Thursday, November 19, 2015
Australia is a nation of white privilege?
Despite the unceasing efforts of many Australian governments to improve the lot of Aborigines, we find a big whine from a part-Aboriginal man below. Clearly he feels saddened by some of his life experiences but he is that way because of a lack of perspective. He fails to factor in the great efforts to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal that have been made by many Australian governments over the years. Those efforts have largely failed but it is Aboriginals who have failed to take advantage of what they have been offered. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
Australia does have an informal version of America's "affirmative action" in that the standards expected of Aborigines are lower than what is expected of whites but that has still done little good. How is the rest of Australia to blame for that? The efforts have been made but Aborigines have failed to respond.
As well as that deficiency in perspective, the writer seems to suffer from something like delusions of reference. He attributes all his difficulties to the color of his skin. He seems to think that only Aborigines have problems. That society also gives whites problems appears to be quite beyond his ken. The problems whites and blacks have may be different but the problems whites have can be very severe. We often read of young white people suiciding but I have yet to hear of an Aborigine doing the same. Particularly in Britain there are stories of suicides among young white children and teenagers in the papers most days.
There is no doubt that children can be cruel to one-another and that seems mostly to be behind the suicides I have mentioned. Children will pick on almost any deviation from the norm and mock it. In my youth I was mocked for being unsporting but I just ignored it and the mockery ceased. That children also mock dark skin is therefore completely normal and unlikely to change. If the guy below did not have dark skin he might well have been picked on for some other attribute. Calling a society racist for what some children acting like children do is absurd.
In using the word "privilege", the writer is using an expression that often implies that a person is getting something undeserved. But the whole idea of privilege in the field of race-relations is just a leftist slur. It asserts that some people or classes of people were/are given certain things unfairly rather than working for them, earning them or deserving them
If a high IQ person makes a scientific breakthrough, is that privilege? I can't see it. He may be amply rewarded for his breakthrough but that reward is a reward for his work, not privilege.
Being born bright could be seen as a privilege but that is conferred by genetics not society -- and being bright of itself may mean little. I knew a very high IQ man who could only find work supervising garbage bins. It's the work you do using your brain that matters and which gives you any rewards. And the results of work are not "privilege". They are justly earned rewards
And a rejection of a job application by a black is also a justly earned reward, though the individual black himself might not have earned it. If Leftist privilege-critics can talk in terms of such broad categories as "whites", why can employers not think in terms of such broad categories as "blacks"? And the well-known poor performance of both Australian and American blacks in many ways will often give rise to a reasonable fear that any given black may perform poorly in tasks relevant to the job in question. If the task involved singing and dancing or running fast, an application from an American black could well be given priority. Who would be "privileged" then?
Any attempt at answering that question shows immediately that the whole idea of anchoring your analysis of wellbeing or success in such broad and diverse categories as "whites" or "blacks" is near brain-dead. It indicates an inability at detailed thought or a lack of fine-grained perception. It is just a typical Leftist overgeneralization. There all sorts of whites, rich, poor and in-between. Are they all equally "privileged" by being white? Only a Leftist would think so
An intelligent appraisal of various forms of success in society would require much, much more than such childish categories as "whites". Pre-schoolers can tell whites from blacks and Leftists would appear not to have got beyond that infantile stage in their thinking. Leftist politicians do talk of 'nuance' but they rarely display any of it
But nothing in Leftist "privilege" discourse is remotely intellectual. It is just an attempt at stirring up racial antagonisms. It is racism pure and simple.
The guy below should stop obsessing about past slights and get on with living. As an totally unsporting person, I manage to survive happily in a sports-mad nation so I can see no reason why an articulate part-Aboriginal man cannot survive happily in a mostly white nation. Wise people make the best of what they have instead of whining about what they have not
Chinese, Japanese and Indians look different and are different in some ways but they do well in Australia. The whiner below needs to ask himself why Aborigines fail to do likewise. Within living memory, Italians Greeks and other Southern Europeans were treated with suspicion by "old" Australians but their children are now well and truly in the mainstream. Why has that not happened with Aborigines? Minor discrimination clearly does not hold anyone back in Australia if they have the drive to get out and do something for themselves rather than sitting down on their behinds
I have just returned from Jamaica, where I gave a keynote address on Black Consciousness as part of the country’s Heritage Week Celebrations. I spent a week feeling “black, loud and proud”, embraced for my Aboriginality and acknowledged by my international peers as an authority in my field.
