Guest Post: Philippa Martyr – Check your privilege

In her recent online stoush with a group of angry transgenderites, Julie Burchill was told to ‘Check her privilege’. What on earth does this mean? Well, depending on who you ask, it’s either:

an online expression used mainly by social justice bloggers to remind others that the body and life they are born into comes with specific privileges that do not apply to all arguments or situations. (knowyourmeme.com)

or

“A term screamed by far left sheltered liberals when they hear a white person say something that might offend someone that isn’t a straight white male.” (urbandictionary.com)

In this case, the rough translation was that “Burchill should shut up because she was born with lady bits.”

The racial politics have been playing thick and fast in Australia of late. What I haven’t noticed is the most vocal participants in the current slanging match stopping at any time to check their privilege.

What privilege? The privilege of people living affluent middle-class lifestyles, on very healthy incomes, living in the suburbs they choose to live in, and sending their kids to the schools they want them to attend.

This is not about anyone’s right to identify as Aboriginal if they choose. It’s about people who are living a lifestyle indistinguishable from the rest of the affluent class in Australia, but who nonetheless argue for and obtain special treatment, based on who their grandparents were.

In any other country, this would be called ‘aristocracy’. In Australia, it’s grounds for lawsuits, attempts to obtain compensation payments, and a prodigious amount of what is best described as emotional blackmail. The disgraceful Goodes incident is a case in point: a wealthy, famous, young man was allowed to get away with – and was rewarded for – bullying a poorly-educated and disadvantaged 13 year old girl.

I look at the winners of Indigenous scholarships and cadetships, and I don’t need to comment on skin colour, because it’s completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that these people are almost universally from privileged backgrounds that are indistinguishable from mine.

I’d happily bet that, like me, these people had poor grandparents and aspirational parents. Like me, they may be the first generation of their family to go to university, and as a result they are now earning good money themselves. And it’s because of this that they don’t need help, especially not help that has been created to try to assist a group of people who haven’t enjoyed their privileged background.

I have said elsewhere that what we have in common with Aboriginal people is far greater than what separates us:

if we really want reconciliation, we must look at our common history and experiences in this country; our shared heritage of poverty and mismanagement, and also our shared growth, triumphs and failures.

Ron Merkel QC himself said that Bolt’s remarks were ““a head-on assault on a group of highly successful and high-achieving” Aborigines. But if these people – and others like them – are highly successful and high-achieving, then where are the genuinely impoverished and genuinely underprivileged Aboriginal people who these scholarships and cadetships and other incentives were designed to help?

Were there no applicants from these backgrounds? If not, why not? Why aren’t we fostering genuine aspirations in this population?

I’m not starting the next class war, or at least not deliberately (the ABC has anticipated me there). I just think that perhaps the next time an affluent, well-paid, well-educated, articulate person starts speaking about injustice and racism – purportedly on behalf of other Aboriginal people – we need to start asking them to check their privilege.

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98 Responses to Guest Post: Philippa Martyr – Check your privilege

  1. steve

    A very good point. If I may paraphrase, people who have never been discriminated against are claiming public money meant for those that have been discriminated against, thus preventing people that actually have been discriminate against from having access to said money.

  2. Cato the Elder

    Nailed it, Philippa. Well said.

  3. steve

    btw, if anyone saw it this morning on Sky, Dreyfus went to town on the Bolt case with some extremely inaccurate statements, imho.

  4. Cato the Elder

    Steve, the key problem has always been that the money was earmarked by race, so they can scream “Aren’t I black enough?” if challenged.

    Get rid of the race linkage and reclassify the money as remote area/ disadvantaged and none of these already affluent moochers could qualify.

  5. Tracey

    Thank you Philippa, that’s an excellent read.

  6. Infidel Tiger

    The culture of victim hood has gone berserk. Everyone has to have a sob story.

    I read some puff piece the other day on some stunningly beautiful glamazon who had to of course add in that she was bullied at school because she was tall and skinny. Poor fucking dear. I have no idea how she survived.

    “Life wasn’t easy growing up. Dad’s work meant we were moving every few months… Usually to different ski resorts in Europe or the family’s villa in Maui for school holiday…”

  7. Cato the Elder

    Life wasn’t easy growing up.

    Life is never easy growing up. A succession of ski resorts would, however, be less hard than oh, say, starving in a war zone.

    FMD what a tosser.

