Topic: big media
Two fifteen year olds are described as "racists" in a shallow, stupid opinion piece by the egregious Paul Sheehan in the press today:
for their alleged role in fatal violence in what looks alot like a violent mugging that has gone horrifically wrong in Griffith last week. One white teen is dead, the lives of another two black teens (the alleged perpetrators) quite likely ruined.
No winners, great anger, great tragedy.
And Sheehan makes it all worse: Here's why: He says literally "Andrew Farrugia died for one reason only. He was white." in the second paragraph.
No hiding stereotypes here for Sheehan emboldened by community horror and distress like the emotional vampire these right wing shrieker media types always prove to be. No concern about tainting a legal case that is obvoiuslsy subjudice either.
Sheehan claims this so called tough straight talk is stating the hard facts and putting aside false "picancaninny" attitudes by which I guess he means treating Aboriginal folk like moral babies, or "mendicants" meaning beggars. We have to go hard, and apply tough standards expected of every other citizen.
Yeah? Really? Fifteen year olds, likely very disadvantaged fifteen year olds, are supposed to have a handle on all this mature responsibility and obligations from within a slum pit surrounded by slippery walls, real and conditioned?
How simple and stupid of Sheehan who surely has no concept of a real slum the world over.
And the bigots in our society are similarly emboldened, but more of that below. First to dissect this pathetic thesis of Sheehan.
It is at least open to question whether one reason the "white" 17 year old reportedly was preyed on was that these "black" teens apparently were intent on criminal theft, to pursue an age old franchise - getting things with violence. Since when is theft a particular racist agenda? And if the richest pickings are white, well it might look racial but its just money.
It is also an open question whether it was an immature gang attempt to enforce a territorial domain in 'their' streets at night. Again hardly a novel, particularly racist agenda. But Sheehan is so sure.
And it's not as though Black Australia has missed their lesson from the world's best teachers after the British Empire invasion, and subordinate colonial governments, from 1788 onward. Okay that's a very stale complaint you might say, but a defeated People know what they are even subliminally. It's just that non Aboriginals have never had to think about it. But even that old sore doesn't get to the heart of the situation of Black criminality.
How much money did those black teen alleged wrongdoers have on them? A mobile phone? Quality of their clothes? When did they eat last? What quality of food? What kind of adult supervision? Did they even have a Christmas? Even if not, it doesn't excuse the outrageous violence, but it does get closer to the truth than Sheehan ever will.
Indeed we've just come off the most stressful time in the year, the consumer excess of Christmas and New Year. Where life's winners and losers cannot avoid knowing their true lot in life even if they wanted to. But with a teenage mind much harder to accept. It sounds corny but not much love out there for some of these black kids.
Sheehan calls it racism, I call it just as likely systemic economic violence. And yes it is inevitable. But here is why Sheehan is so sick and has got it so wrong. If it was a rich black kid from middle class USA, or black teen from another tribal group elsewhere in Australia, on the taxi rank at 2am alone in Griffith, my feeling that black kid similarly would have got 'rolled' as in mugged, with possibly fatal consequences. That's violence based on envy and poverty at the heart of the problem.
If it was a black victim the outrage might not be nearly so great.
Sheehan on his highly indulgent $150,000 plus annual salary wouldn't get it in a hundred years, wouldn't know a childhood of poverty and desperation creating criminals the world over of every colour and creed, if it poked him in the eye.
The guy is a lightweight, though in person he is actually very pudgy.
Then Sheehan has the hide to condemn those with the stomach for even getting into those pockets of desperation, trying often against hope to unravel traditions of deep ingrained social poverty breeding criminality common to every slum from Santiago to Johannesburg. That's a real low act for Sheehan in his ivory tower to exploit anguish over a teenager's tragic death to promote his own eccentric worldview through racial lenses.
None so blind as the affluent I suppose.
If it was just blow hard Sheehan on his bully pulpit in the local pub it wouldn't matter, but his Big Media influence, along with toe rag The Sydney Daily Telegraph (admittedly more moderate under David Penberthy with his Latin influences) widely spread their stereotyped white supremacist sickness to the less educated amongst us, the less disciplined in analysis.
You can just imagine the indignation of a Mandela or a Gandhi at the ignorance of someone like Sheehan. These giants were no apologist for black criminal violence, but they knew what a black underclass does to humanity.
Today I wrote this letter, as an example of the Sheehan intolerant sickness spreading:
Dear **** Board,
Can someone in a position of responsibility counsel X behind the counter at ***** to refrain from using insulting xenophobic language when he is working there. We are after all a ****** in the middle of a highly multicultural society which I rejoice in actually.
Fact is we live in a complex time of great diversity, with a premium on tolerance and mutual understanding, that requires listening and reflection, and careful avoidance of spiraling intolerance; suspicion; stereotypes and entrenched poverty (both financial but also educational and health wise).
Of course there is criminal violence in society, of course there is reverse racism, but I don't need a lightweight to preach to me from the counter of the ****** when I am responding to the [your] phonecall to me by making a visit last Saturday morning.
If I have to put up with dodgy aggressive weasel words it is quite the simple matter to generate a sworn statutory declaration, lodge it with the Anti Discrimination Board and see how many red faces that generates, not to mention empty pockets.
Here was last Saturday's soliliquy, with another staffer there as witness (whose name escapes me) totally unprovoked as best I can tell:
'my father and his father fought for this country'
'now Iemma and the ALP are destroying it letting these criminals in here' and
'so are your kind bringing the country down too' [whatever that means],
'don't talk to me about Aborigines, they don't know snot'.
The weird thing is it was all on the back pedal as if he couldn't afford to hear an answer to this simple convenient construct less the house of cards come falling down.
These attitudes are pathetic, and easy to laugh off, but I'm not laughing. These loaded obnoxious views ought to be confronted and rejected not as some harmless whimsy from a lovable old guy, but for what they are: The seed of violence and sickness that infects our society in multiple directions, and often in a negative spiral.
It hardly helps matters that easily led people are incited by toe rags like the Daily Telegraph and other shrieking right wingers in the Big Media pandering to Old White Empire like stupid Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald who lives on a $150,000 annual salary and likely wouldn't know a childhood of poverty if it poked him in the eye.
X by all means in a democracy can choose to follow the Paul Sheehan's and Alan Jones of this world, but he can also accept the consequences.
X has an obligation to carry out his role diplomatically and ethically at ****** in a [a place] with all kinds of people with politics he may not agree with. It's not a place for white supremacist sympathies, volunteer for * years at ******* or not. I know he loves working there and is generally valued but that doesn't mean turning a blind eye as has been implied to me previously.
For the record I do think the future is coffee coloured and a good thing too (not least the melanoma rates). I don't need people agreeing with me, but staff will treat me civilly and with tolerance. I will make sure of it one way or another.
There are some fellow travellers of X knocking around the place, thankfully .... a tiny rump.... Bring on the positive changes, I say.
Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW, grounds staff Addison Rd Centre,
principal, ecology action sydney http://cpppcltrust/ecologyactionsydney
1. Humiliating or deliberately provoking your opponent invites violence.
2. Knowing your facts and arguments well helps avoid violence.
3. If you are open about your cause your opponent is less likely to be violent.
4. Look for common ground between you and your opponents to promote trust and understanding.
5. Do not judge others.
6. Trust your opponent. They will sense this trust.
7. Compromise on inessential items to promote resolution.
8. Sincerity helps convert your opponent.
9. By making personal sacrifice you show your sincerity.
10. Avoid exploiting weakness in your opponent. Aim for integrity, not simply to win.