But I returned home to discover yet another storm of racial vilification brewing. This time it was targeted against actress Miranda Tapsell, whose only crime was to be honest and heartfelt when interviewed about racism in Australia.
And, once again, anger was being aimed at retired footballer Adam Goodes – now due to his role as a David Jones ambassador.
And, last week, a video showing a group of black African students being asked to leave an Apple store in Melbourne went viral. It clearly showed an Apple staff member telling the boys that they had to leave the store because staff were concerned they were going to shoplift. Apple later apologised.
The reality of white privilege
It doesn’t take long as an Indigenous Australian returning from overseas to be reminded that we are a nation of white privilege. Examples of such privilege include people being able to experience the following:
assume that most of the people you or your children study in history classes and textbooks will be of the same race, gender or sexual orientation as you are;
assume that your failures will not be attributed to your race or gender; and
not have to think about your race, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities on a daily basis.
For me, it starts before the flight home. My daughter is the youngest-ever graduate in the Australian Public Service traineeship program, black or white. She also celebrated her 18th birthday in Paris after negotiating a dollar-for-dollar deal with her mother and I.
But rather than reaffirm her identity, Maiala’s success denies her Aboriginality, with people often shocked when they hear how well she is doing.
If she was beaten, abandoned and on substance abuse she would fit her racial profile. This is white privilege in action: assume that your failures will not be attributed to your race or your gender. If Maiala fit her racial profile her failures would be attributed to her being Aboriginal – but no-one assumes this of her success.
Our failure is a consequence of being Aboriginal. But any success is clearly only due to our having white blood.
Being black in white Australia
Everywhere we travel overseas as a family we are asked our ethnicity. Whether in Europe, the US or elsewhere, people are generally shocked to find out we are Indigenous Australians. Why? Because they had no idea black people, let alone Indigenous black people, come from Australia.
Australia is known exclusively as a country of white people. Could you imagine thinking of New Zealand without any idea that Māori people existed, or the US without black people or Native Americans?
My wife and children are very Aboriginal in their appearance. The welcoming faces they receive from other Australians when overseas quickly turn to shock, and replaced by a look we Aboriginal people see all our lives. People look down as we pass them, or slide across in public seats so we can’t sit next to them. Yes, this happens. And we see it, we feel it – and yes it hurts.
The situation almost becomes surreal on the plane. Generally every staff member is white on every major Australian airline. So here we are as black people, jumping on an aircraft of white people being served by white people, immersed back into a world of whiteness.
Just look at these in-flight air safety videos from Australia, the US and New Zealand. If ever there was a demonstration of Australian white privilege this is it. The US and New Zealand videos clearly show black and Indigenous people not only existing, but as being essential to the culture, the company and the identity of the institution. The Australian video is a world of whiteness.
History repeats itself
Australia just isn’t progressive and our people continue to suffer. There’s no better example of this than the fact that we are losing more of our children today than during the Stolen Generation. Not having been reared by my own Aboriginal mother, it is a situation that raises feelings of anxiety within me every time I return home from overseas.
The greatest demonstration of white privilege is that Australia consistently ranks near the top in the annual United Nations Human Development Index – which measures health, economic well-being and life expectancy.
But if Australia’s Indigenous population were to be ranked separately, it would come 100th out of nearly 200 nations. In other words, Australia is one of the richest Western countries in the world built on an industry of mining from the lands of Aboriginal people who remain living in third-world poverty.
As with Tapsell, my daughter Maiala, Goodes, black kids denied access to Apple stores and many others, the atmosphere is toxic. It affects us all and we have to call it for what it is: white privilege.
