Watch & Learn: The Reconstruction of Racist Australian Stereotypes

Guys, I seriously can’t.even. with the way the media supports voices that are incredibly damaging to our social fabric. Case in point: Alan Jones.

The Aboriginal All Stars played the World Stars on the weekend, with a traditional war dance similar to the Maori Haka accepted in New Zealand and many Pacific nations:

Because it was the anniversary of the Government’s Apology to the Stolen Generation, and many in the crowd were Aboriginal, they had one minute silence for all those affected by the removal of children. But at the moment, there are more kids in state care than during the entire Stolen Generation. So people were probably also thinking about kids they knew, or had accepted into their family.

Alan Jones, the 2GB Radio host on Monday commented upon the Indigenous All Stars Game, incredulous that all this “ridiculousness” was going on. Maybe he should have stayed silent. But he took in callers. And you can hear his comments here:

Basically, he says “we need stolen generations” if Aboriginal parents are irresponsible.

Well, there are SO many reasons as to why state care has increased dramatically. But after reading a number of other academics (notably Atkinson 2002; and precedent literature Brock 1993, Garvey 2008)  I can say only that children are removed because of trauma.

State intervention is usually far too late, when things are spinning completely out of control. And this sometimes includes drugs and alcohol.

The Indigenous sportsmen and Alan Jones’ quote are put together side by side in The Daily Mail (is this news in the UK), as if it’s a rational assumption that middle class Aboriginal peoples are “on top of the world with drugs and alcohol”, and their children need to be “rescued”. To be honest, most people in those pictures probably don’t even drink, but the crowd certainly do. Oh, the irony:

The elders were pretty upset, with many of them speaking out:

Typically, other Aboriginal leaders responded thoughtfully online.

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Fair Enough. I’m not sure that reopening of the Stolen Generation narrative at a national level is positive… but it’s a really good point. He received a badly spelt reply:

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That stereotype again. It’s amazing how not “floundering” @LukePearson actually is. But this is the one that got me:

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Yeah. I agree. It’s up to white people to hold Alan Jones to account for his racism. And ALSO to move towards better policy and engagement with Aboriginal people at all levels of society.

I’m prepared to work towards the second bit. But media stereotypes don’t help.

This is not about just policing language. This is about a breach of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. So, this was the complaint I put into 2GB today:

“I believe that there is within the comments Alan Jones made on air during this segment reason to believe that he is intentionally inciting racial hatred against Aboriginal peoples, by publicly denigrating their cultural performances which does lead to very real psychological harm.

By saying “we need stolen generations” he has characterized the entire Stolen Generations as due to Aboriginal people’s fecklessness. This is incorrect. By saying “the court seems frightened to take children away” in his following Tuesday program, this encourages the public to place pressure upon authorities to remove more Aboriginal children today. And, in citing Andrew Bolt (a figure who regularly makes claims that are untrue) Alan Jones puts forward a straw man that defies challenging.

It is my opinion that these constant media reports do create psychological stress, the very kind of damage that leads to an inability to parent, and therefore, as Jones so blithely advocates, the removal of children.

His entire corpus of work encourages Australians to think of Aboriginal people who were stolen as having compromised parents — a point which, in fact, is not agreed upon by academics, and this encourages discrimination against children who are being taken at present from their parents in the current family crisis. Many of these removals are dubious, particularly for rural families in the city. Creating powerful stereotypes in the public’s mind is the very definition of inciting racism.

This breaches the code in point 1.4. “Narrowcasters* will not broadcast any program which is likely in all the circumstances to provoke, or perpetuate intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against a person or group of persons on the grounds of age, colour, gender, national or ethnic origin, disability, race, religion or sexual preference”.

Alan Jones’ breach of this code is demonstrated in previous instances with behaviour such as the taunting of Adam Goodes. Regardless of Jones’ opinion of this matter, we have a very clear impact upon Goodes, as it resulted in his following resignation over this very issue – Aboriginal culture within sport. This is a repeat of Jones’ performance clearly indicating a breach in the code.

Alan Jones uses his platform on 2GB to build a case for the cultural genocide of Aboriginal people. He uses his authoritative voice, reinforced by his listeners’ racism to reinforce stereotypes that are being campaigned against by organizations such as Beyond Blue. This is no longer acceptable, and should result in his dismissal.”

More information on current child removals here:

* I’ve realised that maybe this isn’t the right Act. So, if you have legal (and radio lingo) knowledge and want to take this up also, I’d be much obliged.

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