It’s never a good time to be a part of a minority in a majority culture. The last couple of weeks have been a particularly bad time to be an African American, or a member of the Puntu Kunti Kurruma people from Western Australia.
The murder of George Floyd by police, so soon after the murder of Ahmaud Abery has resulted in protests and riots in the US. I’m not a political commentator, nor am I in the US so I’m not going to comment on the violence at all. What I will say is that black lives matter. African Americans should be able to go for a jog without being murdered. African Americans should be able to be arrested on suspicion of a crime and not be murdered.
I’ve been listening to The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, which details the migrations of African Americans from the south to the north as Jim Crow laws were put into place. I’m not far into it, and some of the details are truly horrifying.
And then I have to remember the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by white Australians over the last 200 + years is equally horrific. The First Nations folks weren’t even considered people until the referendum in 1967, only 6 years before I was born. Most of the really bad stuff isn’t recorded by the white people, and you will only hear by engaging with the stories of the people who lived it, or their descendants. I don’t remember learning in school that out west, white people would go out shooting Aboriginal men, women and children the way they would kangaroos. And yet that happened.
In Australian news this week, Rio Tinto destroyed a 46000 year old sacred site. They were allowed to, they had a contract.
What sort of bullshit is this? I know that capitalism rules the world but would this have happened if some white ‘explorer’ had carved his initials into a tree here? (Not the best example, but you get my point.)
The colour of your skin should not determine whether or not your cultural heritage is valued, respected and treasured.
The colour of your skin should not mean that you run a higher risk of ending up in jail than your white neighbour.
The colour of your skin should not mean you are going to be shot when you are going for a run.
When will it be enough?
I would urge you, if you can, to donate to one of the many charities or the gofundme account started by Floyd’s family. This site seems to have some great suggestions.
If you’re in Australia (or even if you’re not) I would strongly urge you to #paytherent by donating to an ATSI charity or supporting ATSI businesses. There are some great suggestions here.
But, I am a book blogger so I can suggest books. Support writers and their work and educate yourself on these matters. I know for me this is ongoing, and probably always will be.
I have put together a couple of stacks of excellent books by both Aboriginal Australians and African Americans. Have you read any of these?
I will never stop recommending the books in this stack. (Please note that The White Girl by Tony Birch would be in here as well if I owned a copy).
Let me know if you have any recommendations.