Freo's View

WHY RACISM IS SO DEVASTATING

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 29, 2020

 

There have been more racist attacks on AFL players, including legend Eddie Betts and West Coast Eagles player Liam Ryan, so to keep the Black Lives Matter momentum going I thought it the right time to copy what Ron Bradfield Jnr. posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

Ron used to be a familiar face around Fremantle and I used to bump into him in the West End quite often. Ron’s words and experience are sobering and so very sad.

 

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What’s the ugliest word you’ve ever been called?

So, imagine hearing that word, pretty much every day. Imagine it ringing in your ears almost every night. Think about the times you’ve had that word (or similar words – all used for the same effect), beaten into you physically.

Think about being somewhere where every day – most people you pass – use that word in your hearing. Think of all the ways that people have, to make you realise that it isn’t a nice word and that they aren’t thinking nice thoughts about who you are.

Think about the times where people in authority have reinforced the negative use of that word. Think about how – over time – that word has coloured the way that people now look at you still. Think of the laws that have been passed to control your ancestors, who may have been called those words.

Think about fully wearing the shame of that word; how it sits, deep inside your bones and how it feels when it twists your guts inside of you. Think of your face glowing hot and going red with that shame, when people STILL talk like that about you – if not directly – then indirectly, but you still know exactly what they mean!

Think how angry you might get; when you’re out with your children and you hear that behind your back voice, muttering that word – with all its dirty, shitty, fucked up ugliness – behind you, directed at the ones you love and cherish!

Have I got your attention?

Good.

The reality is, if you can’t come up with just one single word – that has been used to make you feel like absolute shit in your life – you are one very, very lucky individual!

If you; like me, have had words used against you your entire life, you will know just how damn deeply they can cut! You will know the damage they can do. You will know the power they can rob from you.

I have survived 51 years of being called disgusting things and being made to feel dirty, as if I don’t belong here and have no value to this Australian society. That’s just me. This happens still to my mother. It happened to her mother. And her mother before her and… look – really – just how far did you need me to go back?

Words are used (and have been used) against some of the most beautiful people I have the pleasure to know (and have known) in my entire life. Only so many of them are Aboriginal.

In your house right now, there are people around you who know how I and many other Aboriginal and Islander people feel.

How surprised are you really, that people finally snap and decide in a single moment – that they can’t bear to hear that word – used against them?

I know I have. There are only so many times, you can turn the other cheek.

Ron Bradfield Jnr.

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MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER MAKING HISTORY

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, history, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 14, 2020

 

H 1

H 2

H 6

 

History is really important to me. It was my favourite at school and I still love to read all about our past, so the  desire by some people around the world to pull down historic statues of our colonial past is not something I agree with.

The present connects the past to the future, and it is essential that we learn from the mistakes made in the past, to try to create a better world for future generations. That also means we might have to correct some of what is written about our past, because history is always written by the conquerors, and we need to hear all sides of the story and the truth.

We know that our Australian indigenous people consider the British settlement of our country an invasion, hence Australia Day is offensive to them.

We can not change our history, it is what it is with all the achievements of the early explorers and all the wrongs that were committed all over the world, in the name of progress, religion, and of course greed.

I don’t believe that pulling down statues of colonial ‘heroes’ is the way forward, but what should happen is also tell the other side, as is done well here on the Fremantle Esplanade at the Maitland Brown statue. Our Aboriginal people also got to state what they believe is the more correct history, instead of simply accepting the white men’s version of it.

The recording of history has always been selective, but we need those statues to remind us that we need to improve, hence the concentration camps in Europe can be visited. A great and extremely impressive way of dealing with the past is the Memento Park in Budapest that shows what dictatorship is all about, and to remind us all what it is like to be oppressed. We need to move forward together beyond the past.

Slavery and racism were sadly part of the colonial history, not only by the British, but also by the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, so with the worldwide BlackLivesMatter movement having so much momentum it is now time to address the one-sided history of Australia and start telling it also from the Aboriginal view point, and we also need to have more Aboriginal names in recognition of the great culture of our first nations people. The Walyalup Civic Centre is a small start, but we need to and can do better than that!

 

Roel Loopers

BLACK LIVES MATTER RALLY TODAY

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2020

 

Rainbow projection

 

I dragged this photo of the BlackLivesMatter projections on the Rainbow container artwork off Twitter as a reminder that there will be a rally at Langley Park in Perth today from noon.

The projections were put up last night in Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

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WHY BLACK LIVES MATTER

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 9, 2020

 

I don’t understand the sentiment of some people that we should have an All Lives Matter movement, instead of the BlackLivesMatter one, that is happening all over the world.

