Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Letter To The Aboriginese People

Dear Aboriginals,

We need to talk. We have a problem. I know, I know – I thought everything was cool between us. I thought we’d reached an understanding: you would provide us with entertaining dance routines and skilled footballers, and we would provide you with military incursions into your communities and helpful suggestions on how to spend your money, like the suggestion "You can only spend your money how we tell you to". There was a healthy give and take between you Aboriginals and we "normals", and you’d been nice and quiet for a while, which frankly I found extremely commendable. I really thought we were making progress.

But then.

Then came Australia Day, and the most shameful episode in our country’s history since Manning Clark ate Weary Dunlop live on the Graham Kennedy Show. Now look, Aboriginals, I have nothing against peaceful protests, as long as they don’t actually happen, but no matter what your political proclivities, it is absolutely disgraceful that the prime minister, our sort-of-elected leader, should be subjected to the indignity of having angry people stand near her. Why can’t Aboriginals have some respect for the office of prime minister? Is it because there were no prime ministers 40,000 years ago? You have to stop living in the past, Aboriginals. Today we have prime ministers, and they deserve respect. They don’t deserve to be tucked under the arm of a bodyguard like a Steeden under the arm of Sam Backo (he was a famous Aboriginal footballer, you see – don’t tell me I don’t know how to speak to you on your own terms, Aboriginals).

What’s more, to do this on Australia Day is just bad taste, Aboriginals. It is disgusting that you saw fit to sully this great day which commemorates the liberation of Aborigine Australians. Now I know what you will say – you will say "liberation from what?" Which is understandable – I know you people sometimes have trouble with English. It’s easy for you, in your simple native way, to not recognise what a great day for your race the first Australia Day was. But consider this: if the British had not landed that day and claimed Australia for the King, it might have been the French! Or the Spanish! Or, I don’t know, Filipinos or something weird like that. Would you prefer that? Do you know how hard Filipino is to learn? Especially for people like you who never get into the good schools. I think we can safely say that Arthur Phillip in 1788 saved you from many generations of Eurasian tyranny and difficult verb forms. And it’s not that we expect thanks for it – we just expect a bit of peace and quiet while we are busy celebrating that glorious day. We don’t even mention the fact that a couple of years later you people STABBED Arthur Phillip. With a SPEAR, no less, which frankly is a bit on the nose. And yet we overlook that. We don’t demand a Sorry For Stabbing That Guy Day. We’ve got CLASS, Aboriginals. Maybe you could learn a bit from that.

The thing is, Aboriginals, there is only so long you can go on ignoring our generosity before we start to kick back a little bit. The white man is a proud and noble fellow, who can be pushed only so far. Don’t let the history of the European race fool you: we’re not all sweetness and light. And we’re pretty sick of giving and giving and not getting anything in return.

We came to this country in a spirit of cooperation and friendliness, wanting only to build a great new nation and hopefully escape from prison and live in the bush as cannibals. We built cities, and we let you live in them, even though they did in fact belong to us and building materials are not cheap. We gave you civilisation, and clothes, and an array of interesting new germs to learn about, expanding your experience and making you more cosmopolitan. We even gave you more downtime by providing free babysitting services, often permanently. It is difficult to think of a way in which we white dudes did not improve the Aboriginal lot, and I’ve gotta say, we were pretty shocked when you responded with nothing but whining and carping and dying of the flu. It made us wonder why we bothered.

Really, the whole history of the relationship between Indigenouses and real people has been one long tale of distrust and petty quibbling and ingratitude on an epic scale. And look, we can sit around playing the blame game all day long, but it would achieve nothing. Because we already know it’s your fault. Aboriginals, if you put half as much effort into buying fast food franchises and starting massive multinational mining corporations as you did into protesting and living in squalid conditions, you would all be extremely wealthy like us. But I guess that’s too much to ask, eh? Even after all we’ve done for you.

And it’s like you’re never pleased. We didn’t give you the vote, because we thought it’d be too much pressure for you, given ballot papers often have more than six candidates on them and ancient Aboriginal culture was pretty skimpy on maths. But you didn’t like that, so we let you vote, and then you go find something else to complain and/or die prematurely about. We give you alcohol, and you complain about alcoholism. We take away your alcohol, and you complain about not having any alcohol. We give you the gift of law and order, and then you complain that we keep arresting you without "reasons". Seriously, when are you going to be satisfied? We even agreed to stop calling you "Abos", even though that was a real timesaver and everything takes twice as long now.

I mean, look at Cathy Freeman. We didn’t have to let her on that Olympic team. There’s a little white girl somewhere who cried her eyes out because her place got taken by Cathy. We gave her that place out of the goodness of our hearts. And then, even more generously, we gave her a gold medal – we didn’t even ask her to give it to us when she got back or anything. Didn’t that prove that we were perfectly willing to let Aboriginals do stuff and be on TV and everything? But still you don’t seem happy, whining about land rights and infant mortality rates and basic human living standards and frankly, it’s starting to get us down. It makes us wonder if you were really ready to participate in society after all. We let you, because you’d been fairly well-behaved and we thought it’d be a nice treat for you, but if you’re going to repay us by protesting and stealing shoes, maybe we should reconsider. Maybe it was all too much, too soon. You’ve got to walk before you can run, even when you’re black, I suppose.

The point is, Aboriginals, if you want to keep getting favours from us Australians, you’re going to have to stop acting like such dicks about it. A little grace wouldn’t go astray, you know? A little decency. A little team spirit. I mean, we’re all in this together, aren’t we? Some of us more than others, obviously, but that’s only to be expected because we’re a bit more presentable. You can’t blame us for that – God just made us this way. And he made you that way, and I don’t think we can ignore the implications, right?

You need to chill out, Aboriginals. We’re not asking you to like us – although if you don’t it just shows how mean you are. All we’re asking is that you go about your business quietly and peacefully, and let us go about our business quietly and peacefully, and stop yelling at our prime minister, and maybe, you know, go out to the desert and talk to the birds or something. That’s the sort of thing you guys like, isn’t it?

We just want a little bit of respect and to not have to be reminded of your existence very often. Then I’m sure we can all get along, Aboriginals and civilised humans alike.

Yours tolerantly,

Ben Pobjie (White)


MadOldBear said...

Nice bit of writing Ben.
I hope the right people take notice (Australian press)

Denys Finney said...

Love your work

Cara said...

Absolutely brilliant writing Ben. Feels like you held up a mirror to the nation - and the reflection is grotesque.

I will be sharing this around - the more people who see it and really think about it, the better.

SandraSmurf said...

Thanks for this - also hope it reaches the 'right' people. Sandra (black)

Anonymous said...

ur a bunch of rednecks go dress up in ya white cloth ignorent gooses.

Doug Quixote said...

Points for effort, but I think it is not especially funny, and not up to your usual standard.

Isn't it about time Bolt got a new going over? Or perhaps Melinda Tankard-Reist?

Jeremy said...

Gold, again.

Simon said...

This piece is perfection! I laughed till I stopped. Leave it to Ben to write a hilarious satirical piece which beautifully points out the absurdity and cruelness of the views held by our 'much loved' right wing citizens.

Keep up your superb writing Mr Pobjie. Since becoming an atheist, I'm looking for worthy humans to worship instead. At the moment it's a close race between you, Stephen Hawking and the guy at Shell who gives me free out of date Mars Bars.