The Party opposes any form of generalised discrimination, including racial discrimination. (See our Bill of Rights policy.)
In a perfect world the statement “it’s OK to be white” would be both innocuous and completely unnecessary (as would “it’s OK to be [black|Asian|Native American|etc]”). Morality is a product of your actions, not your skin colour.
Of course, this isn’t a perfect world. The problems with the statement are a function of its origins in the alt-right. (It’s part of a fairly obvious reaction to perceived anti-white social engineering efforts.) Anyone using it uncritically (as happened this week) is therefore spreading an alt-right meme at best, and is probably actually dog-whistling to the racists.
I must say I’m not really surprised even if appalled.
I’ve been saying for years that Australia has a fascist government. The current one no less than the previous few.
The federation’s founding sentiment was of white supremacy; the first bills that passed after federation were the white Australia policy and similar. I see this bill as a continuation of the undercurrents of racism that frequently surface on the political landscape. “Australia” has many fascist and racist foundation stones and it’s so pervasive that most people don’t even see most or any of them.Not surprising though, considering people’s knowledge of Australia’s official history is almost as little as that of the history of racism, eugenics, colonisation etc. on this continent.
It’s not really a consolation that the fascist politicians won’t admit to being fascist, and instead apologise for things like this last bill, pretending for it to have been a slip-up or oversight, trying to blend in with those who maybe just weren’t paying enough attention.
There is a silver lining. At moments like these we can take note exactly who votes in favour.
Others in government who supported the motion were the Deputy Senate Leader and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and Deputy National leader Bridget McKenzie.
With respect Andrew, not all identity politics is bad. Civil rights movement was identity politics. Feminism and #metoo. LGBTQ rights. Black Lives Matter and many others.
There’s nothing wrong with a group of people articulating the lived experience of disadvantage or oppression due to a particular identity. It provides understanding and can inform action that removes structural and attitudinal prejudice. At it’s best in creates social cohesion through empathy and a willingness by ‘others’ to end the disadvantage.
The difference with white identity politics is that being white in Australia is not a disadvantage, it attracts no racism nor oppression. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s a massive advantage to be born with white skin. Therefore, white identity politics is pride in dominance and an expression of an unwillingness to share power and advantage. It’s racist because it does not seek understanding from non-whites, it seeks to perpetuate advantage over them.
Justifications for identity politics are not news to me.
I’m totally behind the concept of equal rights.
FYI: I was the primary author of our Bill of Rights policy.
It is designed to express a strong position on equality of opportunity.
Opportunity of individuals.
I think that is the right level of analysis, and why the UN declaration of human rights was also written on that same basis.
Whenever any individual is treated unfairly, it is incumbent upon us all to address that, and so we have enacted laws to support that and everyone gets behind that because we can all see that it is fair.
It just needs to go deeper IMHO, down to a constitutional level.
However, when we pitch group against group, it brings out the worst of our tribal instincts, and it NEVER ends well. Setting group against group was the basis of all of the historic discrimination we are trying to eliminate, and it will be the basis of all future discrimination too.
It’s the same sentiment that every leader in history has appealed to when they wanted to rally a population to go to war - it’s us verses them, our tribe verses their tribe, then … dehumanise them.
I appreciate that it feels like you’re being compassionate, but history suggests (just over and over again until it looks like a broken record), that this is a terrible mistake.
Andrew, I agree with the sentiment but you’re creating a strawman of what i said, mainly i suspect because the ‘identity politics’ is such a useless term.
The lived experience of a group oppressed by an aspect of identity is not ‘tribe versus tribe’ or ‘us versus them.’ That is not at all what identity politics, at its best, is about. At it’s best, it articulates injustice, through lived experience, that would not otherwise be visible to the rest of the community or society. Once this injustice is exposed, we can make changes, and move forward together. There is no ‘dehumanization’ going on here, there is the opposite.
Creating a fair and equitable bill of rights and embedding basic standards of equality into a constitution is great, and important but you surely don’t think this constitutes a magic bullet against prejudice, right? Prejudice that is invisible to those not on the receiving end will obviously defy a top down legalistic approach.
