Asian-Australian Self Care

It’s been a hard little while, right? We’ve had to deal with Pauline Hanson, and a whole lot of ugliness, and some gross Islamaphobia right here, normalised in our media, and it’s been hard. It’s still hard.

Sometimes activism gets tiring, and you feel pathetic and useless when you need to take a break. But it’s important. (I had to go on holidays, for a number of reasons; not least because my counselor thought I was burnt out from 24/7 activism)

Sometimes you can’t go on holidays, but you still need to look after yourself.
Continue reading “Asian-Australian Self Care”

things australians can do to support asylum seekers

Our hearts are heavy with grief and guilt for two people. Hodan, a Somali refugee, set herself alight on Nauru. She is 21. Omid, who self-immolated last week and later died, was 23. His family is being billed $17000 to fly his body to Iran.

Our Immigration Minister said this was the fault of activists and advocates encouraging refugees to self-harm, demonstrating a lack of self-awareness and empathy. The environments of despair created by Australia’s policies are, instead, the impetus for self-harm.

Don’t just sit there, mired in the knowledge that our country is deplorable and unforgiveable. If you can, come do some things.

Continue reading “things australians can do to support asylum seekers”

Asian Ghost-ery Store

agsSteph has taken advantage of having a blog to interview her friend Vidya, who has a show, Asian Ghost-ery Store, starting this very week at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

So today Steph and Vidya talk talcum powder, ambiguity, ghosts, and the comfort of the Asian grocery store.

The show blurb:

Raised in the aisles of Asian grocery stores, time has come for Shan and Yaya to escape — and haunt modern Australia. But how do a couple of ghosts conjure a stylish, post-racial image while stuffing their faces with Hello Panda? Shannan Lim and Vidya Rajan glide you through a late-night trolley ride of story, performance, sketch and meandering rumination. Part truthful, part ball of lies, Asian Ghost-ery Store is an exorcism — a dark yet gleeful shopping spree of their shared consciousness.

Continue reading “Asian Ghost-ery Store”

Racism: win a prize for best dressed

It’s Naidoc Week! No Award promises to talk about things other than Naidoc Week this week, but first:

'SENIOR NT INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS BUREACRAT WEARS CONFEDERATE FLAG SHIRT TO DINNER, WINS PRIZE' headline at the NT News

In the Northern Territory, Senior indigenous affairs bureaucrat wears confederate flag to Beef Breeders dinner.

No Award, we considered going into the Confederate Flag for you since, as Australians, we don’t really know the ins and outs of USA history. But the NT News has actually given us all the information we require on the topic.

“I don’t think he deliberately set out to be controversial, I just don’t think he really thought about it,” a person at the ball said.

“But the fact is in his position he needs to be a little more thoughtful about these things. He was a bit remiss not to consider it might offend people, especially so close to the Charleston massacre and the whole white supremacist thing over there.

“It’s quite a hot topic around town, too, with the vigilante group and the like.”

The flag was first flown by the pro-slavery Confederacy during the American Civil War, fought in large measure over the rights of land owners to keep black slaves.

It has since been displayed as a symbol of southern American pride, but has also been co-opted by white supremacist groups.

Most recently, Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a racially motivated attack inside a historic black church in the United States’ city of Charleston this month, posed with the flag shortly before the massacre.

“THE FLAG WAS FIRST FLOWN BY THE PRO-SLAVERY CONFEDERACY” let me reiterate, the Confederate flag was flown initially to indicate a desire to retain slavery.

Australia.

MATE.

Of course, this history hardly unique to the US, and we have exactly our own Australian ways of commemorating the Australian refusal to view Indigenous Australians as people. We have universities and streets and statues commemorating Macquarie (who legislated that Indigenous people could be shot if they resisted “civilising”), and Batman (who was a bounty hunter of Aboriginal people in Tasmania before he stole Melbourne from people of the Kulin nation), just as examples.