  8. Nic

    We’ll said. I suspect what sticks in Bolt’s craw and indeed strikes a chord with many of us is, why are initiatives that are developed with the aim of helping break particular cycles, going to those who have come from middle class backgrounds? A further issue is the division of Australians by race, by bring able to select parts of our own genetic makeup, possibly for advantage. This is wrong, but goes to type. The left love sneering at bogans, at the same time decrying the creation of class distinctions. It is the left who continue. To drive class based wedges, whether by colour, genetics or lifestyle.

  9. Infidel Tiger

    Cato that last quote was something I made up.

  10. Andrew

    The problem is, some of these Fauxboriginals are actually wealthy and successful by virtue of occupying positions that are only created for race. I won’t name anyone for fear of Sinc joining Bolt, but I gather jobs like Deputy Vice Chancellor of Indigenous Matters carries the sort of wage that one might expect of, well, a Deputy Vice Chancellor position.

    Now of course, somebody must first be a professor to be in contention for a Deputy VC gig. Still, very nice position to be in, given that a similarly coloured Swedish Presbyterian would have virtually no chance if there was a competitive application process for that job. Could be wrong, Philippa – have you had any luck with your application?

  11. Free Advice

    Do they mean check it in at the door with the coat rack?

    This is precisley the advice that the white nine need to take at the front door of their regional universities when applying for scholarships meant for remote aboriginals.

  12. Cato the Elder

    Gullible me. Obviously my bullshit detector wasn’t functioning.

  13. Molly Molloy

    Well said Philippa. A privilege to read.

  14. Tom

    Of course, you’ve nailed it, Philippa. But you have made the fatal error of analysing what is a bizarre mental illness, into which the fruitcake left has woven itself, far beyond the reach of concepts like logic or rationality. Instead, I recommend you dive into the website you found, http://www.knowyourmeme.com, for classics like this:

    He should like learn from his mistakes, but at the same time, like, he’s like young still and he’s just like, there’s a lot of pressure like on him right and like, I just like, I just think people should just like back off. – Roxy, Justin Bieber fan.

  15. Turtle of WA

    Spot on Phillipa.

  16. Cold-Hands

    Cato that last quote was something I made up.

    Philippa, your mum needs a good spanking.

  17. Sinclair Davidson

    Isn’t part of the problem that individuals are being accused of somehow being dishonest when very often they are simply being opportunistic? So if a high-paying job or award of grant had “evil, bald, fascist gnome” as a selection criteria why shouldn’t I apply? Even if I disagree with the criteria?

  18. Sinclair Davidson

    Philippa, your mum needs a good spanking.

    I’m sure he’d enjoy that.

  19. Cato the Elder

    Cato that last quote was something I made up.

    Philippa, your mum needs a good spanking.

    Sorry, CH, I don’t see the connection?

  20. Sinclair Davidson

    Cato – insider joke.

  21. Cato the Elder

    Isn’t part of the problem that individuals are being accused of somehow being dishonest when very often they are simply being opportunistic?”

    Quite. That part of the problem could be fixed by redesigning the benefits program (assuming we have to have one) to take race out and put disadvantage front and centre.

  22. Cato the Elder

    Block quote closure fail. My bad.

  23. Cato the Elder

    Cato – insider joke.

    Oh, okay.

    (Block quote success!!)

  24. Nic

    Sinc, that’s true. Thus, the problem lies with institutions that build and start such fires, the ABC, Fairfax and our Universities.

  25. Tel

    I think the common expression is: “First world problems.”

  26. Infidel Tiger

    Isn’t part of the problem that individuals are being accused of somehow being dishonest when very often they are simply being opportunistic?”

    Probably why the number of people claiming to be Aboriginal has doubled from one census to the last one. Now I know the baby bonus was popular with some young aboriginal kids, but to effect that sort of change they must have all been going at it hammer n’ tongs.

    More likely being aboriginal is now like Buddhism. It’s a state of mind that doesn’t require too much commitment unless you are unlucky enough to be one of those black aborigines stuck in some desert shanty.

  27. Squirrel

    I assume “check her/your privilege” is a recent mutation of “check your assumptions” a rather twee and overdone phrase from the 80s and 90s.

    While we’re on this subject, checking of one’s privileges might be a useful admonition for non-indigenous Australians (particularly those whose family wealth was founded on, or materially assisted by, Aboriginal dispossession) who bleat about injustice, but do nothing practical – and certainly make no sacrifices – to remedy it.

  28. lotocoti

    … very often they are simply being opportunistic?

    I’d say they have the means and opportunity.
    You’d think anyone in those circumstances, with even the smallest sense of honour, would yield to those of a greater need.

  29. tomix


    Get rid of the race linkage and reclassify the money as remote area/ disadvantaged and none of these already affluent moochers could qualify.

