Culture

If You Hate Being Called A Racist, Imagine Experiencing Actual Racism

There’s no room for racism, and there’s no room for Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley Racist Comments On Indigenous protest, Close The Gap

Don’t tell me the odds aren’t against us when Kerri-Anne Kennerley can sit on national television and project racism towards Indigenous Australia.

Once again, here we have a discussion about Indigenous people, without Indigenous people.

With just over 50,000 Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people coming together on January the 26th to take a stand against the racism that Indigenous people are subjected to in Australia, we have Studio 10 discussing what this day means.

Just two days after Survival Day, Kennerley asks “Has any single one of those 5,000 people waving the flags saying how inappropriate the day is? Has any one of them been out to the outback where children, where babies and five-year-old’s are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped? They get no education.”

“People like Kennerley who make throwaway comments like this do not understand that this is life for some of us.”

Kennerley – in making false statements about why we are protesting and advocating on the ground – is attempting to derail the legitimacy of what people are truly protesting. All whilst further stigmatising Indigenous people — particularly Indigenous women.

Not only are these comments a prime example of extreme racial stereotypes, but they also have serious impacts for our women of colour, our children and all those in communities that “represent the outback” and how wider Australia potentially may view Indigenous Australia.

In response, Yumi Stynes stated that KAK’s statements were “not even faintly true” and sounded “quite racist”.  If it was not for Stynes calling it out (which is the responsibility of everyone, not just women of colour), this may have been accepted as truth and gone unchecked by audiences — with Kennerley holding no accountability for her shameful statements on national television.

The talks continued with Kennerley entering defence mode stating “Just because I have a point of view, Yumi, [that] does not make me racist…..I am offended.”

Actually Kerri-Anne, it does make you racist, and you are offensive.

Attempting to play the victim card and taking offence for being called out does not give you the right to say what is or isn’t offensive when you are making uninformed vitriolic statements about Indigenous people. As an Indigenous woman, I get to decide whether your racist comments around Indigenous people offended me or not.

Indigenous protest

Why Kerri-Anne’s Comments Were Unacceptable

When your comments surrounding Indigenous people are a false representation of who we are, you are continuing to oppress an already marginalised group.

This is the same language shared, the same discourse presented, when the government suspended the discrimination act and rolled out The Northern Territory Emergency response. It was these same falsified statements that enabled the government to enact one of the biggest landgrabs without substantial opposition.

If people take on board what Kennerley has stated, it creates the potential for more harm in our communities and risk of government intervention, creating greater harm then good. The comments made are severely harmful, and leave Indigenous Australia with another layer of trauma.

We are not taking it anymore. The racism that exists today is killing our people. Our children have the right to walk freely without being viewed through a white colonial lens on television, or anywhere for that matter.

A day after the initial “debate”,  Studio 10 brought on Jacinta Price and Lydia Thorpe to continue discussions, once again leaving the onus on Indigenous women to pick up the damage caused.

Racism is still alive and well. From the media, to everyday interactions — we see the constant comments, actions and even deaths towards Indigenous Australia by Non-indigenous Australia, the media and the institutions. Do they have any idea about the implications of their actions, and how this only caters to the harmful trauma that Indigenous Australia is subjected to?

I have spent my life around family and communities that have been subjected to the same stigma that comes about from false statements like these. It more than likely results in our children being removed, and more state harm intervention in our communities. People like Kennerley who make throwaway comments like this do not understand that this is life for some of us.

To Yumi Stynes,  I say thank you for calling it out. However, it is not just up to one person, it is up to the whole country.

There’s no room for racism, and there’s no room for Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

 

Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts is a proud Bundjalung woman. At the age of 11, she was forcibly removed from her Father and placed in out-of-home care. She used her personal experience as motivation to study law and social work. Vanessa is an active member of her community, advocating against forced adoptions legalisations and its process of being a continued stolen generation.