Bess Price’s comments are foolish

Bess Price’s comments about White Blackfellas  will one day come back to haunt her.  What goes around comes around, in Aboriginal politics.

It is a racial comment and out of step with the Racial Discrimination Act. It is unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

The vilification is common and one we have come to expect from those Aborigines who consider their own people with a light skin colour are a lesser social class than themselves. It is used to cower others and to gain an advantage in their work place, community or on the governance committee they may sit on.

If the comments can be considered  ‘fair comment’, then they are not construed as racial vilification.  But these comments are unprincipled and lack understanding and substance. You be the judge.

Racial discrimination is when a person is treated less favorably than another person in a similar situation because of their race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status.

Trashing the good will that existed with Amnesty International is not a way forward.  Amnesty, like many organisations before them, will go into their shell and wait until the Aboriginal movement becomes more mature and rises above the sandpit of kindergarten politics.  I sincerely hope that is not the case and that Amnesty continue to work with the people who face the most discrimination. They are the many thousands of people opposed to the Intervention and living under the most draconian and racist period of the modern era.

To understand the Bess Price comments we have to take a look at history.  Central Australia, where she comes from, was settled long after Tasmania, where Rodney Dillon of Amnesty’s heritage lies.

Bess Price comes from a group of Aborigines who are rich in land and rich in culture, simply because they were settled by the white folk long after the devastation of the invasion of Tasmania by sealers and then as a penal colony.

To not know about that history shows ignorance of the Aboriginal struggle for rights in Tasmania and of why Rodney Dillon and the Tasmanian Aborigines are a different skin colour.

It’s easy for an Aboriginal person with their language, stories and culture to slag off at the Aborigines that have fair skin, who don’t speak language, are from stolen generations and have not experienced ceremony.

It is well known in the Territory that Bess Price has political aspirations, she has learnt from the Pauline Hanson and John Howard song book, and is dog whistling to those voters on the margins.

Bess Price is not the only Aboriginal person that uses this kind of language and discrimination. There are others running around this country doing a great disservice to the whole Aboriginal population of this country.  Some head local and state boards and national boards. Their bullying, discrimination and the playing of the race card against other Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders is breathtaking.

 Spare a thought for the many dedicated campaigners who marched the streets, got jailed and beaten up, all for the cause of Aboriginal people’s rights. The trade unions played a substantial role with funding rallies and international lobbying.

They forged the road to make it possible for Aboriginal people to have a health service, legal services, media services,  enter universities, get a decent education, enter parliament, have land councils, co-operatives, enterprises; they set the ground work to get the land back.  Frank Hardy would be turning in his grave.

 The comment was a distasteful & penicious remark from a person who aspires to sit in the Territory Government. It opens up a window to the colour debate to those in the mainstream media who now have an aboriginal person with extreme views based on colour. Mainstream media enjoy a story that highlights the kindergarten “sandpit politics” of Aboriginal Australia.

2 responses

  1. Russell

    One thing I have noticed is bullying, sometimes within family and certainly within community. Could never understand this ‘bullying of one’s own’ until I reduced it back to issues of haves/have nots, jealousies and the use and/or abuse of power. I once asked a meeting why do aboriginals vote for the CLP? An answer didn’t come for some time, but it was, because we want to be seen to be on the side of the most powerful. Ignoring the delay of decades for some land rights claims (and who did that) it was, we considered we need to position ourselves and align with those exerting the most power over us. ‘Stockholm syndrome’ was a first thought but I believe it to be much more complex than that alone. After a while issues of payback come into play and the exercise of bestowed (party) political power is then most useful. It is like another trap has been set to sabotage efforts towards true self determination. It is always a disaster when we succumb to the invitation to continue to fight amongst ourselves. We do the job of dissembling ourselves for the more powerful ‘them’. ‘They’ then only need to press the buttons.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:46 am

  2. This sort of article is the exact reason she is speaking up. Shame on you for bringing the debate so low. Racial Discrimination Act, i mean really??

    May 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm

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