    Then you’d have the children of the squattocracy getting the grant due to an accountants skills.

    Get rid of these divisive programs. Isn’t Australia the land of opportunity anyway?

  30. Infidel Tiger

    Get rid of these divisive programs. Isn’t Australia the land of opportunity anyway?

    If you fill out the right forms it sure is.

  31. Gab

    Entertaining and informative post, Philippa. Thank you.

  32. Foggyfig

    I worked in the Kimberleys in the early 80′s and became friends with a lovely family. Father white, mother Chinese Aboriginal. One of their children was asked to attend Uni (by ?ATSIC) – all costs paid. Tuition, rent, airfares home every break etc etc. He declined even though he was hassled a fair bit by the company (not his parents).

    Besides the fact that he had already been offered an apprenticeship in his chosen trade (on his merits not his race), his reason was why should he have all that given to him on a platter because of his heritage and take the place of a student that had worked for their place at Uni.

  33. Delta A

    Excellent article, Philippa. You have written exactly what I’ve been thinking for ages now. But it’s a sign of our nanny-infested times that at first I had an anxious little gasp, fearful that you would be smote on the spot for daring to speak the truth.

    It had to be said and your stated it most eloquently.

  34. hammy

    Actually Philippa’s article is rather racist in content. She’s not far from repeating the Bolt mantra. The only thing that may save her from prosecution is that this is a rather obscure blog rather than the mass circulation Herald-Sun and Daily Telegraph.

    There’s even a case that can be made out for a charge of contempt of court for repeating the offensive Bolt stuff.

  35. Delta A

    Here’s Hammy to do the smoting!

  36. Delta A

    Or smiting, as it happens.

  37. Gab

    Actually Philippa’s article is rather racist in content.

    You’re far too predictable these days, Hammy. Up your game.

    Besides, you’re a white heterosexual able-bodied male so what would you know about these things anyway.

  38. C.L.

    … I don’t need to comment on skin colour, because it’s completely irrelevant.

    No no. Don’t submit to Stockholm Syndrome.

    It IS relevant.

    They are NOT black and they are NOT Aborigines.

  39. tomix

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the next gravy train off the rank is reparations for South Sea Islanders [Kanakas]brought to Qld as indentured labourers on cane plantations in the 19th. Century.

    ALP sponsored legislation [White Australia] caused most to be deported in 1906-08.

    There’ll be gold in tracking and compensating their descendants.

  40. Andrew

    Isn’t part of the problem that individuals are being accused of somehow being dishonest when very often they are simply being opportunistic?

    I don’t think any of these Fauxboriginals are actually accused of dishonesty. At least, not in milking the system from they are born till several days after they die. The rules are what they are, and if you can find a distant ancestor to trigger your entitlement then we can discuss our contempt of the system and of the people of abuse it just like we can the people who choose to spend their entire life on centrelink benefits. Doesn’t mean that were specifically accusing anybody of dishonesty.

    However, they don’t like having it pointed out that they are taking the piss. At that point, a whole lot of fraudulent allegations normally spew forth. That is where the dishonesty arises.

  41. Big Nana

    Occasionally I hold my nose and dive into the cesspool of Indigenous Facebook sites. Not too often because it’s injurious to one’s health unless you’re an aggrieved, fair skinned victim with a granny who grew up in a mission somewhere. Although I’m an evil white person, I have 28 indigenous descendants, all living remote or in small towns in the top end, some still speaking language and sons who went through initiation the old way. So I figure I have a little expertise in the area.
    The mantra amongst the faux aborigines is that colour is not an issue, it’s the culture man! It’s the spiritual connection with the land!
    However, when I ask for concrete examples of cultural practises that set them aside from their white neighbours, or how well they would actually survive in The bush given their “spiritual connection” I am inevitably met with a barrage of abuse and demands to have me banned.
    Not one of them would survive a week in a remote community. The sheer level of violence and dysfunction is out of the range of the average Australian. As Bess Price said on the SBS show “you people just don’t get it”

  42. Big Nana

    PS – asked a couple of the older grand kids about this “spiritual connection” . They tell me they’ll let me know when they find it.

  43. thefrollickingmole

    I cant blame some people for hooking into the “Aboriginal” angle.

    Ive been jobseeking for about 4 months and nearly every entry level mining job requires certificate this/experience that etc.
    Then theres the ones for “Aboriginal tire fitter” or “Aboriginal truck operator” where (with good intentions) the sole employment criteria are
    a: Will you work for us?
    B: Are you Aboriginal?

    As long as its a semi skilled job (not requiring advanced qualifications) all training is provided.

