Photo by Carey Ciuro
A recent conversation with a local farmer about Aboriginal people left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
It went something along the lines of
He: “Abo’s are lazy, they don’t work, they don’t even try to get work, and they complain they have no money but then they go get their dole check and the first thing they do is go to Macca’s and spend it on piss. They get so many benefits from the government it’s not fair. They get so much more than we do and they don’t bloody deserve it…”
Me: “I don’t know enough about the circumstances except what I learnt about the Mabo case when I did a law subject at school. But I know that they were the first here, this was their land and it was taken from them. The government knows this and that’s why they offer all of those benefits, it’s the closest they can get to compensating them for that.”
And listening to his diatribe I realized he was just ignorant trying to spread his ignorance on to me. But I didn’t buy it.
Generalizing a culture and simplifying the issue as he did was not a surprise to me. He certainly isn’t the first person to say what he said and certainly won’t be the last.
But where I started getting angry was when he said he wished Pauline Hanson was still around so she could do something about it.
Ignorance is one thing, but I draw the line with down and out racism. Had this farmer had his way and Pauline Hanson had come into more power, immigration would be non-existent and Asian people like me wouldn’t be allowed into this country. In history, it’s people like him that gave rise to people like Adolf Hitler.
And that is why when I see him again, which is unfortunately unavoidable living in a country town of two hundred people, I will smile politely and keep on my merry way.
I have no time to waste with time-wasters.