For a perfect illustration of how self-delusional, ineffective and irrational ‘woke’ generations are, go no further that the mass rallies organised by the Black Lives Matter movement. Even though the slogan itself is racist, binary and exclusionary, thousands display it proudly as a sign of politically correct solidarity.
Ignored, as argued by the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr in his ‘I have a dream’ speech, is that it is wrong to judge people by the colour of their skin as all individuals have the right to dignity, liberty and equality before the law.
The reality is police brutality and deaths in custody do not discriminate according to the colour of a person’s skin.
Over the period 1990-2008 in Australia – while its unforgiveable that 279 indigenous prisoners died in custody – the figure for non-indigenous was 1,224. Each number represents an individual and death does not discriminate in terms of ethnicity or race.
As noted by the Aboriginal activist and Speccie contributor Dr Anthony Dillon in A Closer Look at Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the reality is that compared to the general prison population, indigenous people are underrepresented and over time the death rate in police custody has decreased.
Dillon goes as far as arguing what he calls virtue-signalling ‘blacktivists’ are guilty of promoting propaganda and victimhood. As a result of focusing solely on deaths in custody, Dillon also argues other more vital issues are ignored.
He states the issue is ‘a distraction from the serious problems facing Aboriginal people – like homelessness, poor health, violence and unemployment’. Other issues ignored include the unacceptable high levels of domestic violence, especially against women, where even though Aborigines represent about 3 per cent of the population they represent 23 per cent of intimate-partner homicide victims.
Dillon concludes his analysis by denouncing blacktivists for pushing what he describes as the ‘myth that Aboriginal people in custody are at a higher risk of dying than non-Aboriginal people in custody’.
Those championing the Black Lives Matter movement are also wrong to argue deaths in custody are always the result of police brutality. While all prisoners must have the right to be treated humanely and properly, many Aboriginal deaths are not the result of police violence.
As noted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, ‘Indigenous people were more likely to die from natural causes while non-indigenous people were more likely to die from gunshot and drug overdoses’. And it’s not only in Australia that what Dillon condemns as blacktivist myth and propaganda are accepted as beyond criticism. Heather MacDonald in The Myth of Systematic Police Racism published in a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal argues the situation in America follows the same mistaken guilt- ridden, white supremacist narrative.
MacDonald argues as a result of the cruel and needless death of George Floyd it is wrong to suggest American ‘law enforcement is endemically racist’. MacDonald writes ‘a police officer is 18 and a half times more likely to be killed by a black man than an unarmed black man is to be killed by a police officer’.
Similarly, in 2018 ‘African-Americans made up 53 per cent of known homicide offenders in the US and commited about 60 per cent of robberies, though they are 13 per cent of the population’. This is apart from the fact that the overwhelming percentage of violence against African-Americans is committed by other African-Americans. According to the statistics, in one year approximately 90 per cent of African-Americans murdered were killed by other African-Americans.
In addition to relying on misleading statistics and a simplistic and one-sided interpretation of events, those championing the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia and internationally also champion neo-Marxist critical theory where white supremacism rules and Western society is riven with structural racism, inequality and prejudice against the ‘other’.
Ignored are the billions of dollars spent every year to address disadvantage and the plethora of programs – both government and private – directed at positive discrimination for Aborigines and African-Americans.
Also ignored is that the dark days of slavery and racism are long gone as all citizens have the right to vote, to own property and are equal before the law. The cultural-Left argument that disadvantage is caused by structural racism also ignores the vital importance of individual agency.
As to why we have come to this state of politically correct posturing and mindless groupthink look no further than the cultural-Left’s success in taking the long march through the West’s schools and universities since the cultural revolution of the late Sixties. Identity politics rule and based on a rainbow alliance of cultural-Left theories there are no facts or objective reality. In this brave new world, subjects like literature and history are deconstructed in terms of power relationships, and as a result of neo-Marxist inspired critical theory, the purpose of education is seen as being to liberate and to empower. The ideal of a liberal education based on rationality and impartiality no longer exists as students are told knowledge is a social construct enforcing the hegemony of the ruling class. The phrase attributed to Descartes, ‘I think therefore I am’, has long since been replaced by the self-centred, narcissistic belief ‘I feel therefore I am right’.
Whether in schools or universities, teachers are no longer authority figures and as a result of personalised learning and promoting student activism an adolescent Swedish teenager with minimal if any knowledge or expertise is able to pontificate and harass world leaders on the topic of climate change.
As argued by Aboriginal activists including Noel Pearson, Warren Mundine, Jacinta Price and Anthony Dillon, to blame poor health, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and high rates of imprisonment on white supremacism is to ignore the responsibility individuals and their communities have to overcome disadvantage.
Those thousands virtue-signalling by painting signs, chanting slogans and taking to the streets to support the Black Lives Matter movement would more effectively spend their time supporting and getting involved in programs centred on practical action and designed and managed by Aboriginal communities.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.
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