    It is “nice” in its intent, but racist in its execution.

  44. Des Deskperson

    ‘What I want to know is, just why the fuck are these disgustingly racist scholarships, cadetships, grants, black welfare, everything given to blacks only, still allowed to exist in our non-discriminatory, equal opportunity world’

    Well. believe it or not, there actually are Indigenous Australians that are still suffering considerable disadvantage compared to every other group in Australia, including in education and health and in levels of incarceration that ought to be a source of national shame. There is still a strong case for some form of affirmative action to help these people.

    I have had some experience with the Australian Public Service Indigenous Traineeship scheme, which would appear to come within Peter56′s definition of ‘discrimination’. This scheme takes mainly disadvantaged, marginalised and under educated young Indigenous people and gives them skills, experience and work habits. It’s good and it works!!

    It is, of course, in stark contrast to other public sector Indigenous ‘affirmative action’ employment programmes – cadetships and graduate recruitment programmes – which are recruited almost entirely from the Indigenous middle class – often the sons and daughters of senior Indigenous public servants. These programs should be scrapped and the money channelled into Indigenous traineeships.

  45. thefrollickingmole

    Des Deskperson

    In furious agreement with most of that.

  46. Ellen of Tasmania

    Isn’t part of the problem that individuals are being accused of somehow being dishonest when very often they are simply being opportunistic?

    That’s Peter Schiff’s argument about welfare in general. These people are acting in their own self interest. However you see it, the fact that so many people feel comfortable about taking what we would once have described as ‘charity’ shows an overall change in cultural norms and standards.

    Schiff likens it to people pulling a cart. Our cultural understanding was that it was good to help people who were unable to help themselves, so we were happy to have them ride in the cart. There might be a few fakers amongst them but there were still lots of people to pull. What happens when more and more people look at the cart, look at how hard they are working to pull it and the small number pulling with them, so opt to join the carried ones?

    Remember Alfred Doolittle (My Fair Lady)? He was a guilt-free free-loader.

  47. Ellen of Tasmania

    believe it or not, there actually are Indigenous Australians that are still suffering

    Des Deskperson, couldn’t private individuals or charities provide the assistance that these – and other – needy people would benefit from without any government involvement?

  48. Andrew

    You’re far too predictable these days, Hammy. Up your game.

    Besides, you’re a white heterosexual able-bodied male so what would you know about these things anyway.

    Gab, I always pictured the creator of the “Hammy” character intended for him to be played as mentally disabled.

  49. iamok

    I reckon Demetriou resigned from the AFL CEO gig is because he couldn’t get his coup de grace “Anyone we have forgotten about but shouldn’t have” round in the AFL this year, to go with all the other hand wringing bloody crap.

  50. iamok

    check for spelling and grammar before hitting “post comment” button.

  51. Max

    Get rid of these divisive programs. Isn’t Australia the land of opportunity anyway?
    If you fill out the right forms it sure is.

    I am 1/8th Aboriginal but look white, growing up in Doonside it was the family secret and a source of shame for my mother. we were never allowed to tell anyone and never allowed to “tick the box” on any medical forms, school forms or university forms. mum had 1 saying “NO excuses”

    We all went to uni and 2 postgrad and all have high paying professional jobs and do community work here and there.

  52. Joe Goodacre

    Excellent article.

  53. Joe Goodacre

    Max, it’s unfortunate your mum was ashamed by her heritage, but I’m a big fan of her mantra.

    No excuses works in every facet of life. It’s also the ultimate ticket to personal happiness.

  54. Joe Goodacre

    Big Nana, your story sounds interesting, are you able to share a bit more?

  55. iamok

    Des respective govt treatment of aboriginal disadvantage is shameful. I am truly sorry for this, and we now can do something about this. Whatever happened – right, wrong, good,bad – has happened. What is happening now is different altogether.

  56. Joe Goodacre

    Hammy,

    If you’re going to take the effort to comment here, you may as well put a decent argument together.

    Forget all the fist clenching and contempt of court rubbish – on a basic level, what’s racist about it?

  57. Gab

    I was under the (abviously mistaken) impression that these grants, scholarships and prizes were directed at underprivekded Aboriginals, not those from a middle-class urban background who already have many benefits available to them regardless of their heritage.

    Bindi Cole also remarked that there are no full-blooded Aborigines left in Australia. Apart from the fact that her statement is wrong, apart from her using that “argument” to justify her getting grants/prizes for having Aboriginal heritage but not being underprivileged, I found her statement to be racist.

