” as “pitiable in that they are cursed with a dark skin in a white man’s country”.

Please, let us not have our own now describe us as being cursed with a white skin in a black man’s country.

Let us all respect each other and acknowledge our various contributions and our different opinions.

Aboriginal people must resist the ongoing colonisation and unite – before it is too late!

Sue Stanton


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