As a straight man, i have been changed by feminist actions and movements like #metoo. I didnt fucking know, when i was growing up in the 80s, how hurtful and demeaning my behaviour toward women was, it never occurred to me. I had no idea, how could I, they were sexist times and i’m not a woman. Do you see the point i’m trying to make? Now, because i’ve listened to the experience of others i’m able to change my behaviour and attitude and i would not have been able to do that by simply reading a clause in a constitution. This is identity politics - at its most useful.
Seriously, to dismiss ‘identity politics’ (a woefully inadequate term) is to dismiss feminism and the civil rights movement. It is to dismiss reconciliation and the national apology because none of these things would have happened unless people got together and articulated their shared experience, none of it because we would all be ignorant of it, we wouldnt even be aware that something had to be done. And no, it does not create division, it brings us together because when we understand the experience of others, and when we see the injustice, we move toward change, together.
Please understand, i’m more than aware of the potential for identity politics to bring out our worst tendencies (from, it’s ok to be white to it’s ok to murder the out group). But it does not have to be this, and mostly it isn’t.
Use of this slippery phrase requires a little more nuance, in my view. I suspect this debate, not just here but more broadly, is almost entirely heated by the fact that we have one term, ‘Identity Politics’ to describe many different things. Our language is wanting.
If there’s one thing this forum can teach us, it’s to avoid label-based debates. “Identity politics” can be a description of the great civil rights movements of the 20th century. But “identity politics” could also describe how localized land disputes between countries in the Middle East end up causing death and division in dozens of other countries around the world. Better to talk about particular issues instead of blanket support or blanket opposition to “identity politics”.
Note the crucial demand of the civil rights movements was for all of us to look past things like race and sex and see the individual. We should all avoid lumping complex people into simple groups, or imagining that one can extrapolate from a trait to judge a person’s social standing, opinion, or the totality of their life experience.
I’d like to talk a bit about whiteness as a culture(-al expectation).
In my experience, it’s a massive advantage to be a white migrant to Australia. It’s relatively easy for us to assimilate into the hegemonic Anglo-Saxon culture. I was accepted as part of the community before I could blink an eye. That is, from the very day I arrived 12 years ago. Being a white newcomer in Australia is not just okay, it’s great. Many people are curious, want to know you, talk to you and are super-friendly (an experience which many white backpackers look back to nostalgically once they’re back in, say, Germany, all depressed leading their normal life). It can take years to get an inkling of what non-white people face, or to question the accepted rules such as that speaking English language is Most Important.
Anglo Whiteness culture is so strong in Australia that there even is racism against typically-slightly-darker-than-Anglo white people such as Italians and Greeks. The pressure to “act white” or assimilate can be so huge that migrants’ children frequently show no interest even in learning their (parents’) language. I’ve heard accounts of a similar thing in many Indigenous communities.
In a society where white culture is seen by everyone as the norm, as something to strive to, where whiteness as a placeholder for “Western Civilisation” is the hegemony, motions like Hanson’s where she spreads fear of the breaking down of such dominance by claims of
the deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation
followed by the point that, of course, it’s okay to be white, are outright offensive. In this context, the phrase “it is okay to be white”, while deceptively seeming like it’s about skin-colour, actually means: “It’s okay for the white-culture hegemony to remain.” (I bet that if put like that, the Senate would vote in favour.)
@PLB, @LMK, I acknowledge your compassion. I feel it too.
Whenever subjects like this come up, I’ve come to expect a lot of impassioned pleas to recognise various disadvantaged groups. It’s like, what kind of monsters would we need to be to not feel that? If everyone’s not just lining up to agree, they must not understand, so you feel like you just have to emote some more and describe your path of discovery and to explain the true depths of the plight of the disadvantaged.
To use a common phrase from the research world though, “that is necessary but insufficient” to solve the problem. It describes an aspect of the problem, but is insufficient to describe an effective solution. Damn, that sounds cold, but compassion alone won’t fix this. We need some yang to go with our yin.
