Race and Privilege

The debate over race identity and policies based on claimed racial origin is much more vigorous and forthright in Australia than it is here in New Zealand.

Perhaps surprisingly, the strongest stance on the issue is taken by indigenous Australians themselves.

One manifestation of the drive to get off the gravy train and behind the wheel was the recent Northern Territory elections, where local aboriginal candidates gave the finger to the patronising handout Labour culture; stood as plain citizen candidates for the right-wing Liberal Party, and won.

Another strong statement is being made by former gravy-train passengers getting off the wagon, ripping up the ticket to ride, and telling it like it is.

I used to identify as Aboriginal, and I have worked in ‘identified’ government positions only open to Aboriginal people.  As a professional Aborigine, I could harangue a room full of people with real qualifications and decades of experience with whatever self-serving, uninformed drivel that happened to pop into my head. For this nonsense I would be rapturously applauded, never questioned, and paid well above my qualifications and experience.

I worked in excellent organisations that devoted resources to recruiting, elevating and generally indulging people like me, simply because other people like me told these organisations that’s what they needed to do to ‘overcome Indigenous disadvantage’.

In these organisations I worked alongside dedicated, talented and highly skilled people – and there may have been room for one more dedicated, talented and highly skilled person if I hadn’t been there occupying a position designated for someone of my ‘race’.

In my years of working as a professional Aborigine, I don’t think I did anything that really helped anybody much at all, and I know that I was a party to unfairness, abuses of power, wastefulness and plain silliness in the name of ‘reconciliation’ and ‘cultural sensitivity’.

Aside from a nagging sense of feeling like a complete fraud, things were reasonably OK until I made the mistake of reading works by Kwame Anthony Appiah, Amartya Sen’s Identity and Violence and Thomas Sowell’s Affirmative action around the world: an empirical study. (Please – stop reading what I have to say right now. Go and read this instead).

After that, I could no longer ignore the fact that my career was built on racism. Not ‘reverse racism’ or ‘positive discrimination’ – just plain racism, of benefit to nobody except a select gang of privileged people with the right genes and a piece of paper to prove it. In other words, of benefit only to people like me.

About 18 months ago I burned my ‘proof of Aboriginality’ documentation (a letter from the NSW Department of Education acknowledging that I was Aboriginal, on the basis that my local Aboriginal Lands Council at that time, circa 1990, had said so). I walked away from the Aboriginal industry for good.

It hasn’t been easy, and I am still working out what to do with myself from here, but it has been rewarding. It feels great to simply identify as a human being, and to work alongside colleagues that only know me as another ordinary wage-slave, and not as a pampered mascot with the power to ruin a career with an accusation of ‘insensitivity’.

It also feels good to do proper work; sitting around a government office essentially being paid to be Aboriginal is both undignified and boring. I miss the money of course, but I don’t miss the racism.

This all sounds oh so familiar doesn’t it. There are legions of professional maori…don;t beve me…go to the Koru lounge at almost anytime of the day and witness the hoards of professional Maori travelling to and from Wellington

 


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

48%