(Not to mention that Australia’s “alternative” flag comes from the Eureka uprising, which was mostly about resisting unfair taxation, but was also about white miners banding together against the tax-paying Chinese miners.)

HOWEVER, we are (for once) talking about America, not Australia, and, guys, if you ever fell compelled to dress up as anything to do with another country, maybe, I dunno, hit up Google to make sure you’re not about to be horribly offensive.

No Award is usually prepared to extend the benefit of the doubt to people who aren’t aware of the context of particular international taboos — we only recently found out why it’s not cool to link watermelon and African Americans — but there’s been a lot of media coverage about the Confederate Flag in the last couple of weeks, even in Australia.  And it’s not unreasonable to expect a basic level of media literacy from a public figure.

(Also, why would you go to a 4th of July event wearing the flag of a people who literally tried to secede from the US?  In company with someone wearing a Union Jack?  Not to go too far down this derail path, but this choice was bad on many, many levels.  How did it win a prize?  What’s wrong with people?)

Indigenous stuff: Stop the forced closures and some links

This next rally has SNUCK UP UPON US but here we are!

Melbourne: Friday June 26, 3pm, steps of Flinders Street Station.

calltoaction

Why are we still protesting, still marching?

New facilities sit empty, go to waste

Multimillion-dollar buildings are sitting empty and underused in WA’s remote Aboriginal communities while traumatised children live in overcrowded houses and go without mental health services.

A new $12 million aged-care home in Warmun has been empty for six months, a multimillion-dollar elders centre in Kalumburu was fitted with two walk-in freezers that are never switched on and a community meeting centre in tiny Woolah was recently built next door to a medical clinic that is used just one day a fortnight.

WA Minister Tells Parliament He’s ‘Proud’ Of World-Beating Juvenile Jailing Rate

The WA Corrective Services minister says he is “proud” of the Barnett government’s record on juvenile detention, despite plans to toughen mandatory sentencing laws, which experts say will only lead to more Aboriginal children in jail.

Western Australia currently jails the highest proportion of Aboriginal men, women and children in the country. Aboriginal youth are 53 times more likely to be jailed than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Loss of federal funds not to blame for remote Indigenous community closures, WA minister says

But the Government has since sought to separate the prospect of community closures from the loss of federal funding, insisting it was about improving health and social outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Police remove Heirisson Island Aboriginal protesters in dawn raid

More than 40 riot police carried out dawn raids on Heirisson Island on Thursday morning to dismantle an Aboriginal activists’ camp.

In a military-style operation, officers flanked by City of Perth rangers swept the camp site, taking down tents, dumping mattresses and belongings into bins in an attempt to move on protestors who had set up camp in response to the WA Government’s plans to close remote communities in the state’s north-west.

Because we have to. Join us, or protest online.

unusually devoted, isn't she? for an ex-wife

stephanie + liz question things: miss fisher’s murder mysteries

Many years ago, the Phryne Fisher books were Steph’s travel reading. She’d pick them up in the airport and read them on the plane, back and forth across Australia. She’d end every flight with a book full of bookmarks and, sadly for you all, no No Award to vent her anger upon, until finally she gave up and refused to read any more.

Liz, meanwhile, spent several years hate-reading Kerry Greenwood’s books, both the Phryne Fisher series and the contemporary Corinna Chapman series set in a twee Melbourne bakery.  Why?  Well, when you work in bakeries and bookstores, you have a lot of time to read terrible novels about how gluten-free bread should be banned.  Plus, she was under-employed and therefore broke, meaning that her main source of entertainment was (a) reading library books and (b) making fun of them on the internet.

Liz spent so much time ranting on LiveJournal about Greenwood’s terrible writing that one of Greenwood’s contemporary novels featured a villain … who used … LiveJournal.

Liz regrets nothing.  If you are going to have an omniscient narrator tell the reader at length about how brilliant and competent your heroine is, she should at least be reasonably okay at being a detective.