Turnbull compromises on coal stand-off
This concerns government funding for coal-fired generators, not private lending by banks. It will however undoubtedly reduce the availability of electricity to some extent. China finances its own generators so will not be affected. India too will probably skate around the restrictions on the grounds that it is a poor country. Australian negotiators insisted on exceptions for poor countries. Most new generators in the Western world are gas-fired anyway, largely thanks to fracking
Australia has backed down from a climate change stand-off with the US and Japan, agreeing to a deal to cut funding for dirty coal-fired electricity by billions of dollars a year.
The agreement, backed by 34 wealthy countries, is expected to give a boost to the United Nations climate summit starting in Paris in 12 days.
The compromise deal was reached at a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the terror-ravaged French capital overnight on Tuesday.
A senior White House administration official said it was a "landmark" – the first deal to include standards to reduce public financing for the dirtiest coal-fired power plants. "If you look at plants ... funded in the last 10 years, this agreement would make 80 per cent of them ineligible," the official said.
"And if you look at the forward pipeline of coal plants on the drawing board today globally, we estimate that this agreement will render more than 85 per cent of those plants ineligible."
Rich countries' export credit agencies have funded about $35 billion worth of coal over the past seven years.
Leaked documents seen by Fairfax Media last week showed Australia had opposed a US-Japan deal that effectively would have limited public financing of coal plants by OECD countries to only the "cleanest" available – mostly those classed as "ultra-supercritical" generators.
The US and Japan also wanted a clause that a coal plant could win public funding only if cleaner alternatives, such as renewables, were not viable.
Australia wanted the deal to still allow the funding of large "supercritical" coal plants, which have higher emissions, and to avoid the requirement that cleaner alternatives be considered.
The US official said under the compromise deal large plants can be funded only if they were ultra-supercritical – that is, if they have the latest technology and the lowest emissions possible.
Dirtier plants could be funded only if they were small and in the poorest countries.
All plants would need to be assessed on whether they were the cleanest alternative available, and if they were consistent with the country's climate change plan before winning funding. The deal will take effect in 2017.
"This is a big step forward," the official said. "It puts clean energy technology, like renewable energy, on a stronger footing."
The deal addressed concerns that cutting emissions would prevent people in the poorest countries getting access to electricity by still allowing small plants using older coal technology to be built in those cases, he said.
The deal includes an Australian proposal that eight countries in which fewer than 90 per cent of people have access to electricity still be allowed to build older coal technology if cleaner alternatives were not available.
The US official said it did not consider this clause significant, estimating it would affect less than 1 per cent of planned coal plants.
Based on Australian Treasury modelling, it is likely Australia's coal exports will fare better than those from competitor countries as the market tightens. Australia's coal is generally considered to be of better quality, and more suitable for use in lower-emission power plants.
Jake Schmidt, of the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council, said Australia had watered the deal down, but it would still send "a powerful signal to the private sector that unfettered public financing of overseas coal power plants is coming to an end".
Julien Vincent, of campaign group Market Forces, said the agreement was a "huge relief", but expressed concern about Australia's positioning in the negotiations.
"Prime Minister [Malcolm] Turnbull said just a few weeks ago that we need to take the ideology out of the climate change debate. For Australia to take a modest proposal ... and only agree to it after kicking holes in it is a sign that we haven't yet shaken off the 'climate change is absolute crap' ideology of Tony Abbott," he said.
Japan backed the deal despite being responsible for more than half of OECD export credit financing of coal. South Korea had also opposed the US-Japan deal, but agreed to the compromise.
The deal covers coal plants funded by public export credit agencies only. Australia's export credit agency, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, does not fund coal.
French Submarine Maker Surfaces New Offer to Woo Australia
The French contender in a $20 billion contest to build Australia’s next undersea fleet said it won’t offer its cutting-edge design to other nations like India bulking up their underwater capabilities, as bidding intensifies for one of the world’s most lucrative defense contracts.
The French shipbuilding giant DCNS has sold smaller submarines to India, Malaysia, Chile and Brazil, but its chairman and CEO said Tuesday that only Australia is being offered advanced sonar and stealth technology similar to systems on French nuclear missile submarines.
