It’s very easy to say “yes that ‘happened’, but we’ve moved on”, when you are on the perpetrating, winning or ‘privileged’ side of that ‘thing’ which ‘happened’.
I see it all the time in White Australia.
As a white kid growing up that was the attitude I was taught toward history, that history was just a bunch of interesting stories that happened in the past. Stories we should enjoy and remember, but barely any different from fiction.
Who knows what is and isn’t true about history I was told. History is written by the victor, I was told. History is mostly about wars and how they were won, I was told.
In White Australia, we do not pay much attention to history as a general social rule and where we do our inability to do so respectfully is infamous.
Tony Abbott’s latest declaration is absolutely indicative of that:
“The arrival of the first fleet was the defining moment in the history of this continent. Let me repeat that: it was the defining moment in the history of this continent,” (emphasis added).
Before this morning I did not even know of Gavin Jones.
A truth which is reflective of a reality Gavin dedicated his life to changing.
A reality in which figures of Indigenous excellence are routinely ignored and denied a voice by the vast majority of the white population and our institutions.
If we take away sports figures and artists, how many positive Indigenous role models or historical figures can you name? The honest answer is not enough.
It is clear Gavin was a man with vision, which is reflected in the Vision & Mission Statement of Deadly Vibe the company he founded:
Support all Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people in reaching their full potential by providing positive imagery, identifiable role models and quality media to improve community and quality of life.
“How Long will it take? How long do we wait? When we gonna get a new flag?” – exactly what Urthboy asks in his song “Empire Tags” on his most recent full album release “Smokey’s Haunt“, and it’s a question I can’t get out of my mind.
Urthy hits the nail on the head with the following lyric:
“From a time when the empire tagged the globe, We ain’t cleaned that graffiti off the front of our home”
Because that’s exactly what the Union Jack really is. The British supremacist gangs’ tag, emblazoned across the most prominent point of our national symbol; the ‘Australian’ flag.