Steph and Liz recently started watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. They’re set in Melbourne, where all of No Award is based! We can play Spot the Australian! (Spoilers: They’re all Australians, except for Miriam Margolyes, and she became an Australian citizen a couple of years ago.) It’s pretty! Steph spends the credits charlestoning around the house! The clothes are fun and magnificent!

There are still some issues.

Please note that this post will contain spoilers for both the television series and the books. Continue reading “stephanie + liz question things: miss fisher’s murder mysteries”

Indigenous points + SOSBlakAustralia

Let’s start with something uplifting: a compilation of rallies across the world calling for No Forced Closure of Remote Communities. Yay to everyone who was able to show their support, in whatever way they could!

Residents leaving WA settlement ‘amid fears of closure.’

“They’re gone, they’ve just taken off,” Mr Kopp said.

“People are just looking for another place to move on to because they’re just frightened.

“It makes me sad too, that’s all my family too, all moving away from their country.”

Our government is driving people from their lands, through fear, through threats, through actual humans rights abuses.

Funding cuts to Aboriginal Legal Services.

At Fieldnotes and Footnotes (and if you’re not following their twitter, you are missing out), A brief history of recent Government attacks. Withdrawing, withholding and rescinding…

No Award love museums, and yet: Reclaiming our cultural heritage.

For a brief period it seemed the Djar Djar Wurrung tribe had outmanoeuvred the two museums. The British Museum insisted that the Melbourne Museum take legal action against the Dja Dja Wurrung to lift the emergency declaration immediately. The Melbourne Museum became terrified that this reclaiming of stolen artefacts would jeopardise its future loan ability from other international museums, despite recognition in Australian law of the need to protect Aboriginal ownership of stolen cultural property. So bowing to pressure from the British Museum, the influential and well-resourced Melbourne Museum took the Dja Dja Wullung people to court, Dr Foley resigned and later the federal government rescinded the Protection Act.

From SOSBlakAustralia, a printable sign.

Two pieces from New Matilda: NITV National News to be spiked by June; and Beyond Dot Paintings.

national day of action: stop the forced closure of remote indigenous communities

subtitle: more things to hate your government for. actually the same reasons as last week, but here is some action.

i mean it
i mean it

There are protests all over the country today for a National Day Of Action. If you can’t make it to a physical protest, or even if you can, you can also participate virtually.

Follow the SOS Blak Australia twitter, and #SOSBlakAustralia.

Read more at New Matilda.

“They’re going to close down these communities and turn people into fringe dwellers. There’s going to be more in jail, and more homelessness. And there’s a lot of people homeless now,” Uncle Ben told New Matilda.

“I’m 75 now, and there’s been 70 years of racism in my life. Dehumanising conditions we’ve been living under. There’s still that hopelessness.”

 

TIMES OF RALLIES FOR THURSDAY 19th MARCH

CANBERRA: Assemble at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at 11:30 am

SYDNEY: Kirribilli House, Kirribilli Avenue, 12:30 pm

PERTH: Forrest Chase, 1 pm

MELBOURNE: Parliament of Victoria, 5:30 pm

ADELAIDE: Victoria Square, 12:30 pm

BROOME, WA: ICC Office, Dampier Terrace to Broome Shire Offices, 1 pm

HALLS CREEK, WA: Cnr of Duncan H’way and Great Northern H/way, 10 am

GERALDTON, WA: Edith Cowan Square, Marine Tce, 10 am

BEAGLE BAY, WA: KRCI office, 10 am

HEDLAND, WA: Bloodwood Tree, Sth Hedland 10 am

BELLINGEN, NSW: Outside N5 & Kombu, Church St, 10 am

BENDIGO, VIC: Rosiland Park, Cnr of View St and Pall Mall, 11:45 am

LISMORE, NSW: Lismore Transit Centre, 5 pm

 

 

 

 

intersectional is more than a three-letter country

As Australians, as non-white people who aren’t from the USA, as activists, we have got to talk about the USA dominance of the internet, and our social justice conversations.