The thing that seems to happen in the world of identity politics, is to treat the world like it’s black and white (pun intended), with nice simple dichotomies, and to treat all disagreements like they are adversarial. It’s the same logic that produced the drug war. Drugs bad, therefore drug war. The reality is far more complex.
Does it seem like there’s been a rise in far right extremism lately? Got a few too many white supremacists marching in your news feeds? How much do you think the rise of such groups is related to the prevalence of anti-white, anti-patriarchy messages in all forms of media? If your goal was to actively create such groups, this is exactly how you’d go about it. This kind of thinking is broken.
It’s like, there’s a bad thing ‘X’ in the world, so we must oppose X to suppress it’s existence, but the reality is that the universe doesn’t work like that.
X and not-X exist as a co-dependent pair.
Give power to X and you get more not-X as well.
Give power to not-X and you get more X as well.
Perhaps by way of a more metaphorical example:
The opposite of love is not hate.
The opposite of love is indifference.
You don’t create love by opposing hate.
You create love by actively forging connection…
I expect you all know this is true.
So, I’ll finish by asking some hard but open questions.
If you really want to reduce inequality, should that proceed by trying to shame successful people in the majority culture (you know, the people keeping the lights on) ? Might there be a more productive path?
We can tell really easily when the right goes too far. Just look for the racist/nationalist folks in uniforms with jack boots marching down your streets. They’re pretty hard to miss but how should we respond in a way that doesn’t create more of them, and perhaps more importantly, how can we tell when the left goes too far? It’s more subtle.
What does that look like before we’re all being dragged away to the gulags?
If we’re representing a left oriented political strategy and we can’t answer that, then we’ve got a huge philosophical problem.
Thanks Andrew, interesting questions, i’ll have a crack at responding.
It does feel like there has been a rise in far right extremism and yes, it is, to some extent, reactionary. If you want to deconstruct white privilege, a percentage of those who benefit from it will be pissed, but their fury will subside when equality turns out to be non threatening. That’s the optimistic view. Surely, you’re not suggesting we just leave the patriarchy or white privilege in place because we don’t want a portion of those that benefit turning to the far right?
Furthermore, the apparent rise in fascist style sentiment is not just due to changing community standards, there are many causes and i’m happy to enter that discussion but it’s off topic here, i think.
Yes, shame those perpetuating inequality and privilege, although i think ‘educate’ is a better word than ‘shame,’ in this context. We have done this with enormous success. Remember the 70s? Homophobic, sexist, ant-feminist, and unbelievably racist. None of these things are acceptable in day to day life the way they used to be. Of course they still exist, and some of our right/conservative parties still dabble but I hope we can agree that there has been great and positive change over the last four or five decades. We shouldn’t underestimate this. A truly left politics has had very little electoral representation in the West over this period and yet the left has profoundly changed culture and this has impacted our politics in positive ways.
However, there is only so far we can go without representation, especially when it comes to economic inequality and related economic issues like un(der)employment, homelessness, workers rights, corporate tax evasion etc etc
I assume here you are referring to a top down political or procedural approach? If so it’s a false dichotomy. It’s not one or the other, it’s both, together. Bottom up community based change that drives and informs our political culture along with political representation that can lead the community to a fairer social arrangement. Both have their place.
We let them march? Who cares? We can respond with mockery and counter evidence. The line is violence, incitement to violence and hate speech.
I’d answer that the same way as above.
Well, that is prevented by legal protections and we probably need more of them. This is definitely an area for top down political action - and a free and independent media.
Of course, most of what i’ve said in this post is an exploration of greyness. You’re right, these things are subtle and complex and there are no easy answers. It just seems to me that the ‘academic left’ (one of the drivers of the type of politics that i’m defending in this thread) has been wildly successful in terms of it’s cultural and political impact but yes, we also need representation.
Just saw a video of the statements of Hanson, Hinch, and Di Natale in parliament. It’s cringe, but I expect we will disagree over why it is so. Also tone down the hyperbole a bit please. I’m sure you’ve seen much more embarrassing and infuriating things done by our parliament and government.
