You can contact Clementine on clementine DOT ford AT gmail DOT com. If you are Ryan Gosling, she is single.
Conservatism is an ideology built around the preservation of “traditional” values and social structures. But those “good old days,” for marginalized groups like women and people of color, were largely a time of oppression. Why would we want to preserve them?
Conservative politicians and thinkers—who have seen great success aligning themselves with racist, xenophobic, and evangelical voting blocs—actively work to strip women of their voices and exclude us from seats of power, proudly champion policy that keeps women out of the workforce and chained to the “traditional” family structure, promote abstinence-only education, shame and blame the victims of sexual assault, and give no credence to the possibility that women are best placed to make decisions about our own bodies.
Broadly speaking, conservatism is bad for women. So, yes, we want a “conservative bad, liberals good take on teen issues.” That is the explicit purpose of the site.
If kids want a “traditional,” victim-blaming, slut-shaming, conservative perspective, many of them can already get that at home or at school. This site aims to provide a counterpoint to that oppressive narrative, for the kids who have none and are struggling because of it.
YES YES YES. I love that IBYINYF didn’t acquiesce to this dumbshit argument. Conservatism IS bad for the victims of oppression and discrimination.
Once again, our Prime Minister has demonstrated what happens when he strays a bit too far from the direction of his handlers. But referring to Australia as ‘unsettled’ prior to the British invasion isn’t the first time Abbott’s betrayed his true beliefs about one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures.
You may not remember (particularly as Abbott’s department seems to have expunged all mentions of the speech from record, along with a number of other unfortunate reminders of his recorded bigotry) but in a 2013 speech delivered at the City of Holdfast Bay Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony in Adelaide when Abbott was Leader of the Opposition, the ‘Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs’ began his conclusion by saying, “It is a proud people that you are joining. We had inauspicious beginnings. The first lot of Australians were chosen by the finest judges in England.”
The first lot of Australians were chosen by the finest judges in England.
The first lot of Australians.
Let it be absolutely clear that Tony Abbott does not consider 60,000 years of Aboriginal history to be relevant to Australian identity. The man who loves a good photo opportunity with Aboriginal people in Central Australia does not consider them to be a part of an Australian history which apparently *began* in 1787 when a fleet of eleven ships carrying 759 convicts and around 550 crew members left Portsmouth, England and disembarked eight months later on the shores of a piece of land whose various Aboriginal names were discarded in favour of ‘Sydney Cove’. (Dr Anita Heiss recommended the Barani website to me to research Eora place names. You can find it here.)
According to the Migration Heritage Centre, “European Australia was established in a simple ceremony at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.”
So all it takes for a colonising world power to eradicate 60,000 years of history is a ‘simple ceremony’. And 226 years later, we have a Prime Minister who thinks of Australia as ‘unsettled’ prior to European colonisation and who, after realising his public political error, grudgingly shifts that description to ‘scarcely settled’.
But what does ‘scarcely settled’ mean? In 1788, the people of the Eora nation alone (which was comprised of language groups along the comparatively small area of the Sydney basin - you can see the geographical size in red on this map) outnumbered the 1300 arriving members of the First Fleet with an approx. population of 1500. Like so many First Nations people, those numbers would be decimated over the following years by the violence of the invaders, the damage done to food sources and the alleged deliberate introduction of smallpox.
But the Eora nation was only a small slice of Australia’s Indigenous population. The Australian Museum website reports that prior to 1788, there was an estimated Indigenous population of 750,000 with 700 different language groups.
That’s around 700 times the size of the numbers of invading members of the First Fleet. Or, to put that into perspective, it’s the relative numerical difference between Australia’s current population of approx. 22 million people and those of cities Warrnambool and Dubbo (at approx. 32,000 each).
And yet according to our Prime Minister, prior to the ‘foreign investment of the British’ in 1788, Australia was ‘unsettled’ or ‘scarcely settled’. The 750,000 people who were already living here are evidently irrelevant, because racism dictates that the ‘superiority’ of white colonisation has always been regarded as immutable. If a cultural practice, idea or 60,000 years of history occurs and a white person isn’t around to see it and either steal it or destroy it, did it really happen?
Our Prime Minister is racist. His own words demonstrate that he holds the achievements and actions of white people and white history to be more important and transformative than those which have existed in this country for longer than it is perhaps possible for our brains to conceive of.
But Tony Abbott is also representative of a much larger problem of racism in this country and the kind of unconscious white supremacy which dictates that 1) ‘our’ way of life is not only better but intellectually more advanced and 2) it needs to be protected first from the threat of an ‘invading horde’ of desperate, abused people whose brown skin scares us and secondly from the people who we can’t conveniently demand to ‘fuck off we’re full’ because they were here first but who keep trying to force us to apologise for ‘past deeds’ while refusing to assimilate - because why should white people and white culture have to change itself in order to fit in with troublemakers?
These are my theoretical, outsider thoughts on the socially sanctioned eradication of Black history, influence and identity in this country. I am not Aboriginal and my intention isn’t to speak for anyone who is. I apologise sincerely if I have done so. I am also aware that when white people write on the topic of racism (as with men and sexism) that we are given greater attention and reward for our efforts, and that in publishing this post I will invariably benefit from that.
I don’t need to point out that this is fucking bullshit.
There are thousands of other people better suited than myself to speak on this matter, and I don’t for a moment pretend that my voice should be considered as meaningful or relevant to the discussion as theirs. The thoughts expressed here are not original and have been said in far better ways by people with much greater authority and direct experience with the subject matter than I could ever have. I defer to their tireless efforts and ability.
To that end, I urge everyone who might have read this to check out the #unsettlethejoint hashtag being contributed to by Aboriginal writers and activists on Twitter, to regularly read and consume the work of those same writers and activists and to give them the respect of listening and learning when they speak. It is only by addressing my own ongoing white privilege and unconscious racism that I have been able to formulate thoughts like this, and that absolutely wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had the enormous privilege of being able to read writers like Anita Heiss, Kelly Briggs, Celeste Liddle and Lou Taylor and having discussions with them and others like Nareen Young, Martin Hodgson and Lee Bevan. If you read or share this post, please let that be the take-away message.
And if nothing else, just consider the unconscious privilege we white people enjoy as a result of being part of a dominant group of invaders, colonisers and thieves whose every deed and action is considered so profound and important that 1300 of us can literally be considered enough to supercede the existence of 750,000 and turn a previously ‘unsettled’ country comprised of over 700 languages into the supposedly glorious ‘Great Southern Land’ that exists today.
Advance Australia Fair indeed.