Over at North Coast Musings, there’s a quick snapshot of some of the terrible things that @ebswearspink, @stringstory and @upulie had to deal with over the weekend, some of it from African American activists, including claims that Indigenous Australians only have a voice because of African American culture.

Which

NOPE

NOPE

NOPE.

Many years ago, darling wonderful Chally wrote Dear USians on the Internet (yes, it’s on Feministe), about US centricity in social justice and how problematic is. Literally the first comment is a complaint about this letter!

Because we can’t ever have social justice that isn’t informed by the USA, I guess.

The thing is this:

Our Australian injustices cannot be righted through a paradigm that fits the USA.

The injustices that plague the USA do not necessarily translate outside of the USA.

We can exchange thoughts and techniques but we cannot

we cannot

match perfectly, or even imperfectly.

Liz has her own reasons for being my partner in yelling here on No Award, but this was my moment:

An act called the Jackson Jive performed on Hey Hey It’s Saturday. They performed in blackface, and it was bullshit. There was debate whether it was intentionally racist or just clueless, and one theory was from the name: that their name was ‘Jackson Jive’, it was postulated, was an intentional reference to shucking and jiving, an element of minstrelsy, and therefore intentionally racist. I was decried by a USAmerican person when I pointed out our history of blackface didn’t include quite so much minstrelsy, and the shucking and jiving thing isn’t as known here. Australia’s Blak history is different from any other country’s. Just like our experiences of colonialism, racism, and imperialism are different.

[Liz notes: Minstrelsy in Australia started out with US minstrel acts touring Australia, and then Australian performers began to mimic them.  I could make a remark about Iggy Azalea, but I haven’t had nearly enough tea.]

[Liz’s moment was the controversy about the KFC ad in which a lone Australian white guy finds himself surrounded by Indians at the cricket, and makes friends by sharing his KFC.  Racist in the sense of playing on fears of brown people?  Yes, although obviously there is also the fear of being surrounded by supporters of a rival team.  Playing into stereotypes about African Americans and fried chicken?  Uh, no.]

But apparently we can’t have racial experiences that are different from those experienced in the USA.

To make something about someone else’s racial history is to ignore our own very real issues, and means the discussions we have are limited and restricted. If I’m going to educate anybody, it’s going to be the people in communities here in Australia. We shouldn’t need to expend our energy fighting those who are supposed to be our community, our allies in oppression, whose experiences are similar but not the same.

Indigenous Australians may be light-skinned, and if they are it is often a product of the imperialism and genocide of our Australian history. But sure, let’s call an Indigenous Australian white, like that’s not loaded, like A.O. Neville, “Protector of Aborigines” from 1936 – 1940, didn’t endorse “biological absorption” of Aboriginal Australians, like we don’t have the Stolen Generation.

And we know light-skinned privilege exists, I live it (as a light-skinned Azn), but ugh, gross. Gross.  The entire concept of “white passing” is dangerous and hurtful in the context of Indigenous Australians.  That’s what the whole Eatock v Bolt case was about.

This is not to deny that often the language and work done by USAcentric and USA-based activists doesn’t assist us in our work and in our activism and in our fights. There are lots of great USA-based voices that help out.  But that doesn’t mean their concepts are universally applicable.

When our language is different from theirs and they yell at us for it, don’t lose hope.

And when our frame of reference is different from theirs and they call us wrong, and racist, and too white, yell back.

Come here to No Award, if you have to. I will always yell with you.

Maybe what we need is a primer for well-meaning USAmericans. It’ll be about Indigenous Australians being classed as fauna, The White Australia Policy, slavery in Queensland, and I’m tired just thinking about it. Bags not me.

Here read some things: Luke Pearson on ‘When It’s OK to be ‘Part Aboriginal‘; Defining Aboriginality in Australia; Anita Heiss’ book Am I Black Enough For You?  (If African-American – and other POC – people knew they were doing what Andrew Bolt has done to Indigenous Australians, would that disgust them? I hope so.)

And on the Invasion Day weekend! Ugh.