This is a fun twitter account that does nothing but catalogue occurrences of anti-white racism on twitter. Here is an article about anti-white racism at Buzzfeed. Here is another article, this time about anti-white discrimination at the BBC. This is just what came up in a quick search. If you go further into the cesspool of idpol it gets more and more ridiculous. The entire basis of that philosophy is to view people as their ethnic/gender/sexuality group and look for “oppression” to correct by force, with no consideration for people as individuals. So the assertion of a rise in anti-white racism clearly has merit.
But what you’ll notice is that all the examples are from the US or UK. As far as I’m aware there hasn’t been much, if any, of such issues here in Australia. Worst I’ve seen is the rare extremist who wants to deport all white people.
Now, the “it’s okay to be white” statement. That’s a thing that was invented by 4chan approximately a year ago. It was explicitly designed to be an innocuous statement to provoke a reaction from the sort of people mentioned in the links above and to draw attention to them. In context, it is a) reactionary, b) anti-racist, and c) an extremely successful troll.
So what we’ve got is Hanson importing foreign political memes that aren’t really relevant in Australia. That’s cringe.
But then there’s Hinch and Di Natale who clearly have no idea of the context, claiming it to be racist and that the statement has a long history with white supremacy. That’s also cringe. Especially since Di Natale seems to have one foot in the direction of the problems the meme was meant to confront.
The question of who is “alt-right” is confusing at the best of times. There’s a small core of white identitarians who are actually alt-right, who want to create a white ethnostate and whatnot. But there are also a large number of various flavours of left libertarian, right libertarian, and classical liberals there too who just get labeled alt-right for disagreeing with globalism or political correctness.
@PLB Hey. I’m a former pirate party member from Eastern Europe, and I speak in my name only on this topic.
I’m bringing you this context to understand where I’m going with it.
I’ve been for whole my life a science lover, while seeing a lot of people being proud or being disgusted by the current colors of their / others’ skin, and dividing them.
Soon enough, I’m pretty sure science will have the possibility of changing the skin color also, although it’s not really useful, it will prove a clear point: there is not relevance in the color of a individual. It’s like nations and borders theory.
Being a Pirate, I just can’t really love nation borders, but I can be proud of only a small portion of population in within a border, not the whole nation. That small portion ca be either a county or a city, or even a small town, but generally one can be proud of a land that the person interacts with, or creates the person’s space / knowledge / education
I can assure you there is no pure skin. There is no real white skin, only if you’re a white walker ( but most probably you would be purple in that case ). Being proud of something that’s not even relevant creates a lot of division.
You can support any kind of social inclusion and equality you want, like I do, but please don’t feel ashamed that you have that color, nor does it matter to be proud of. Be ashamed only if you have alt-right / right-wing politicians that make actual statements and create such divisions and you didn’t do anything to stop them. Those are the exploiters of politics, they themselves don’t even believe what they’re saying, and they don’t even have a biological basis to support their points.
And on historical truth, Australia was never a ‘human white skin’ land, so they don’t even have any basis to exist as nationalists/right-wing on Australian current land!
In E. Europe we’re ashamed of politicians interfering in the people’s private business and over-taxing everything, while trying to effectively end the private sector beneficial existence. Everyone else unites to defend themselves against such atrocities ( rroma people, hungarians, any other kind of minorities )
You see, as I previously saw some comments on fascists and fascism in general, every political party that takes power and has a large majority will tend to impose its ideas over the constitutional limits or good sense.
For example, what would happen if you put extreme totalitarian left in charge as majority? They would effectively end private sector and impose total equality; destroy privacy, freedom of speech and economy in the name of social justice and social-economic equality.
What would a fascist state do? We’ve seen this in Italy, Germany and it’s pretty clear what would happen: empower the majority in the respective countries over the minorities and do biological “cleansing”, while maintaining the evident approach of ‘white supremacy’ in white-powered countries, ‘yellow supremacy’ in yellow-powered countries, ‘arab supremacy’ in arab countries. These people would destroy social justice and equality in the name of economy, land and traditions.
What would a nowadays social authoritarian state do? Destroy free speech and privacy/anonymity in the name of social justice & equality, while empowering corporations that support the minorities be free to exploit the population, even the the people that support social justice & equality.