No one argues that not all lives matter, in fact all living creatures on this planet matter. However I have never heard anyone argue that all people matter and not only women, when the Jane McGrath pink cricket day for breast cancer is on every year, or that all lives matter when we raise funds for children medical research during Telethon.

With all due respect, the All Lives Matter sentiments can only be expressed from the privileged position of an entitled white person, who is unlikely to have been racially profiled and targeted since birth and who has never experienced the extreme disadvantage of racism, and being patronised and disrespected because of the colour of one’s skin.

As one of those privileged Wadjelas I have witnessed racism against our Australian Aboriginal people on very many occasions. When I baby sat gorgeous indigenous kids, and took them into Freo to go shopping security guards would follow us, because all black kids are shoplifters.

Black kids get stopped by police when they wear new shoes, because all black kids steal, and taxis are reluctant to pick up dark coloured people because those people don’t pay the fare or might be abusive.

We focus on five drunken Aborigines on the street and totally overlook the hundreds of drunken white people who fall out of pubs every weekend in Freo, Perth and all over Australia. Yep, All Lives Matter!

Let’s stop the nonsense of talking about equality, or that we live in a fair country. Australia has been very fair to me and I am grateful for that, but I am also grateful that I have never had to experience racial abuse. I have never been rejected a job because I am white. I have never been refused entry into a pub because I am white, I have never been stopped by police because I am white, but that happens to our Aboriginal people every day of their lives. All Lives Matter!

The BlackLivesMatter movement is about trying desperately to create a level playing field, where dark coloured people are no longer judged to be inferior to white people, where black people actually will be getting a real chance to shine and show their potential, where we appreciate their beautiful culture, and how special a people they are, and where Australia finally wakes up and sees that our indigenous people have got so much to offer and there is so much we can learn from them.

BlackLivesMatter does not exclude anyone. When we yelled Free Willy, we did not mean that other whales don’t matter, and when we protested Save Ningaloo Reef, we did not say that other reefs are less important. When we support a cause we do not mean that other causes, or other people, are less important.

If our governments are serious about equality why have we not seen huge campaigns on TV and in the print media against racism? Why is there not more community education about racism at local, state and federal level and in schools?

Fr Rod Bower of the Gosford Anglican Church puts it very succinctly: The system is not broken, it is working perfectly well and to the advantage of those for whom and by whom it was created, white, male, western, nominally Christian heterosexuals.

Because of Covid-19 I have thought long and hard about joining the BlackLivesMatter protest this Saturday at 12 noon in Langley Park, Perth, but I have so much respect for our Aboriginal people, their culture and resilience, that I have to show my solidarity, so I bought a face mask and will hop on the train, because black lives matter a lot to me!

Roel Loopers

BLACK LIVES MATTER LOCATION CHANGE

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 8, 2020

 

The BlackLivesMatter protest for this Saturday June 13 at 12 noon has changed to Langley Park in Perth, so no longer Hyde Park.

I presume that is to be able to accommodate a large number of people while adhering to the social distancing rules.

Roel Loopers

 

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BLACK LIVES MATTER-A LOT!

 

When the Prime Minister of Australia, in reaction to the George Floyd protests in the USA, says that Australia should not import those problems because we are a fair country, it is clear we still live in denial about racism in Australia. Australia is a fair country for fair-skinned people, but not for our indigenous people, or for our Asian and African people, and anyone with dark skin.

Racism started in this country the day Captain Cook set foot on land in the east and when Captain Fremantle and Captain Stirling arrived here in Fremantle at Bathers Bay.

The ‘wild black savages’ were hunted, killed, raped, abused, used as slaves, taken away from their parents, locked up and treated with absolute disrespect by most of the early settlers, who had no respect for the culture of the traditional owners.

The real history of Australia is rarely told. How many high school students in Western Australia are really aware of the stolen generations, the Pinjarra massacre, the killing and beheading of Yagan, the persecution of Jandamara in the Kimberley, the abuse that happened at the Moore River, Sister Kate, New Norcia, etc? How many have been told the truth about the awful Quod prison on Rottnest Island, where ten per cent of the 4,700 male prisoners died?

Just nine years away from celebrating 200 years of the start of the Swan River Colony Western Australia still does not have and Aboriginal Cultural Centre that tells the history of our state from the indigenous perspective.

We still do not have a significant memorial for those men and boys from all over WA who died on Rottnest Island, and many tourists leave the island without even being aware of it.

At the Roundhouse at least the volunteer guides acknowledged that they need to also tell the Aboriginal story and they have been working on new interpretive displays, but that will need state funding, so will they get the financial support from the McGowan government?

Racism is rampant in Australia and only many of those who are fair skinned believe it does not exist, but every dark coloured person in this country is subjected to it daily, sometimes it comes subtly and often it is blatant. Since 1991 432 Aboriginal people have died in custody in Australia!