  58. Max

    Joe Goodacre

    I look like a male version of this

    http://dfat.gov.au/jobs/staff/cadet-profile-sarah.html

    I considered “ticking the box” recently when I had to pay $89 for a GP visit just to get a script repeat. I felt to guilty to do so even though I would have been stealing from the owners of the medical centre (rather than disadvantaged kids)

  59. Gab

    Sorry, I didn’t preview before pressing the ‘post comment’ button.

  60. Big Nana

    Joe, I contributed a chapter to a book published last year, edited by Anthony Dillon. It’s called “in Black and White, All Australian at the Crossroads” . My chapter was titled ” A Life Remote, My own Cultural Journey”. Part of my story is in that chapter. I have had a very full and interesting life, and experienced things very few white people get to see or do. I count myself very lucky, despite all the accompanying ups and downs. I currently live in Broome, with a houseful of indigenous grand kids and life is great. Retirement is great. Gardening, reading, blogging on Indigenous issues and living in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Doesn’t get much better.

  61. Big Nana

    Gab, Bindi Cole needs to get out more. Even in the shopping centres in Darwin you find groups of full bloods chattering away in language. And most of them consider “yella fellas” not to be Aboriginal. And yes, according to my Tiwi Island grand kids, that term is still in use.

  62. Abu Chowdah

    Hammy is the classic self-loathing white beta-male. There can be no doubt he’s hung like a champignon, on the basis of his received views.

  63. Gab

    I wish you’d blog here more, Big Nana. You have much to add to the conversation, in terms of insight, experience, uncommon sense and educating those of us who have little or no experience of the real issues concerning non-urban and underprivileged Aborigines, a conversation, btw, we are not supposed to have becuase of “shut up, you racist” counterargument (not that anyone with an iota of intelligence or self-awareness would call the counter an argument).

  64. Des Deskperson

    “.. couldn’t private individuals or charities provide the assistance that these – and other – needy people would benefit from without any government involvement?”

    Indeed, Ellen. But until such assistance is more widely available, the Australian Public service:
    (a) is a significant employer of people
    (b) can provide a very wide range of administrative and management experience
    (c)is required by its legislation to eliminate workplace discrimination and to foster diversity.

    So it’s probably a good place to model these initiatives.

  65. Joe Goodacre

    Max,

    Good on you.

    As Sinc says, it’s not evil to be opportunistic… everyone on welfare is only responding to the incentives presented to them.

    Restraining from profiting from those opportunities is called personal integrity though – walking the talk is what gives people the courage of their convictions.

  66. Joe Goodacre

    Thanks Big Nana,

    What do you think are the big issues facing Indigenous Australians – any ideas for solutions as well?

  67. gabrianga

    Words of wisdom from Big Nana again.

    Just looking at Abbott’s “expert” committee on Aboriginal Affairs it appears nothing has been learned since the “good old ATSIC days” with a paucity of full blood Aborigines who live in the hardship and squalor we are all willing to aid.

    Problem still seems to be the “big money” spent on lobbying the U.N. attending overseas “indigenous rights” conferences and sometimes protesting against development, doesn’t hit the ground where it is needed most.

    $400,000 beach houses for the “chosen few” is not what we pay taxes for.

  68. steve

    Big Nana - And most of them consider “yella fellas” not to be Aboriginal.

    For a white fella born in the city, I would be interested in knowing where the black fellas draw the line on what is Aboriginal and what is not. For me it would be a bit galling if an outsider claimed some or all of the Aboriginal culture.

  69. Myrddin Seren

    Fortunately, you can check your privilege at

    checkmyprivilege.com

    ( h/t PWAF )

    before risking a cultural or social faux pas by commenting on a subject off limits to yourself.

    For example, the apparently Caucasian, middle-aged, probably hetro-normative beneficiary of patriarchy who had the temerity to ask Lisa Wilkinson about quotas versus ability on Q&A. Fortunately for him, she slapped his privilege back in his face before he could go too far with it and provoke a riot amongst the Permanently Outraged Q&Q audience.

  70. Rabz

    They are NOT black and they are NOT Aborigines.

    592 words compressed into nine.

    Well done, CL.

  71. Ellen of Tasmania

    Indeed, Ellen. But until such assistance is more widely available

    You don’t think that private charity decreases where public welfare increases?

  72. Piett

    You don’t think that private charity decreases where public welfare increases?

    There is a crowding-out effect, but it’s not huge. I remember an article — sorry, don’t have a link to hand — in which they compared the rate of charitable giving across US states with variable levels of state taxation. If there was less tax, there was more charity (after controlling for income and other factors) but it wasn’t a 1 for 1 increase, it was only something like 1 or 2 cents of extra charity for each less dollar in tax. I think we can and should reduce entitlements in all sorts of ways, but a basic safety net is something that only government can realistically do. And if the program that Des mentioned actually gets people, who would not otherwise be employed, off welfare, it sounds worth it.

