Culture

The #IndigenousDads Hashtag Is The Perfect Antidote To Bill Leak

Indigenous Australians have rejected racism with personal stories.

The internet isn’t always the best place to go when you’re looking to have your faith in humanity restored. Still, every once in a while, it really delivers.

In a perfect response to controversial cartoonist Bill Leak, whose latest racist scribble caused widespread public outcry, Indigenous Australians have taken to Twitter en masse to celebrate their fathers using the hashtag #IndigenousDads. And yeah, the result has been pretty damn beautiful.

Indigenous fathers also posted pictures of themselves with their kids. Cleverman co-creator Ryan Griffen tweeted “no [sic] only do I know my son’s name but I named a superhero after him.”

In case you’ve been living blissfully under a particularly nice rock this week, this is all in reaction to a cartoon by Leak that was published in The Australian on Thursday. Responding to recent reports of Indigenous youths being abused in NT detention facilities, the cartoon depicts a drunken Aboriginal father being told to talk to his son about personal responsibility, only to be unable to recall the boy’s name. In other words, the height of sophisticated satire.

The cartoon was roundly condemned on social media, and labeled “racist” by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion. Naturally, old Leaky wasn’t too happy about that, lashing out against “sanctimonious Tweety Birds” and publishing a follow up cartoon featuring a caricature of himself being accosted by a Twitter user armed with a noose and a club.

It’ll be interesting to see how Leak manages to turn this spontaneous display of love and solidarity into something ugly. Still, if anyone can do it, it’s the guy whose cartoons have managed to denigrate everyone from Muslims to LGBTQI people to people living in the developing world.

Until then though, let’s just enjoy the best use of Twitter we’ve seen in quite some time.