We are lucky to have one of the best Treasurers WA has ever had in Ben Wyatt, a brilliant Aboriginal man. There are many of them, but they often do not get a chance to shine because of institutional racism in our governments and industries.

A country where Aboriginal people on average die ten years younger than non Aborigines, where Aboriginal kids often do not finish education, and where only a few study at universities, is not a fair country. We should be better than that! BlackLivesMatter!

Roel Loopers

 

THE FUTURE IS OURS TO IMPROVE

 

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With the start of a new year there is a time for reflection, and also a time for hope, wishes and New Year resolutions, but I believe it is also a time to be realistic and stop all the nonsense that somehow Australia is the best country on earth.

I love living in Australia, but I have lived in other really good countries and traveled to many more that were also great, and I only have to think about New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern to realise that one of the things missing in Australia is good leadership and a good PM.

We cannot claim to be the best country in the world when we have one of the highest rates of domestic violence, when racism is still happening daily, and when Australia is still sending refugees to overseas detention centres.

We are not the best country in the world when we have tens of thousands of homeless people and when we still have Aboriginal people living in third world conditions.

We have to do much better also at caring for the elderly and for the environment, so let us not be complacent because of national pride, and fool ourselves that we are living in a perfect country, when there is a lot of improvement needed still on many levels.

I love living in Fremantle because of the very good community we have, but even our small city is far from perfect and needs improvement, and that has already started.

All I read on social and in the mass media is anger, division, people attacking others, and engaging in political point-scoring.

But there is a huge lack of real leadership both in government and the private sectors, when as a community we should work together, collaborate, create bridges of tolerance and acceptance, and reach out to those who need our support, and also reach out to those who are different and have a different opinion.

We all have to share this beautiful country and this amazing planet, and we all have to work together to preserve what we have and try to improve it for the generations after us.

Have a great New Year. Hug more and argue less. Love and smiles can conquer everything!

Roel Loopers

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ABORIGINAL HEALTH WORKERS DESERVE FREMANTLE APOLOGY

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, health, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on March 28, 2019

 

While there has been a huge outrage, and rightly so, about the online racial abuse of West Coast Eagles indigenous player Liam Ryan we should never underestimate the daily racist abuse that is going on elsewhere in our society.

I just heard this disgusting little episode that happened in Fremantle this week. The Aboriginal Health Council of WA has a conference in the Esplanade Hotel Lead The Way; Challenge The Possibilities; Imagine the Future, where Aboriginal health workers from all over the state are gathering, and what happened?

Several of the female participants had a smoke outside the hotel during a conference break when a white male drove by and yelled out to them “Why don’t you get a job you black c….!”

Yes, this is still happening in 2019 in Australia! Our indigenous people still get racially abused daily by ignorant dickheads and we need to call it out, every time, each time, always, because it is unacceptable.

On behalf of the Fremantle community I want to apologise to the health workers for the racist fool’s abuse you had to suffer. Fremantle is better than that. I am so sorry!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE CELEBRATES NAIDOC WEEK

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, football, history, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on July 13, 2018

 

NAIDOC at Paperbird

 

The Paperbird children’s bookshop in Fremantle’s Henry Street is flying the Aboriginal flag for NAIDOC Week.

It is good to see good things happening during NAIDOC Week and acknowledge that Australia has come a long way when it comes to our indigenous people, but there is a lot more to do and more and better education needed about our Aboriginal culture. Racism is not something of the past but a humiliating daily experience for Australia’s indigenous people. That needs to stop!

I was impressed with the apology Police Commissioner Chris Dawson offered yesterday and saddened to read the racist abuse story of former Dockers player Scott Chisholm in the West Australian today.

Chisholm conducts Aboriginal awareness tours from the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Captain’s Lane on Arthur’s Head every morning from 10am this month, so go and join one with your children.

The Roundhouse flies the Aboriginal flag every day of the year to acknowledge our Aboriginal culture and history.

Roel Loopers

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ANNE FRANK EXHIBITION IN FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, racism, Uncategorized, war by freoview on September 13, 2017

 

Anne Frank Sept 13

 

The moving ANNE FRANK Let Me Be Myself touring exhibition starts today in Fremantle at the Woolstores Shopping Centre and should not be missed.

Anne Frank’s story is a very sad one about a young Jewish girl who had to hide with her family in a secret annex of a house in Amsterdam during Hitler’s nazi regime and German occupation of the Netherlands during Worldwar II.

While they were hiding Anne wrote a beautiful diary, but sadly after two years she and her family were discovered and deported to concentration camps. From the eight people only father Otto Frank survived.

Intolerance to other people’s religion, culture and race should never be accepted.

The exhibition is on till October 31 and open from 10 am to 5 pm.

 

Roel Loopers

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