    Incidentally, the OP is a great article. “Check your privilege” is a phrase to watch out for on lefty blogs, because it is normally the opening volley in a bitter civil war. Lefties will soon be shrieking at each other about who deserves highest victim status. Pull up a chair, get a bucket of popcorn, enjoy.

  73. Adam D

    Well. believe it or not, there actually are Indigenous Australians that are still suffering considerable disadvantage compared to every other group in Australia, including in education and health and in levels of incarceration that ought to be a source of national shame. There is still a strong case for some form of affirmative action to help these people.

    No there is not. Needs based social action would still help the disadvantaged with the added bonus of not requiring pigment testing first. The colour of the skin and even the circumstances of their ancestors are and should be treated as completely irrelevant. Are Caucasians disadvantaged by Asian kids at school or is it perhaps a cultural issue at play? I would wager that affirmative action and other measures that remove the autonomy and responsibility from the indigenous community are the real cause of the disadvantage (n statistics) that they face currently and not as a result of past actions or of their dark skin.

  74. Big Nana

    I personally don’t care who calls themselves what but identity has become a huge issue and I really think the government needs to rethink the definition of indigenous. Acceptance of status seems to differ a little amongst remote inhabitants and from my observations it seems the further away from tradition the community is, the lighter the skin of the accepted ones. For instance, Tiwi Islanders, off the top end are still very cultural, both in language and habit and whilst my half caste grandchildren are accepted as Tiwi Islanders, they will never be seen as full aboriginal. In other communities where I have grandchildren and the language and culture is dying out the tolerance for lighter skin is obvious, as long as that person has grown up in, or near the community and has knowledge of family lines, fishing spots etc.
    In towns of course, or place like Darwin, people are accepted either on appearance or the locals personal knowledge of someone’s claim to identity. The issue of employment in indigenous positions is that jobs go to local people, some of them fair skinned, but up here even the lighter ones still maintain contact with their family land and community. As more and more full bloods and darker community kids get better education I would expect to see a higher representation of them in the public service over the coming years. All the community kids board in private colleges, and whilst most don’t cope because of lack of literacy skills, more and more are slowly getting through. They are the ones that are going to be the threat to the gravy train

  75. Cato the Elder

    They are the ones that are going to be the threat to the gravy train

    Good.

  76. I don’t have any words of wisdom on the issue. The whole scenario is so depressing and seems to be going backward in proportion to the the amount of alcohol and drugs being used. Child abuse and neglect is rampant in many areas. Welfare dependency is killing people and political correctness prohibits sane discussion of the matter. In the chapter I wrote I quoted a saying my husband had, before his death over 20 years ago. It’s even more relevant today than it was then. “Aboriginal people will never achieve equality until they are treated exactly the same as everyone else, and whilst they have been given equal rights, no one has imposed equal responsibility.”

  77. coz

    Like I have said previously as regards disability criteria, there is an overriding criteria in the DSM (diagnostic bible) that in order to qualify as disabled, the condition has to have had a significant negative effect on ones life – there are people who demand a disability dx, despite meeting the basics of normal/not significantly negative effect (ie long term relationship and fulltime work), some of ‘em just want access to handouts, but also some of those people just want an expert to confirm their suspicions, so there is some leeway there. It is valid to talk about such matters as regards the category of people who class themselves as disadvantaged, and that’s not something that should be censored by phony ‘laws’.

  78. In any other country, this would be called ‘aristocracy’.

    Ha ha, that’s an insight. As Voltaire said, “If you want to know who rules you, find out who you are not allowed to criticise.”

  79. Yes, I agree Coz, and in the area of Indigenous disadvantage, being born Indigenous is not in itself a disadvantage. In fact in many cases it can be an actual advantage. There are those who claim the colour of their skin leads to discrimination however my husband was obviously Aboriginal and he was never out of work a day from the age of 14 and at the time of his death had a small business. Yet he grew up before citizenship rights were around. Other people like Bess Price also say they have had no problem with racism so to me it’s a case of , if you look hard enough for racism you will find it.

  80. Des Deskperson

    ‘I would wager that affirmative action and other measures that remove the autonomy and responsibility from the indigenous community are the real cause of the disadvantage ‘

    Not, I think, the particular Indigenous traineeship programme that I referred to, which simply gives the disadvantaged a leg up into employment, after which they are on their own, having to compete on merit for further promotion like everyone else.