“What France is offering to Australia is absolutely unique and has never been offered to anybody else in the world,” DCNS’s head Herve Guillou said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal at a conference bringing together bidders for the new submarines. “Nobody else will be offered, by far, the same type of package that we are offering.”
DCNS is a state-controlled company that is one of Europe’s largest defense firms, building submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers.
Also vying to build Australia’s next-generation submarine fleet are Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and Japan’’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.
Australia’s Defense Minister Marise Payne said the government will pick the winning company early next year, as it plans to replace its six aging submarines with eight to 12 state-of-the-art vessels. The two-day conference was scheduled long before the weekend’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, which Mr. Guillou said he expects will spark countries to speed up buying of sophisticated weaponry.
Germany’s TKMS has also offered a larger and more advanced submarine than it has offered elsewhere. Japan, which has never before offered its proven Soryu design for sale, is hoping a sale of its submarines could solidify Tokyo’s growing strategic ties with Australia, while also boosting the country’s ambitions to take a greater slice of the global arms market.
Australia is one of many Asia-Pacific nations looking to modernize its submarine fleet with diesel-powered vessels. More than half of the world’s submarines are expected to be in Asia by 2030, as such countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore look to hedge against instability by building undersea fleets, which are harder for enemies to detect than conventional ships.
Canberra wants its new fleet to maintain the advantage its small but technically proficient military has held over regional neighbors, including China, which is also modernizing its fleet of around 70 submarines as it flexes its muscles over disputed islands in the East and South China Seas. The submarines are part of Australia’s ambitious naval modernization worth A$89 billion, which includes new destroyers, frigates, submarines and patrol ships.
All of the submarines being offered to Australia would give the country one of the most potent undersea forces in Asia, while adding to the capabilities of Australia’s chief ally the U.S. Modern conventional submarines add to the ability of the all-nuclear U.S. undersea fleet by being able to operate in shallower Asian coastal waters and rest undetected with engines off on ocean floors—something nuclear vessels cannot do.
DCNS is offering Australia a smaller version of its Barracuda nuclear submarine against Germany’s new Type 216, also designed specifically to prowl Australia’s sprawling coastline and reach far north into Asia. Japan, which has fallen from favoritism after a change in Australia’s prime minister, is offering a modified version of its Soryu submarine.
Mr. Guillou said DCNS was offering Australia exclusive designs because it is a Western ally in the same region of French strategic interests in Tahiti and Noumea, as well as the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
Senator David Leyonhjelm warns the US not to adopt Australia's gun control laws
Senator David Leyonhjelm has labelled Australia "a nation of victims" and discouraged the United States from following Australia's example on gun control.
The Liberal Democrat made the comments in an interview with the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) which was screened on YouTube.
His interview appears in a clip attacking presidential hopeful and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton over her pro-gun control stance and comes as the race to the White House heats up.
Senator Leyonhjelm told the NRA that Australia should not be a model for gun control, stating that John Howard's 1996 gun legislation - pushed through in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre - had made "no difference".
"We are a nation of victims," he said. "You cannot own a gun for self defence ... the criminals still have guns. There's a very vigorous black market for guns, so it's not made the slightest bit of difference. "If you want a gun, you can get one."
Senator Leyonhjelm has pushed for the rights of gun owners in Australia since his election in 2013 and recently negotiated a 12-month sunset clause on a ban on importing the Adler lever-action shotgun.
Australia 'hand picking' Syrian refugees
Australia says it's hand picking the 12,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled here to limit any risk of importing terrorists.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has moved to allay any concerns in Australia, saying the checks on incoming refugees are as exhaustive as they can be.
"These are people who are hand-picked by Australian authorities in the Middle East," she told the Seven Network.
"We are focusing on people who have been persecuted in Syria and Iraq, people who are fleeing from terrorism, from persecution. Our screening and testing is very intense."
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says people have been pouring over borders in Europe, some on false documents, but Australia's security landscape is different.
"It's a different scenario for our country compared to a country like France because we don't have land borders," he told 2GB Radio on Tuesday.
"We face a very different scrutiny of people. We do all of the checks offshore before people get here, and we discard many applications."