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What can white Australian's do about racism?

by Lis Armstrong June 05, 2020

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land where we live and work, the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have never ceded sovereignty. We recognise their strength and enduring connection to land and culture.

 

This isn't new

In the age of phone cameras and social media, it’s easier than ever to see racial injustice out before our eyes. The tragic news of George Floyd’s US death in custody has rightly made news around the world and we stand with our US friends.

We also need to bear witness to the tragedy of First Australian deaths in custody, which happen and barely make the news here. From what’s reported on the news, you wouldn’t know it, but there have been 432 Indigenous deaths in custody since the Royal Commission in 1991. And 0 police convictions.

That should make us angry and protest. Between bias in the criminal justice systems across police, courts and detention, funding adequate representation is critical to justice for First Australians.

 

We recognise Treat Dreams and its founder has benefited from injustice

Our business operates on land that doesn’t belong to us. And every day we benefit from the systemic racism that hinders the success of our fellow Australians.

Personally, as a white Australian, descendant from English convicts and immigrants, I have benefited from the theft of Indigenous wages over generations. This has in turn bolstered the incomes of my ancestors and contributed to the financial comfort my family has enjoyed. This paid for my education, led to employment introductions/opportunities and ultimately left me with a certain degree of financial comfort to start a business.

Read further to 'reparations' for what we're doing about it.

Learn more: The intergenerational impact of Stolen Wages

 

What can white people do about racism?

Sharing content on social media can be valuable in helping raise awareness, but there’s a lot more we can do and practical actions we can take.

 

Educate ourselves

This is not the role of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) in our lives. Tonnes of content has been created with the aim of helping us understand and become better allies. We should honour that effort by turning to those resources, rather than expecting BIPOC in our lives to perform more emotional labour in being our personal educators.

Learn more: 10 documentaries to watch about race instead of asking a person of colour to explain things for you

Found thanks to Blackfulla Revolution.

 

Listen. Sit with the discomfort. Signal boost content.

As we learn about our nations history and the atrocities done to First Nations people it’s going to be uncomfortable. We need to sit with that and let it teach us.

Follow BIPOC content creators and advocates on social media and buy their books. However, when on their social accounts remember to sit and listen, rather than take up space. As white people we need to manage our emotions in these spaces so the community can process their emotions, not be left managing ours.

Share content created by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. By sharing, or signal boosting their content, you’re helping more people learn, reducing the overall emotional labour needed by communities.

Some accounts to start with:

Common Ground Australia

Celeste Liddle – Black Feminist Ranter

Feminism and Decolonisation

Ruby Hamad and her book White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Colour

Blackfulla Revolution

 

Use our whiteness for change

Write to your local and Federal members demanding action on behalf of marginalised communities. Our whiteness means these demands are often taken more seriously by those in power. Use that for good.

Do more: template letter to send your MP, thanks to @zee_feed

 

Buy from Indigenous owned businesses

By using money we’re already spending to support Indigenous owned businesses, we invest into Indigenous communities.

Learn more: use Supply Nation to locate businesses to support today.

 

Pay reparation AKA donate

By making financial contributions to individuals and organisations working to correct these issues, we can be part of the solution. Make an effort to fund organisations that recognise Indigenous agency and self-determination in both ownership and solutions. Ongoing financial contributions, rather than just one off, help organisations plan and commit to strategic action.

We’ve chosen to make ongoing contributions to Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, who fight for a fair go in court and push for reform of bad laws that harm their communities. Importantly, they are a proud Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) meaning they are owned, run and governed by Aboriginal people.

Learn more: Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT

Find more organisations to donate to in the list below.

 

More resources

Thank you to Minna Leunig for compiling this list.

 

Read

  • Me & White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • Talkin’ Up to the White Woman by Aileen Moreton-Robinson
  • Growing up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss
  • Am I Black Enough For You by Anita Heiss
  • Decolonizing Solidarity by Clare Land
  • The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper
  • This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism & You by Ibram X. Kendi & Jason Reynolds
  • Sovereign Subjects edited by Aileen Moreton-Robinson
  • Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
  • Australia Day by Stan Grant
  • Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman
  • Fire Country by Victor Steffensen
  • Salt: Selected Stories & Essays by Bruce Pascoe
  • Maybe Tomorrow by Boori Monty Pryor
  • Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta
  • Jack Charles: Born-again Blackfella by Jack Charles
  • Black Politics by Sarah Maddison
  • Because a White Man’ll Never Do It by Kevin Gilbert

 

Watch

  • The Australian Dream
  • You Can’t Ask That: Indigenous
  • Maralinga Tjarutja
  • Utopia
  • Mabo
  • In My Blood It Runs
  • Kanyini
  • The Tall Man
  • Mystery Road
  • Redfern Now
  • The First Australians
  • Black Comedy
  • Bastardy
  • Kiki and Kitty
  • Sweet Country

Blackfella Films for more.

 

Donate

  • Justice for David Dungay Junior
  • Justice for Yuendumu
  • Seed Mob
  • AIME Mentoring
  • Pay the Rent
  • Indigenous Allied Health Australia
  • Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance
  • Yalari
  • Djap Wurrung
  • Indigenous Literacy Foundation
  • Wirringa Baiya
  • Firesticks Alliance
  • Healing Foundation
  • Sisters Inside Bail Fund
  • Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
  • Aboriginal Family Violence & Legal Services
  • Black Rainbow
  • Bush Mob Aboriginal Corporation
  • Family Violence Prevention Legal Service
  • First Nations Telegraph
  • First Nations Deaths in Custody Watch
  • First Nations Workers Alliance
  • Grandmothers Against Removals



Lis Armstrong
Lis Armstrong

Author