At a recent rally to shut down Melbourne, held by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance in solidarity with Western Australian Aboriginal communities under threat of closure, a non-Indigenous member of the crowd suddenly took to the stage and spoke passionately about the need for white people to ‘do something’ about ‘the situation’ of Aboriginal people in Australia. The atmosphere became uncomfortable. It looked like the speaker had taken the stage without asking. Standing between them and the line of police backing onto Spring Street, a lot of us were exchanging nervous glances.
James’s account of the role of cricket in the emerging national consciousness of the West Indian people is one example. Cricket was the most thoroughly colonial of sports – exported across the British empire by white educators and officials as part of their arsenal of supposedly ‘civilising’ influences. But as the enthusiasm for cricket took hold among the mass of colonised peoples, the on-field triumphs of black West Indian and other ‘colonial’ cricketers became a powerful symbol of resistance.
The whole Best American Poetry controversy calls to attention some of the long-existing assumptions about certain ethnicities and cultures. Alexie’s statement clearly explains his intention: to ‘encourage debate and celebrate imagination’, and scrutinise the 2015 anthology’s aesthetic range, cultural and racial representation, gender equality and nepotism. It is a goal well achieved: among the 75 poets collected in Best American Poetry 2015, approximately 60 per cent are female and 40 per cent are people of colour; 15 per cent of the poems chosen were first published on the Internet.
Paul Keating described his 1993 win as ‘the sweetest victory of all’. By that measure, Alexei Tsipras would be hovering on the edge of a diabetic coma. After six months of fraught and contested government, a referendum, a party split, and being written off in the polls, Syriza was returned to power with 35.5% of the vote – a 7% lead over the right-wing opposition New Democracy, and streets ahead of the former dominant centre-left party PASOK, somewhat recovered at 6%.
Arguing that asking someone if they want to have sex with you lacks dignity is akin to arguing that we are all entitled to each other’s bodies at all times as long as the other person looks at us in a particular way. Bodies are personal, and women’s bodies in particular need to be reconceptualised as something other than public property.