I don’t need to be ‘welcomed’ to my country
By Lincoln Brown
The notion that Australians must be welcomed or invited to their own country by Indigenous leaders – as occurs at the opening of state and federal parliaments, conferences, and school assemblies – is a divisive and destructive one.
This practice, while it may appear reasonable or harmless, is a manifestation of the ongoing assault on Australia’s Western heritage and implies that non-Indigenous Australians, whose families have called Australia home for many generations, do not really belong here. I recently attended an event where the audience (mostly comprised of Australians with European heritage) were ‘welcomed’ by an Indigenous speaker. It was a pitiful display of bitterness, resentment, and even hatred towards white Australians. Indeed, it was little more than a scolding for the colour of their skin.
The speaker bluntly stated that Australia still belongs to ‘First Nations’ people (a nonsensical and ahistorical term lifted from Canada’s debates about colonialism) and does not belong to so- called ‘white people’ (or presumably any other migrant families). He then asserted that the audience needed to learn Australia’s ‘true history’. This, even though ignorance of Australia’s British heritage has never been more apparent than it is now.
It was an overtly adversarial presentation – devoid of hope or a positive vision for Australians. Not a trace of recognition for the fact that Indigenous people enjoy the same fundamental rights that all Australians enjoy, or the tremendous efforts that governments, charities, and individuals have put into improving life for Indigenous Australians over many decades. Instead, the speaker aggressively asserted that Indigenous people are still colonised and that white people must continue to be reminded of this until colonialism ends.
The belief that all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, have a right to call the country in which we were born home is now openly attacked.
The desired outcome for such activists is unclear. How, exactly, will we know when enough has been done to overcome racism? What measurable goals must be achieved? When will we be able to congratulate ourselves for elevating Indigenous voices and dismantling colonialism enough? Will it be when all references to Christianity are removed from the national curriculum, as was attempted (and, thankfully, negated) last year? Or when we abolish the Australian flag? At what point will we have made enough progress?
Ironically, as I flew home on a Qantas jet, the pilot acknowledged the traditional custodians of the state I was returning home to. It is a strange form of colonialism in which major corporations, from airlines to the AFL, feel the need to constantly remind everyone that the land belongs to Indigenous people. One would think that if racism were the ubiquitous problem that we are told it is then major corporations would not bother with such sentiments.
White people, as nebulous as that concept is, are not guests in Australia. My ancestors were also born and raised here many generations ago. No one should be made to feel guilty for the colour of their skin or blamed for the actions of people who have long since died. This attribution of historical, collective guilt to an entire group of people due to their ethnicity is not only racist but is a symptom of a dying Australia. It is a direct, ideological assault on Western values based on selective distortions of history and the Marxist idea of class guilt, now applied to race, which divides humanity into ‘oppressed’ and ‘oppressor’ classes and ascribes sinfulness or virtue based on whatever group one happens to belong to.
If you are Indigenous, you are a victim, and therefore virtuous. If you are white, you are an oppressor, and therefore sinful. If you disagree, this demonstrates that you are entrenched in your oppressor privilege, which makes you more of a racist.
This is dangerous fiction.
The reality that nobody is allowed to acknowledge, but everyone knows, is that Indigenous Australians not only enjoy the same basic rights as everyone else but are now viewed by mainstream institutions such as government, media, and education as having a kind of culturally protected status thanks to policies concerned with promoting ‘equity’. Such policies mean that Indigenous people have access to a range of opportunities, from scholarships to employment, that non-Indigenous people do not. Welfare policies for Indigenous people abound, yet so do high rates of alcoholism, abuse, imprisonment, and early deaths in Indigenous communities. Is this because of racism? How many more apologies, more welcomes to country, more equity programs, are needed to remedy these issues and undo the supposed harms of our colonial heritage? Or could it be that these policies, which negate personal responsibility (that nasty colonial idea), do more harm than good?
People are afraid to suggest these things because they will be accused of racism. To call someone a racist is one of the most destructive slurs available. It destroys careers and reputations. This constant threat of ostracism for saying ‘the wrong thing’ is a cudgel the Left wields to shut down debate and discussion about how to view Australian history and how issues in Indigenous communities can be addressed. The tragic irony is that ‘welcome’ ceremonies, apologies, and other pointless gestures do nothing whatsoever to address the real and serious problems faced by Indigenous communities (especially those who live in remote areas). The virtue-signalling activists do not care about helping them, only about getting revenge on white people, and promoting themselves as victims.
None of this is likely to be new to most readers of The Spectator Australia. We know that Western values are under attack and that Australian history is more complex than being entirely good or entirely bad. What is needed is the courage to say the unsayable: it is not right for white people to be chastised for their skin colour, nor is it right to blame every problem that Indigenous people face on so-called racism. This assault on Western values only ends when cancel culture is countered with courage culture, and name-calling stops being a weapon that can be used against people who see through the pernicious cultural-Marxist worldview.