Colonisation Race

Dear Mr. Grant

Dear Mr. Grant,

It is a low act to play the racist card instead of having the courage to take on board criticism. But that is what you have done with respect to your comments on the coronation. You are good at dishing it out but cannot take it.

I am an Asian who couldn’t be bothered with viewing the coronation. But when I read about the sentiments you expressed I felt that you lacked intellectual depth. I am not a racist for thinking lowly of you. The people who criticised you are the tax-payers who are responsible for your salary. It seems like we are not getting our money’s worth from narrow minded people like you. And we have every right to complain. Your ancestry has nothing to do with it.

You must remember that ABC is a public broadcaster not a private concern. As such its staff has to represent all Australians, not just the woke element which dabbles in identity politics.

I’d like to make the following points for your benefit.

You are white man with aboriginal ancestry. You are more white than black and have encountered no barriers to success. Your mother is/was white and your father is/was of mixed ancestry (although probably more Aboriginal than you are). You are the product of racial mixing over several generations which makes you white as much as black. This is what you have cunningly downplayed in your family history.

While early miscegenation in Australia was the result of a power balance with white men taking advantage of Aboriginal women, over the past five generations or more, interracial relationships have been consensual with white women as likely to take Aboriginal men as partners as much as Aboriginal women take white men as partners. So what we are seeing is voluntary race mixing than genocide, with Aborigines developing closer genetic links with whites. With the merging of ethnicities Aborigines have developed cultural similarities with whites. This is probably one reason why Aborigines are so anti-Asian.

So please end this farce and stop parading as a blackfella. Stop this “I am a proud Wiradjuri man” nonsense. It is simply fashionable ethnicity with no practical life-style implications.

You have had a white education, live a white life-style and receive a handsome white salary. None of this would have been possible without white colonisation. If Aborigines (pure, mixed and almost white) genuinely want to shed their whiteness and their British heritage they should give up boxing, rugby league, cricket, country music, the English language, employment in the public service and media, to name a few interests and occupations. In fact you are a living embodiment of Australia’s British heritage which you revile. You thrive on the fruits of colonisation while condemning it.

I don’t suppose you would like to revert to a hunter-gatherer existence as a means of identifying with whatever aboriginality you embody? If you really think that the British monarchy is indirectly responsible for the person you are, thank the monarchy not criticise it. But the monarchy isn’t responsible for what occurred in Australia.

The bill of rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 turned Britain into a constitutional monarchy. A constitutional monarchy is a de facto republic. Britain may have created an empire in the name of its monarchs, but that doesn’t mean that the monarchy created and enacted the policies that affected indigenous people. This was the work of the British parliament and the colonial authorities.

As part of its British inheritance Australia inherited a de facto republic. The only thing that will change if Australia becomes a de jure republic is that the head of state will be Australian. It is a symbolic change. Australia will not automatically revert to what it was like in 1788 on becoming a republic, a move I am supportive of.

The point I want to make is that if the British monarchy didn’t rule Britain how could it have ruled Australia? The fact is that the harm inflicted on Aborigines was the work of settlers including your white ancestors from your mother’s side, and probably the ancestors of your part-Aboriginal and white partners. Yet, you carry on as if all the bad things done to Aborigines was the work of the British monarchy. Why should us tax-payers subsidise your ignorance and irrationality?

In 2009 I did a tour of Mungo National Park with an Aboriginal guide. Like you he was critical of the British and showed little sensitivity towards the two young English couples in the group. Without any prompting he criticised those who scoffed at Aborigines of mixed descent who looked white. He said that fair skinned Aborigines were the norm because Aborigines as a whole were being bred out and very soon there would be no full bloods left. He didn’t point out the causes of this process, namely, white tolerance and the intermarriages that flow from it.

More significantly, he added that white Australians would experience the same fate and described how, on a trip to Darling Harbour he stepped out of the building he was in and disapprovingly thought he was in Asia not in Australia. He wouldn’t have thought he was in Asia if Darling Harbour was filled with white faces. He clearly associates Australia with whiteness.

On the return journey to Mildura he described his experience on entering England, recounting with glee how when a Briton of Indian descent working in customs asked him what he planned to do in “his” country, and he replied that he thought he was in Britain not India. The implication was that an Indian had no right to claim Britain as his country. It is not known whether the customs officer had a British accent or not. But our guide was associating England with exclusive whiteness and I wonder how he feels about Britain’s current PM? And I suspect that he feared Australia becoming less white and therefore less of the country he feels comfortable in.

In countries forged through European settlement, indigenous and historically oppressed minorities have an ambiguous attitude towards the mainstream. On the one hand they present themselves as victims of a white society which continues to discriminate against them. By the same token they see their identity as a privileged minority being protected by the very mainstream they vilify. And it takes the influx of large amounts of non-English speakers and non-white people to remind them of how European and mainstream they are, and the extent to which they are genetically and culturally intertwined with the white population I am reminded of two African-Americans in conversation at the Greyhound bus station in Memphis in 1992 in which one of them told the other that they had lost Miami, meaning that non English speakers had taken over the city. Not simply by listening to Charles Perkins, but also by eavesdropping on conversations between Aborigines, I have long realised that while Aborigines phrase their radicalism in anti-European rhetoric, they at the same time express a parochialism and an anti-Asian racism at odds with the one world view of the predominantly white chattering classes.

The world was getting smaller in the eighteenth century through advances in seafare and there was no way in which the Aboriginal population was going to inhabit such a large land mass uninterrupted. In hindsight the process of dispossession could have been handled better. But dispossession was inevitable. And the invasion of this land, whatever it was called then, was not dissimilar to the Norman invasion of Britain.

If you really want to attack racism I suggest that you focus on Aboriginal racism towards Asians. And take a look at yourself and measure the extent to which you and your fellow Aborigines unconsciously embrace whiteness. It would appear that you blokes, for all your rhetoric are more comfortable with a white Australia as against a brown Australia.

Intermarriage between whites and aborigines is now the norm. It shows a lack of racism. And all this is happening while we remain a constitutional monarchy. This country doesn’t need an Australian head of state to be tolerant. Moving from a de facto republic to a de jure republic won’t make whites and Aborigines better disposed to each other than they already are.

You talk a lot about truth telling but approach the truth selectively. I suggest that you take a cue from me and cut through to the bone. Remove your ideological blinkers and stop cultivating victimhood. Start by having a good look at yourself. Get in touch with your white roots. They are no less important, and probably more, than your Aboriginal ancestry.

Yours with absolute contempt,

Eardley Lieversz (a former Sri Lankan, now a proud Australian)

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