  81. They are NOT black and they are NOT Aborigines.

    592 words compressed into nine.

    Well done, CL.

    Ahhh, but I am NOT interested in the racial aspect; to me it is the biggest red herring out there.

    I think the discussion we should be having is one about socio-economic status and its accoutrements – education levels, income levels, social capital, etc etc etc.

    Des Deskperson, thank you for your encouraging words about programs that do work. I am all for the highest aspirations a person can have. Whether they are all realistic or not is beside the point – unless you think it first, it will never happen.

    And dear Hammy – thank you for your comments, which showed that you have once again completely missed the point. Fancy little me goading you sufficiently into commenting at all. (But I’ll claim the bonus point for Quadrant this time, just out of courtesy.)

  82. Cato that last quote was something I made up.

    Philippa, your mum needs a good spanking.

    Mum has made up stuff all her life, pet. It’s a burden, but I carry it nobly.

  83. And finally – thank you Big Nana! It’s great to hear about the future threat to the gravy train. You must be very proud of them.

  84. CameronH

    The idea of white privilege comes from the field called “Whiteness Studies”. This has developed over the past couple of decades and is now taught in even our Australian universities. The basic concept is that white people are natural and inherently racists. They just can’t help themselves and it is probably genetic. This is why we need strong government programs to protect everybody from white people. You should realize that white is not a protected attribute in our racial discrimination laws so, if you are white, you can be vilified and discriminated against with impunity. This is because you are already topped up to the brim with “privilege”.

    Subsequently white people have constructed our society to give themselves a “privilege” over non white people. This privilege is covert and not easy to see unless you are given the code and this is why you need to do a course on whiteness studies and to always remind white people that they are basically evil and should have no say in anything.

    It is interesting that when you really look into the field it starts to look like the eugenics arguments that the progressives developed in the early twentieth century that eventually turned into the National Socialists race theories with hatred of the the Jews being now displaced by a hatred of white people. This ios the new and fashionable racism. One of the founders of this evil doctrine,a Professor Noel Ignatiev, has even called for the elimination of the white race. He did not say how this should be bought about but, as with Adolf’s final solution, humans have ever been imaginative with their efforts of destruction.

    I would urge everybody here to do a search on this issue to see the spread of the new racism. I am astounded that any modern university would entertain such despicable race theory studies and that they are probably funded by tax payers money.

  85. Cato the Elder

    Ignatiev looks to be a good old-fashioned Maoist, pushing class warfare with a racial overtone. Nothing new there at all. He even sounds half-way reasonable, at least some of the time. I find nothing objectionable in this, for example:

    When we say we want to abolish the white race, we do not mean we want to exterminate people with fair skin. We mean that we want to do away with the social meaning of skin color, thereby abolishing the white race as a social category. Consider this parallel: To be against royalty does not mean wanting to kill the king. It means wanting to do away with crowns, thrones, titles, and the privileges attached to them. In our view, whiteness has a lot in common with royalty: they are both social formations that carry unearned advantages

    Of course, many of his fellow lefties would choke if we swapped it around:

    When we say we want to abolish the black race, we do not mean we want to exterminate people with dark skin. We mean that we want to do away with the social meaning of skin color, thereby abolishing the black race as a social category. Consider this parallel: To be against royalty does not mean wanting to kill the king. It means wanting to do away with crowns, thrones, titles, and the privileges attached to them. In our view, blackness has a lot in common with royalty: they are both social formations that carry unearned advantages

    even though it is logically identical in content.

    Hmmmm.

    I call bullshit. Once a communist totalitarian fuck, always a totalitarian communist fuck.

  86. nerblnob

    a selection criteria

    Now you can add the criterion of “grammatically challenged” to the other criteria!

  87. Joe Goodacre

    Big Nana,

    Regarding equal rights and equal responsbility, I was having a discussion with an Aboriginal apologist over the weekend. His belief was that Aboriginals should be excused for their alcohol problems because their DNA hasn’t had a thousand years to adapt, like whites have had.

    I mentioned a couple of things:

    a) that no person of white skin colour has had a thousand years to adapt – everyone is born equally without knowing the effects of alcohol and makes their own choices; and
    b) this sort of reasoning could justify not letting Aborigines vote, or could excuse domestic violence because Aboriginal because Aboriginal DNA could arguably not have adapted to parlimentary democracy or standards regarding the treatment of women.

    He remained unconvinced, but I went away thinking that was the most racist thing i’d heard for years and if the Aborigines had friends like these, they certainly wouldn’t need enemies.

  88. Max

    It is interesting that when you really look into the field it starts to look like the eugenics arguments

    Indeed it does.

