FUWS LAUNCH: Dismantling The Architecture of Racial Oppression in Australia

Join us to launch the Free University of Western Sydney and for a panel discussion which attempts to address the foundation of Australia’s racist architecture to aid in the development of a collective understanding of racial oppression.

Thursday 28th April, from 6pm Bankstown Arts Centre, 5 Olympic Parade Bankstown NSW 2200

The systematic genocide of Indigenous Australia forms the foundation of the architecture of white supremacy and racism in this country. In this architecture, framed by a black/white binary, non-whites or non-Anglos are sorted into a hierarchy. Some groups are occasionally granted passage from one level to another of the constructed racial hierarchy, usually to make space on the lower rungs for new arrivals. Black Australia is granted no such passage. It remains entrenched as the foundation upon which all race relations are constructed, just as whiteness reigns at the top.

 

MC for the night: Izzy (Jacob Ballard)is a proud Kamilaroi man part of the dynamic Emcee-duo Izzy n The Profit. He produces honest, deep, and creative music, and he plays a significant role in both the hip hop and general community through charity work, youth work/ministry and outreach using hip hop culture as a means to connect and empower young people. They have participated in events such as: Yabun Festival, Platform Festival (Rock the block, Flexin Skills), Easterfest, EXO day, AAA Conference, Uprock Conference and many other community events, workshops, schools and Detention Centres.

Panelists include:

– Aunty Jenny Munro is a Wiradjuri woman from Erambie Reserve who has fought tirelessly for Aboriginal people in their quest for social justice and land rights. She became politically active in 1972 at the age of 17 and hasn’t wavered since. In 2014, she helped establish an Aboriginal Tent Embassy at the Block in Redfern to protest against a decision by the Aboriginal Housing Company to commercialise the land.

– Aunty Margaret Goneis

– Felon Mason. Whether as a performer, MC, part of a team making ‘True Justice’ – a documentary about the death of T. J. Hickey, leading protests, a lecturer, or standing alongside his Elders as part of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Felon Mason demonstrates a radical commitment to the cause of Aboriginal justice. A captivating speaker, Felon rarely shies away from telling it how it is and in a manner we need to hear.

– Evelyn Araluen Corr: Evelyn Araluen Corr is a PhD candidate studying and teaching at the University of Sydney in the areas of English and Indigenous studies. Her research looks at methodologies for the ethical study of Aboriginal literatures. She is a founding member of a grassroots student activist network in NSW, Students Support Aboriginal Communities. Her writing has been longlisted for the Elizabeth Jolly Prize, and she is currently shortlisted for the Nakata Brophy Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous writers. Her father’s people are Bundjalung, and her mother’s Wiradjuri.

– Rhyan Clapham: Hip hop artist and jazz drummer Rhyan Clapham is UNSW’s first Indigenous Bachelor of Music graduate. Rhyan also recently completed his Honours thesis in Indigenous Studies under the leadership and support of Nura Gili, centre for Indigenous Programs at UNSW. His thesis focused on Hip Hop in Aboriginal Australian culture.

– Preston Peachey: Preston Peachey is an Aboriginal man from the Wiradjuri, Gamilaroi and Maliangapa clans. He was born in Bankstown and grew up in Western Sydney. Preston has been playing drums in original bands for the last 20 years. He works in Redfern as a community worker. Last year Preston graduated from University of Western Sydney and is currently doing honours research on Aboriginal music and community development in Redfern.

Dismantling The Architecture of Racial Oppression in Australia

The systematic genocide of Indigenous Australia forms the foundation of the architecture of white supremacy and racism in this country. In this architecture, framed by a black/white binary, non-whites or non-Anglos are sorted into a hierarchy. Some groups are occasionally granted passage from one level to another of the constructed racial hierarchy, usually to make space on the lower rungs for new arrivals. Black Australia is granted no such passage. It remains entrenched as the foundation upon which all race relations are constructed, just as whiteness reigns at the top.

On the black side of the binary, the dehumanization, brutality and attempted destruction of Aboriginal Australia functions not only to serve immediate material requirements such as generalised suppression or theft of land and resources. It serves a secondary and critical function as a laboratory. Macabre social engineering is experimented with, the results of which frame Australia’s complex race relations more broadly.

At one point in our history, the laboratory was so successful its research was exported to South Africa, providing the framework of racial separation for the implementation of Apartheid. Today, the laboratory continues experimenting by extending the brutal command of the state more deeply into everyday life. The introduction of welfare quarantining, the NT intervention and now forced community closures are all experiments in asserting the reach of the state’s power and violence over Indigenous Australia.

Usually, the responses to these attacks on Aboriginal Australia – even by those who suffer racialised oppression – lack the key realization that the same things that are perpetrated upon Aboriginal Australia can and may well be done to all of us.

One need look no further than the treatment of asylum seekers or attacks upon the Islamic community. Any blindness to this reality of the relationship between genocidal brutality upon Indigenous Australia and broader racism is perhaps caused by an internalized racist acceptance that “we’ll never suffer what they suffer”. Yet for every non-indigenous Australian, particularly those deemed as not “white”, confronting our internalisation of the architecture of white supremacy is a necessary prerequisite if we seek a strategy to end it. Key to this confrontation is the establishment of deep and authentic solidarity with the struggles of Aboriginal Australia.

Much of what takes places in the name of solidarity takes place within the white supremacist architecture. Whether the response is compassion driven by a guilt for a bad thing that happen to an‘other’ group; or its worst, horrific gestures, like a body-paint performance piece during invasion day speeches, the black/white binary is deeply ingrained.

Indigenous Australia have been sending the same message for as long as there have been people willing to listen. Unfortunately for all the “listening”, little is often heard.

The launch of the Free University of Western Sydney attempts to pry open a space for this real discussion and learning. Given the clearly expressed interest amongst potential participants of FUWS in developing a critical race analysis to confront the systemic racial oppression we experience, our launch event intentionally focuses upon the experience of Indigenous Australia. It is the node from which all other experiences of racism radiate. It is only through a focused discussion that we can build a broad and formidable movement capable of destroying the racist architecture of Australia.

*** Artwork by Hussein Nabeel ****

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s