Kindness and humanity

People need to each other’s humanity. They need to reach out to each other and offer some kindness.

It’s a simple rule, often forgotten in the hurly burly of
our modern lives. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as a result of
watching the way people interact on the public stage.

Andrew Bolt. A man, an issue I’ve been wanting to write
about, seems to me to be a prime example of a human being who has lost his way
when it comes to being considerate of others. The bafflement on his face when handed
his verdict, his inability to understand the subsequent dressing down delivered
by the judge, smacked of someone who has forgotten how to recognise another
person’s humanity.

There’s too much of it around these days – this lack of
acknowledging another’s humanity. I keep wondering if it’s a result of the ever
growing population inuring us to each other. Or if it’s because of the rise of
electronic technology and the arms length distance it lends to our
communication. Or perhaps it’s globalisation – fear on a pandemic scale – fear of
losing what we have, of not having enough, perhaps even fear of not deserving
what we do have. Or maybe we are just losing our manners.

Whatever it is, I despair of it. The vitriol that was dished
out in the wake of the Andrew
Bolt Decision
, from both sides of the coin, was unnecessarily unkind and
only served to reveal the latent insecurities and loathing in Australian
culture.

The fact that the HWT said they thought that section 18 of
the Racial Discrimination Act “overly
detracts from free speech and should be revisited by the legislature” tells us that
the good folk of the HWT, the executives, the staff, the loyal readers, don’t
understand what the Racial Discrimination Act is. They clearly don’t respect
the humanity the Act is trying to protect. Their responses only reinforced the dire
need for Australia to retain, if not strengthen, the Act.

A quick scan of the blogs – and there were many – discussing
the Bolt Decision reveals a disturbing level of ignorance in the ‘mainstream’
population. Many felt that Bolt’s
point
was lost in translation and to some degree they were right. Bolt
believed that people who were not genuinely entitled to the support made available
to Aboriginal Australians should be prevented from receiving it, which in
itself is a fair statement. The mistake he made was to link the statement to
his own judgement of who he believed is entitled, and that was based on his misguided
idea that colour constitutes race.

Culture is not about colour. Sometimes colour can be
synonymous with culture, but they are not the same thing. There are plenty of
blonde Italians, fair Asians, light Africans, dark Germans – the colour of
their skin does not preclude them from identifying with the race and culture
into which they were born. That Bolt received so much support for this idea of culture
based on colour was disturbing enough. But then to witness the righteous
outrage of Bolt’s supporters as they vented their spleens on his behalf, well,
it was downright embarrassing.

While lamenting the ignorance of my fellow whitefella
brothers and sisters with an Aboriginal friend of mine he said ‘We have a
saying for what’s going on – white is right.’ Hearing this was like a punch to
the guts. Because I understood that the core what he was saying was right. In
our country whitefella views and values dominate every debateable topic, even
if we have zero knowledge, understanding or experience of the matter. Debates are
an essential ingredient to a vibrant democracy – but there is no place for fear
mongering and misinformation in a sound debate. And the debate that followed
Bolt’s well deserved loss in our courts was filled with both of these things.

‘I want Australia back’ ranted one blogger.

Fine. Let’s hand Parliament over to the Aboriginal leaders of
this country. Let’s see Aboriginal people dominate the discussion for a change,
set the policy, lead the country – because they are the ones most entitled to
claim Australia as it was in the past.

Somehow I don’t think that’s what the lady meant.

‘Boilt
[sic] makes perfect sense. And I’m NOT sorry if I offend anyone. – KennyMcCormick

Not much humanity here for any one. I wonder how Kenny feels
when someone pushes in front of him in a queue? Or when someone steals his car park?
Or when his boss ignores him in the morning? I wonder how Kenny will feel when
he’s refused a job opportunity because he’s over 50? I’m sure Kenny doesn’t
like it much when his humanity is ignored – yet he, and many others, feel they
are perfectly entitled to ignore the humanity of Aboriginal people. Because,
after all, they’re only Blackfella’s – aren’t they Kenny?

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