Racism and Reconciliation

Interview with 2020 ACT Australian of the Year on Reconciliation

I am Zari’s sister Yassine, and I am 10. I went to a web meeting with the ACT Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and asked what kids should do to help Reconciliation in our community. Senator McCarthy said that we should talk to Indigenous people and raise awareness. So the next day, I talked to my friend, Jenna, who is from the Yorta Yorta tribe, about whether we should ask our principal if we could invite Katrina Fanning (2020 ACT Australian of the Year and chair of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body) to the school to talk about Reconciliation. I thought of Katrina because she was kind to me in the meeting. 

We wrote to the principal, but because of COVID – 19, he wouldn’t let her do an assembly. So we asked her if we could interview her on video and she said yes! Then we got our teachers to agree that we could get all the Year 5/6 kids to write down a question. Jenna and I spent a day in the holidays turning 150 questions into about 14 questions that made sense. 

In the end, she came to the school and we filmed it there. It was really a lot of work, but it was fun, because I did it with Jenna. 

I hope you like it. It is a public video, so you can send it to anyone you like if you think they are interested.

Racism and Reconciliation

Conversation on Reconciliation

I had this conversation on the Prime Minister’s instagram account after he told people not to go to the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020. It is very long but I have included it in full with some comments on each person’s arguments.

In summary, though, I said this country was founded on genocide, which is a very strong and emotive word, for which I was rightly challenged. In my responses, I included specific references to the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. A friend of mine, who joined the conversation to defend me, used specific historical references to the First Fleet. The main person arguing against us based their argument on their own credentials as someone who claims to have a PhD in Australian history and is married to a Wiradjuri woman. They then make a series of assertions about other peoples who suffered violence. But they don’t provide any specific evidence to support their claims.

So using strong emotive words is more likely to generate a response, but make sure before you do it that you can defend your claims with facts, and that you have credible sources.

As you can see in this conversation, I was trying to be calm and constructive, open to other opinions, and not rude. The other person in this conversation is also being calm, which is good and means that the conversation can be constructive.

Here you can see I commented under the PM’s instagram post.
The black censor is someone who was, totally reasonably, asking me to defend what I said. You should always be prepared to defend what you say, especially if you are using words like genocide.
The red is one of my friends defending me.
The green is another one of my friends, who was using her previous knowledge of the first fleet to defend the statement. As you can see she has tried to educate herself on the topic before saying things.
Here, the black censor feels cornered, and said a very bold statement. “There has never been any genocide in this country [Australia] ever”. Never feel pressured into saying things that you cannot defend.
Here my friend is arguing using evidence. This is extremely important.
This was where I responded to the black censor’s previous statement, using a credible source to back me up.
DO NOT BE DETERRED BY SOMEONE SAYING THEY HAVE A PHD!! If they don’t respond to the argument, and they are just saying ‘oh well I have a degree in this so I am right and you must listen to me’, then no, they don’t have a credible argument.
This is an extremely good point made by my friend, saying that she hasn’t heard any of his points about Australia practising genocide.
Here the black censor is making some good points about left wing bias, but is not really doing anything to support his claim that there never was genocide in Australia.
This is a simple statement, and yet it negates his previous points, as he hasn’t been able to defend his statement.
Here the black censor is saying that he doesn’t like to call it genocide. This is a rather feeble comment, as it is just him, whereas I have the UN convention on my side.
I was very confused with this, because he labeled me as a left, and then said that I just wanted to label things. I also do not think that he knew that I was 13 then.
After this, the black censor did not reply, so the conversation ended.