There is a strange concept adopted by many in Australia that in order to support Aboriginal rights, you must be Aboriginal.
Coming up to January 26th 2018, we are expecting to see the largest ever nation wide protests against Australia Day. Over the last few years the protest numbers have been growing but it is this year that we hope to see our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters step out of the shadows and march with us on Invasion Day.
We know there is a stigma or societal pressure that stands in your way, but we challenge you to be the bigger and better person to overcome it. Australia Day on January 26th will fall with or without your support but with your support it will happen much sooner than later.
In case you’re still not convinced to join one of the many Invasion Day rallies, let’s take a look at some of the weak arguments used to buy your silence.
1) You’re not Aboriginal
Okay, we’ve seen this a lot! Just last week Paul Murray from Sky news channel used this argument against the Greens announcement to campaign to change the date of Australia Day. Paul argued that because the Greens don’t have any Aboriginal senators they are somehow hypocrites. Well look what happens if we apply that same logic to other causes such as Animal rights or Gay rights etc. Do you have to be a whale to protest against whale hunting? Do you have to be gay to campaign for gay marriage? Wake up Australia, this argument is so 1940’s.
2) There are bigger Aboriginal issues that need to be addressed first
Firstly, to the people who say this, thanks for admitting Jan 26th is an issue. Sure there are loads of problems facing our communities. Domestic violence occurs at shocking rates and our suicide rates are some of the highest in the world. Health is a major concern with life expectancy rates up to two decades less than non-Indigenous Australia. If you heard this line from Jacinta Price and bothered to listen to the rest of her argument, she mentions that Invasion Day activists like us will never mention the faults of our people. Well we just mentioned them and we are positive our readers won’t be outraged that we did.
This argument also has strange logic much like the ‘you’re not Aboriginal’ logic. The wider Australian society isn’t perfect either. Domestic violence, drunken violence and suicide effects non-Indigenous people at alarming rates too. How would Australia react if the Olympic Committee banned Australia from competing at the Olympics until these rates improved dramatically?
3) No Aboriginal people died on January 26th 1788
On the morning of January 26th 1788, Arthur Phillip landed in Sydney Cove together with some marines and claimed possession of the land in the name of King George the 3rd. Whether or not any Aboriginal person was killed on this day is not clear. Some reports say that shots were fired by those marines who accompanied Phillip. Regardless, how is this moment a unifying moment? If not celebrating death on this day, it is still celebrating theft. The arrival of Europeans in Australia resulted in mass efforts to wipe out our people across Australia. Once again this is not something that should be forced upon us to celebrate. Since 1938 Aboriginal people have labelled January 26th as a national day of mourning. These sentiments continue today. The calls to change the date are not something new as people like Jacinta Price would like you to believe.
4) Some Aboriginal people have no problem with Australia Day
Sure, you have no doubt heard our so called Aboriginal leaders declare they have no problems with Australia Day. But when you look at what they are saying they are using the same illogical and weak arguments that we have outlined in this article. They are a minority with their own agendas.
So what will you be doing on January 26th? Will you be joining the likes of Pat Cash and Ed Sheeran by promoting and supporting Aboriginal rights? Will you show respect to Indigenous people who don’t want this day celebrated as an overt national day? Will you be joining one of the many Invasion Day protests or survival day events happening around Australia? Will you sit on the fence and stay at home? Or will you join the ignorant masses and celebrate the illegal claim of possession under the Union Jack flag?
Please don’t ask us which date we should celebrate as a national day. That day has not been created yet. That day will come when Indigenous and Non-Indigenous sit down as equals and work out a road map for the future of this country. When we are treated as equals in every aspect of this country (not undermined by British Monarchy) we will see improvements to many of our other problems both black and white too.