ANTaR has named their campain "Racism Makes Me Sick" to alert Australians, and others, that "many health problems in the Aboriginal community" is due to racism.
The link between health and racism will, of course, raise the eyebrows of bigots who won't want to believe that such a link exists, or is credible.
In fact, an ABC NEWS report covering ANTaR's campaign drew typically tiresome comments from racist naysayers and denialists. Why am I not surprised?
Here is a selection from the reverse-racism and blame the inferior Aboriginals for their conditions crowd:
22 Apr 2008 12:14:39pm
"I may be way of the mark here, but it seems to me that the more contact an aboriginal has with white society, the healthier (on average) they seem to be."
22 Apr 2008 10:55:26am
"yes but which way does the racism flow?? is it Aboriginals racist against the western health system or what? I know any form of racism is disgusting but alarmist approaches like this do nothing but excite the government into more funding and Indigenous Australians into less independence and less trust."
22 Apr 2008 10:57:46am
"Of course. It has to be racism.
It can't be tens of thousands of years of tradition, thrown about by colonisation/invasion of another people, and the apathy of the hence disadvantaged indigenous. As a "white" Australian I'm ashamed of my forebearers' actions, but the time is over for blaming people. Now is the time for action, and until indigenous Australians act coherently and collectively, they will be destined to accept politician's handouts. Handouts that appear to exacerbate drug and alcohol addiction, handouts that divide Australians, handouts that actually build racism. Just like any other people, indigenous Australians need real leaders- people who not only can not only achieve goals at a government level, but actually LEAD their people. A leader who can inspire them to lift themselves out of the mire of depression, addiction, despair and crime. Someone needs to rise to the task."
22 Apr 2008 11:06:01am
"When white settlement in Australia began over 200 years ago, the country was inhabited by nomadic tribes living in harmony with the environment. The British had a lot to answer for back then because of the disregard they had for the native population.
Like it or not, Australia is what it is today; like other countries around it, a modern industrialised community, and if the British hadn't come here somebody else would have.
We have a duty to provide care and support for the indigenous community, but does that mean that those who choose to live unhygenically by not keeping clean, eating a balanced diet, dressing neatly, drinking to excess, or neglecting the education of their families should blame those in the developed community and call it racism?"
22 Apr 2008 11:31:20am
"Has anyone done a study into the change in life expectancy of Aborigines since colonisation? I would be willing to bet is has increased."
The last comment is laughable at best.
I wonder if "Realist" knows how many Aborigines have died because of colonialism and occupation or how many Aboriginals there would be in occupied Australia today were it not for colonialism and its murderous thievery?
The sad part about the comments selection above, and there are worse ones for you to read, is that the racist mentality displayed is shared among colonial settler nations.
If you swop Aboriginal for Indian (Canada and US) or Black in South Africa, the self-rightous white 'logic' is the same:
'If only they would clean themselves (Natives are dirty to whiteness), find a job (white people are superior because they work hard), and act respectfully (allow whiteness its organic domination), their lives (colonized oppression) would be better and productive (in relationship to 'universal' and always superior white standards).
I do not know enough about ANTar to fully appreciate what they are seeking to achieve inside of colonized life in occupied Australia. My revolutionary fibre is not tuned into seeking accomodation and reconciliation inside of whiteness, so I am a little weary.
ANTar's assumption that Australia should be more like Canada and the US in posting health gains among 'its' original peoples strikes me as quite naive to say the least.
Still, their campaign is undeniably valuable to raise awareness of the causal link between racism and Aboriginal (and Torres Strait Islander peoples) health.
Thanks to the Angryindian for making me aware of the ANTaR campaign.