An argument I see online often in response to First Nations people discussing the historical and ongoing oppression that stems from colonisation and invasion, is that we, First Nations people, should be grateful that we were invaded by the British because the French, Spanish, Chinese, etc would have wiped us out. I thought I would write a microblog in response to that argument so I don’t have to respond it ever again.
I have two main points regarding this idea.
Firstly, it is unseemly to speak about a hypothetical when we are speaking about REAL land dispossession, real removal of children, real high suicide rates, real massacres, real disenfranchisement and real genocide. What we are discussing is real and oppresses us and causes us trauma, what you are speaking about is a maybe. Saying we are lucky the British invaded instead the French is similar to saying we are lucky the British invaded and oppressed us rather than a meteoroid hitting our land and destroying all of us.
Secondly, I will use an analogy to make my point (I know that an analogy is not adequate in describing the brutality of colonisation). If I was to burn down your house, but not your shed and I said you are lucky Todd did not burn down your house because he would of burnt your shed as well, would you feel grateful towards me? Is your anger in regards to your lost house misplaced because I’m hypothetically better than Todd? Am I not responsible for my consequences because I did not destroy your shed even though you are without house? As you can see, just because I’m hypothetically better than Todd, does make my actions good.
In conclusion, I know you do not want to feel guilt or discomfort, but we need to engage in these discussions around ongoing invasion to disrupt and change structures that oppress. I know you want to feel pride in Australian history, but you should attempt to feel pride in your actions instead.
Lastly, please retire this lazy and offensive argument.
1 thought on “You should be grateful!”
The denial of this country’s past and present is a block to any real understanding and commitment to change. While ever governments continue to whitewash, apply racist ideologies and use the legal system to discriminate, the white attitude of superiority continues. There has to be radical change.