The irony of all these facts is that many of the people would find themselves in between the above authoritarians/totalitarian systems when in power.
For example, a lot black supremacists and black-lives-matter do not support direct democracy / participative democracy due to the fear that they would be democratically overrun, but statistics clearly contradict that soon enough. And a lot of groups within the LGBTQIA+ find participative democracy as flawed and exploitative, while the Turkish Kurds clearly defy that fear
I find it imperative for people to understand that participative democracy is the grand evolution of our ages, and it’s the next step in education, due to education. Emitting laws to prove and impose statements while the very basis of the statements can change through time is something that’s clearly childish.
You don’t need laws to protect statements, you need education to stop these kind of law enactment.
Education and Civic Consciousness eliminates colonialism and imperialism, creates civic implication. It is our responsibility to stop these kinds of laws from being enacted and impose the people’s direct vote on that matter.
I can assure you, these right-wingers / alt-righters are now the minority in every educated country. They know that, they feel that. They’re now trying to protect a dead legacy and impose reactionary thoughts in people’s minds. A clear reactionary thought is reinstill a over-pride of a specific color, and based on that over-pride actions might be taken against another color. Black supremacists do that too, in the same manner.
You must understand that this is not a fight between colors. This is a fight between exploiters and educated people. Exploiters do the exploitation based on color in order to achieve something. Some are overly-zealous.
Don’t fall for it. Fight the exploiters democratically and participatory
With respect, jedb, what the fuck are you talking about?
Ah…actually, no i haven’t, not if you understand the significance of the statement. Also, thanks for the order regarding hyperbole, and thanks in advance for respecting my right to ignore it.
Let me wax philosophical for a moment because you clearly do not understand my position.
You’re critique, and correct me if i’m wrong, seems to be based on the idea of the existence of individuated base equality, where everyone is an individual, regardless of biological particulars. A vast liberal plane where merit takes precedence over all other factors and to talk of skin colour or gender is divisive, counterproductive and redundant. Indeed, in the case of skin colour, it is overtly racist because we are all equal. It is nothing more than a pernicious grab for power by conjuring the illusion of an oppressor.
Two problems here. Firstly, we do not live in this world and secondly, we never will because this is an ideological fantasy significantly removed from how humans are in the world. We are first and foremost our bodies, born into a culture and a situation and from the experience of that we negotiate the world from within the culture and it’s imposed constraints, ethos, morality and world view. This does not mean we are captured by determinism, we can with reason, and will, change our views, broaden understanding, but we can never escape our bodies nor our cultural imprint. What is more, we can only connect with those who do not share our biological particulars through empathy of their situation, and theirs with ours.
For example, I cannot see the world through the eyes of a Chinese lesbian, because i am neither Chinese nor a lesbian, but i can come to have empathy and care for her experience of the world and with empathy and reason we can connect. However, ignoring the biological facts of her situation and how they have impacted the way she is in the world, how she thinks, would make that connection tenuous, at best, because it ignores her individual experience of the facts of her situation. Consequently, your claim that i am ignoring her as an individual is debunked. It is in fact the case, that by ignoring her biological facts and their significance it is you who are lacking consideration of her as an individual.
This is the basis of the philosophy Jedb. You may of course reject this and that is perfectly fine and i’d welcome an actual discussion on that but i’d politely request you do not strawman it with vacuous social media interpretations that i do not hold nor care about.
Do you understand the difference between anti-white and anti-white privilege?
‘It’s ok to be white,’ is a defence of the latter. I am not anti-white, but i am most definitely anti-white privilege in the same way that I am not anti-male, but i am definitely anti-male privilege. If you cannot see the existence of privilege in Australian culture we really have nowhere to go with this exchange.
Thanks Steven, i’m broadly sympathetic with the points you make here and i too think that a deeper participatory democratic approach is the way forward. You do not however acknowledge the existence of structurally and culturally embedded racism and how we go about changing that. Of course skin colour should not matter, but the fact is it does, and it is not about ‘shame’ nor ‘pride’ as you say, but entirely about privilege - structural and cultural.
I also question this.
