|Anything for attention|
An old favorite joke told by racists and rednecks goes:
Q: What do you call an Aboriginal kid with a bike?
This joke seems to have been taken to heart by residents of Australia's best
known ghetto after the tragic death of 17 year-old Aboriginal Thomas Hickey,
who impaled himself on a fence in a freak bicycle accident in Redfern last
Residents accused police of chasing him at the time and a riot ensued.
Apparently if someone runs from the police and kills themselves, it's the fault
of the police - the runner takes no responsibility for his decision to actually
run. Even if there is an arrest
warrant out on him.
But the police in this case were caught red-handed - literally actually
because a patrol car stopped and tried to help young Tommy and the police were
up to their wrists in blood as they tried to stop the flow from his
wounds. Sadly their bid to save his life failed and Tommy died.
The police denied that they were chasing the youth before his accident -
but everyone who has ever watched a bad 1950s soapie knows that denial makes
someone guilty, and further denial only makes their guilt more obvious. It's a
bit like denying that you are homosexual - the more
you do it, the more obvious it is that you have something to hide.
The ensuing riot left the Redfern railway station seriously damaged by
fire, and some 40 police
injured (those wobble-bellies of the NSW police force too slow to dodge the
shower of Molotov cocktails). But more importantly it provided what minority
groups and drama queens love more than anything: media exposure.
Those of us who don't spend our entire lives in Kirribilli or Toorak are
pretty used to having the local Indigenous Brotherhood ask for money. Three
generations of welfare have
created a pretty ravenous appetite for other people's money, and the government's
handouts are apparently no longer enough to satisfy the need.
are happy with the local Aborigines receiving welfare - it relieves them of the
guilt of growing rich from land which might still have had Aborigines living on it in
the unlikely event that no other conquerers had stumbled on the world's largest
island by the twenty-first century.
The out-of-mind-out-of-sight guilt money lets people pay a small amount and get
on with their lives secure in the moral position that they can ignore the
Aborigines - the guilt has been outsourced. It has also effectively purchased
the Aboriginal population a cloak of invisibility.
But when the local Aborigines ask for money, most people know that the best
strategy is simply to look through them like they are invisible, and pretend
they don't exist ('not my problem - I gave at the office'). Of course this is
a little psychologically damaging for the beggars. With a carefully reconstructed
history of torture, alienation, slavery and dispossession, they have to put up
with a far worse reality on the street - having people pretend they are not
The old adage 'be there or be bitched about' is a poor substitute
for 'be there or be ignored'.
In another 20 years the so called 'stolen generation'
will all be dead, and it will be quite hard for the fourth generation of
welfare dependents to blame their plight on events which they only know about
through the chronicles of social workers, career victims, and left-leaning
academics. In the meantime, the key is to just keep them invisible.
But every now and then, an opportunity arises. A tragic death of a 17 year
old boy is an opportunity to get some media exposure and, for
angry young men in the ghetto, to make up for all the times that the average
Australian has just looked right through them.
In a capitalist
society, every misfortune is a potential opportunity for others. An uneventful
afternoon needs a movie to remove the boredom, a broken leg requires a doctor,
a dead body needs a casket.
But true victim status
works the same way - these events are opportunities. Some people balance
feathers on their noses, some climb high mountains, achieve greatness on the
sporting field, others throw Molotov cocktails. It's just a way for the
invisible generation to say 'notice me, notice me'.
Okay guys, you had your ten minutes of fame. Now put down those yucky
bottles of petrol and run along to the CentreLink office like good little