The idea of a separate black national holiday speaks volumes. Not in the concept, but the fact that we’re not part of the discussion.
As a black man, you quickly learn one thing. To twist Jane Austen, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that you’re not. You’re spoken for, not to. Yesterday, Scott Morrison doubled down on the Australia Day debate (albeit four months early), noting that the date will remain January 26. Today, he announced a separate holiday, ostensibly for we blacks.
Indulgent self-loathing doesn’t make Australia stronger. Being honest about the past does. Our modern Aus nation began on January 26, 1788. That’s the day to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, become, still to achieve. We can do this sensitively, respectfully, proudly, together. https://t.co/uM59Lwrr1p
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) 23 September 2018
For what it’s worth, Labour has also followed suit saying that while they support January 26, they didn’t like the way that Morrison went about it.
Unlike Scott Morrison, we’ll consult Indigenous people and our Indigenous caucus about whether a proper day of recognition with an additional public holiday is a positive way forward – we’re open to it.
— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) 24 September 2018
What links the two, is the same aspect. They’re speaking on our behalf. What’s missing, is us. It’s not about recognition of the past, nor present. January 26 is off the table, as it is about their job security and the status quo. The idea of another day, which can easily be described as “Black Australia Day”, seems as obvious as it is hollow. It only truly exists so they can continue to keep their long-running tradition afloat. One that has only existed since 1994.
The Prime Minister says Australia Day should not have to be ‘torn down’ to ensure the nation’s Indigenous roots are acknowledged. https://t.co/5kf4rt3ce4
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) 24 September 2018
Sadly, one black voice on this issue is deemed mostly irrelevant. This is less of a date and more an event. An opportunity to get angry, consolidate power, and agree with yourself. Triple J moving their Hottest 100 played to their audience. Morrison telling everyone to move on from the past plays to his. We’re merely the medium, the carriage of rage. We transport the issue to town, but we still have to wait outside the bar while the adults discuss it. After all, justified segregation is easy to pull off if it sounds like an accomodation.
SCOTT MORRISON proposes a National Day for Indigenous to rival Australia Day.
— ⚡pinning (@TazSpinZone) 24 September 2018
What we’re left with, is division. Left and right, black and white. Maybe a national day of segregation is a fair substitute, at least it will fairly represent the country it represents. I have no problem in Australia Day remaining January 26, as it will serve as a reminder of how much we haven’t changed.