    On the flipside Left wing Anti-Christian Darwinists would all have us believe that Evolution somehow stopped 40,000 years ago and we are all the same…. If this is true of course then no need for “Multiculturalism” and “Diversity” because we are all the same.

  89. Ubique

    Congratulations Philippa on your first guest post – and a very good one at that.

  90. CameronH

    A thought on why all of this racialist rhetoric is accelerating. Perhaps it is to provide what is called in the US as battle space for the bid to have Aborigines included in the constitution as a new form of hereditary aristocracy. The assault of Andrew Bolt could be designed to remove him from any future debate on the issue and send a strong warning for other such minded people to STFU.

    It could also cower any politician who may feel courageous enough to vote against the proposal in the parliament. The precedent for the funding of the no case based on the number of parliamentary votes was set with the proposed referendum to take over the local councils. With no funding for the no case and most serious journalists shut down the Aboriginal industry and their lawyers could be set for a bonanza.

    The court cases, both in Australia and internationally, to go from clear acknowledgement in the constitution to gaining full and exclusive sovereignty over all the land of Australia, which many have expressed as their ultimate goal, would go on for years. We could all wake up one day and have to pay rent to live in our own country. This whole process will only end in tears and Tony Abbott is a blind fool for being a party to it.

  91. MacBeth

    Pleading ignorance, I don’t know who Julie Burchill is or what her ‘privilege’ has do do with anything. I’ve just read two of her Spectator articles and cannot understand any of it.

  92. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Saying so well what so many of us think, Philippa.

  93. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    “Check your privilege”

    Check your privilege. What an utterly stupid expression.

  94. Check your privilege. What an utterly stupid expression.

    Meaningless too. I’d give a blank look if told that.

    Check your roast, check your oil, check your radiator. Those I understand.

  95. Jessie

    Philippa, thank you for your interesting guest post.

    I have some questions given your stated initial interest in mental health and then interest in Windschuttle’s analysis and objective referencing. I read your excellent and well referenced book Paradise of Quacks.

    You refer to cadetships and scholarships. Des Deskperson in response to peter56 responds with his experience of success in affirmative action traineeships. No link to a report or to the aggregated success of applicants responding to ILS ranking $33,000 starting salary. And particularly given the arguments on abysmal education/employment for the vast majority in remote black communities where the opportunity of a very few [APS] jobs occurs. The rural centres however encompass vast administrative community controlled and separatist award schemes in health, education, welfare and environmental/ranger dumbed down positions. This situation has no congruency with Des’ APS traineeships (city/rural) or the capacity of a remote applicant in the 1000+communities to apply at an ILS level.

    A merit-based question following BigNana’s anecdote of her husband with little education, he maintained employment since age 14 and with this moral principle she then proposes to an aggregate of traditional people with substandard education competing to seek employment on the gravy train. Surely the excellent wages in operating mining equipment or services and supplying/building infrastructure, with a zero-drug test or the great wages in teaching to a competent level, health service delivery as a doctor/nurse/radiologist/pilot or organising, negotiating and understanding the biology and statistical ramifications in feral plant/animal control programs would be a goal for the remote individual? Successful family operated tourism operated outside of the kinship communal property land council holding system? Successful agriculture or aquaculture enterprises? Where are these enterprises that create in-situ family principles and successes?

    Lastly, while there is much discussion on poverty and racism, there is little focus on the land holding individuals whose status was gained through consensus with anthropologists, written English and ‘re-traditionalised’ power over others. These individuals with education/employment/media accomplishments and status as individuals rule and speak with little known on the greater number of their subjects forced to live and populate their remote communities.

  96. Hello Jessie -

    I only came back here by chance, and found your questions, and I think you have identified some good points.

    I’m not offering anything other than a big picture, but hopefully there are principles in the big picture that would also be applicable on the micro level.

  97. Jessie

    Hi Philippa,

    I have also come back here as there were some interesting arguments posted of which I ponder.
    Rafe’s RoundUp today with a link to a Feb 1985 Q magazine held an article by Elizabeth Durack. Also Roger Scruton. Both are good reads. I was astonished, not being a subscriber or having read these before they have not been reprinted.
    ED’s article may especially be of interest to you and your interest in mental health, also her website where there is an equally interesting story on Namitjira and his art.

    My mind boggles that Australia remains STILL a northern vs southern (or in your case west vs east) issue, bogged down in race and unknowns of the ‘foreign communities’ at the expense of common sense or the chance to discuss economic and moral principles. Perhaps 18C amendments and blogs will solve this quandary.

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