I agree, but they seem to be growing and in any case i am not completely confident this statement holds true in the US at the moment.
The broader fight, in my view, is between global corporate capitalism, the elite that benefit and are supported by slavish governments and the rest of humanity and the future of the biosphere. I am of the view that we punch upwards first and foremost because changing politics from the top down is slow, doubtful and comes up against such powerful walls of resistance it is an almost Sisyphean undertaking, it doesn’t mean we should give up on it, it just means we work from the bottom up, within community, building connections and empathies and that requires recognition of lived experience so that we can work together for change.
Yes, one key I missed stating, which is actually the pure truth is exactly this. I apologize that I went around it.
But yes, it’s quite obvious and extremely bad that for good part of the people skin color matters, and that creates division furthermore.
I reaffirm the fact that education and democratic participation alongside civic participation must change things
I was talking about the origin, context, and significance of “it’s okay to be white” complete with supporting evidence. Seemed like it was relevant.
In the last 15 years or so we have had Australian parliaments and governments attack civil rights, drag us into an unwanted war, treat asylum seekers inhumanely, enact unpaid forced labour policies, attempt to censor the internet, allow the last of Australian car manufacturing to die, deny science in several different ways, and sabotage national infrastructure. You’re older than me, so you could probably expand on that list quite a bit.
Yet this, an instance of One Nation baiting the Greens’ leader to firmly insert his foot into his mouth, is the most embarrassing and infuriating thing you’ve seen.
I do not believe you.
We were living in such a world in the 1990s and early 2000s. Then some bigots managed to distort the definition of racism with “power + privilege” nonsense, idpol became mainstream, and now everything and everyone is racist. It is disgusting.
So you think we should judge people on their ethnicity and sexuality? Sounds legit.
Seriously though, you seem to be misunderstanding. I was describing the viewpoint of those deeply involved with identity politics, identitarianism, social justice, whatever you want to call it. This may not be the same as your philosophy. In fact, I hope it isn’t.
Consider employment as an example. Suppose a lot of people go out, obtain jobs, earn money, etc. They each make their own choices based on what they have interest in, what their goals are, what they’re good at, and so forth. And the collective subgroup of men and the collective subgroup of women on average end up working different hours, doing different things, and earning different amounts.
Now the question, is there a problem in that example? To a person involved in identity politics, who sees people as their group and not as individuals, of course there must be. Even if nobody was discriminated against on basis of gender at any point. They view it as injustice because the groups did not end up as equal. Proposed “solutions” generally involve actively introducing discrimination. Individuals are not considered.
Going back to the topic, it is clear from Di Natale’s response in parliament that he is such a person who views people as their group. Yet even taking the flawed view of insisting group results have to be a particular way regardless of individual choices, his comments are strange. The ethnic makeup of the Senate is not that far off the ethnic makeup of the country as a whole, taking the noisy data into account. Aboriginals are about 2.8% of Senators and somewhere around 2-3% of the general population, for example. He spouted idpol dogma without actually thinking about it.
By far the most sensible response to the whole thing I’ve seen or heard thus far was from Leyonhjelm.
Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of racism. I usually use the third definition of racial prejudice or discrimination, but now that I look at it the first listing is also quite interesting. Seems to fit Di Natale’s comments in parliament. How odd.
Anyway, it should be clear that tweets going on about hating whites or that whites are the worst are expressing racial prejudice and are therefore racist. The meme reaction is thus a defence against anti-white racism as previously described, etc.
Now let’s consider privilege. The definition again from Merriam-Webster is “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor”. That can’t be what you’re talking about though, since by that definition there is no such thing as white privilege in Australia, as there are no rights or immunities granted specifically to white people here. There is aboriginal privilege, and female privilege, but no white. Let’s try something else.
Apparently the sociology definition (second sentence, sourced but not an online source) is about the perceived rights or advantages that are assumed to be available to a particular person or group of people.
That’s interesting, because it suggests that the ideal way of fighting white privilege is to educate people on what their rights and privileges actually are, and thus reduce misperceptions. That would be great, since the only identity that really should matter around here is that we are all Australians. Have you considered that method?