30 July 201527 August 2015 Politics / Racism White Australia is coming for you Jeff Sparrow In his new book Between the World and Me, the American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses the experience of whiteness. ‘My experience in this world,’ he says, ‘has been that the people who believe themselves to be white are obsessed with the politics of personal exoneration. And the word racist, to them, conjures if not a tobacco-spitting oaf, then something just as fantastic – an orc, troll or gorgon. … There are no racists in America, or at least none that the people who need to be white know personally.’ There are no racists in Australia, either. Earlier this week, a West Coast fan who told Goodes to ‘get back to the zoo’ explained that he wasn’t racist. No, he said, the comment was ‘off-the-cuff banter’ and the concern about the persistent booing of an outspoken Indigenous star was – you guessed it! – ‘political correctness gone mad’. Indeed, it was the white fan who was the real victim, not Goodes. ‘I was the one humiliated by the over-the-top security, ordered out of my seat, spoken to like I was a criminal,’ he said. Coincidentally, in Alice Springs, the Belfast Telegraph has located another non-racist. Gary Hall leads the Alice Springs Volunteer Force. It’s an organisation modeled on the loyalist paramilitary squads of Hall’s native Ireland – except that, instead of targeting Catholics, it targets Indigenous people. ‘There are basically two communities where I live – the whites and the Aborigines who are stuck in the 1700s,’ Hall says. ‘They harass women. They have carried out rapes, burglaries, assaults. It’s got to the stage now that we, the public, are having to do something about it and that’s why the AVF has been set up.’ And what does the AVF plan to do? Hall says he and his men will ‘kneecap’ housebreakers, drug dealers and rapists. ‘The organisation will carry out punishment beatings and shootings if needs be, and by that I mean kneecappings,’ he explained, before adding. ‘That is obviously a last resort, the AVF would prefer to limit itself to tarring and feathering but is prepared to take things further if necessary.’ Of course, Hall is not a racist, either. ‘Race plays no part in who the organisation targets,’ he says. ‘The Aborigines carry out their own form of punishment beatings by spearing the kneecap of someone who has wronged them. I don’t see what the big fuss is about the AVF doing similar.’ What’s the big fuss? Political correctness gone mad, one imagines. Meanwhile, Shermon Burgess is calling a rally in Cronulla. You may be familiar with Mr Burgess from his leadership of the United Patriots Front, a far-right groupuscule uniting various long-time members of the fascist subculture. Burgess also performs with a band called Eureka Brigade, an outfit responsible for such charming ditties as ‘Border Patrol’ and ‘ADL Killing Machine’. In his capacity as lyricist, Burgess once celebrated the Cronulla riots of 2005 as ‘Australia’s Muslim holocaust’. ‘We are going to return to where it all started,’ he now says, ‘the very motherland of anti-Islam.’ Burgess, too, declares he is not a racist. Rather, his shindig in Cronulla is, he explains, a protest against racism – ‘anti-Australian racism’, that is. Finally, in other non-racist news, Andrew Bolt has been busy posting clips of Martin Luther King speeches. He’s running a campaign against the ‘race war’ in the AFL, a war conducted, not by the booing fans, but by Adam Goodes, who seems to be singlehandedly oppressing all of Australia’s white football followers. Yes, that’s right. You see, MLK had a dream that white children would, one day, be able to say whatever they damn well want – and that non-white people would sit there and take it. Happily, here in Australia, that noble vision seems on the verge of coming true. Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 30 November 202230 November 2022 Politics The return of public power to Victoria? Zacharias Szumer The newly elected Andrews government has promised to bring public ownership of electricity back to Victoria. However, there are no immediate plans to reinstate the public utility model that prevailed through much of the twentieth century. Rather, a publicly owned renewables company will operate within an electricity market shaped by decades of neoliberal reform. First published in Overland Issue 228 24 November 202225 November 2022 Politics ‘Sir, please get me the Manager’: Brazil before and after Bolsonaro Guido Melo By then, although young in age, I already knew about those rituals of humiliation and how they were part of my Black family's lives. I also knew that surviving those daily interactions required putting my head down and following the instructions received with no hesitation. I must have had ‘the talk ‘with my parents when I was eight or nine. Life was just like that. Being Black in Brazil means living in a war. No one should ever go to war underprepared.