Brekky Scraps: The Face of Australia

“So while the practise may have originated elsewhere, we absolutely have a history of homegrown minstrels”


So another Australian blackface controversy appears. This time Australian basketballer Alice Kunek apparently ‘dressed’ as Kanye West to go to a party.. but was later called out by fellow teammate Liz Cambage. Guess who received more vitriol online? Cambage! But you probably guessed that…

Yes the old familiar calls started to roll in. ‘She wasn’t being racist’, ‘That’s an American thing’, ‘Can’t Aboriginal Australians just get over it?’. It came only weeks after the two Ballarat boys were called out for the same thing. It seems it’s a lesson that Australia just doesn’t want to or refuses to learn. Lets look at these comments in greater detail.

‘She wasn’t being racist’. Ok. But who said that? White people. I thought we had settled this a while back with the Adam Goodes debate. Unless the act/comment is directed at you, you don’t get to comment. In other words, white people don’t get to decide if something is racist towards someone who isn’t white. Makes sense to me. Here’s Allan Clarke putting it more eloquently than I.

‘That’s an American thing’. Well yes, but America has been doing racist stuff longer than Australia. And like CSI, NCIS, Law & Order and most primetime Australian television – we imported it from America. Here’s some examples of blackface in Australia – used to make fun of and dehumanise our Indigenous population. Given so much of the history of this country is buried.. it’s not really a surprise this isn’t more well known. So while the practise may have originated elsewhere, we absolutely have a history of homegrown minstrels.

‘Can’t Aboriginals just get over it’. Hmm. Australians love a joke blah blah.. but I don’t think you can get over something that is still happening to you. The Close the Gap report which came out weeks ago stated that things are mostly still heading in the wrong direction, Australia has truly shocking statistics around Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in prison and Alan Jones said last week we ‘need another stolen generation’. There’s still so much that needs to be explored and discussed before anyone decides to ‘get over’ anything.

So did anything get settled out of this? Did anyone learn anything? Or is some dope going to spend hours rubbing brown over his/her body in a couple of weeks and cry unfair once it hits the media cycle?

Pull your socks up Australia

You can hear Mitch on 2SER Breakfast Mon-Fri 6am-9am


Saturday 26th of March, 2016

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