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Meaningless gesture of the barefoot Aussies

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SINCE George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May and the global emergence of the neo-Marxist inspired Black Lives Matter movement, gestures such as ‘taking the knee’ have become a symbol of politically correct wokeness and fabricated virtue-signalling.

It is obvious the BLM infection which began in America has spread world-wide. In the United Kingdom, instead of remaining impartial and upholding the law, police have sided with rowdy and often violent activists to demonstrate sympathy and support.

During the recent international cricket season the West Indian ex-player and commentator Michael Holding, in addition to expressing strong support for BLM, criticised the English team for not taking the knee before all matches.

Such is the dominance of cultural-left ideology that even the Australian cricket team, once known for its larrikin, anti-authoritarian streak, has succumbed to politically correct groupthink. 

In deference to Aboriginal Australians, the team have decided to appear barefoot at the start of next week’s ODI match against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Australian vice-captain Pat Cummings justified the cricketers’ actions by arguing that ‘in Australia we think the most marginalised group is the First Nations people’ and ‘this is the best way we can demonstrate anti-racism as well as celebrating indigenous culture’.

Team coach Justin Langer agrees when arguing Australia is a racist society riven with prejudice and hatred towards Aborigines. Langer justified the team’s actions by observing: ‘Racism is wrong, that is a universal law, simple.’

Ignored by Cummings and Langer is that unlike communist China where the Uigurs are being imprisoned and Islamic states where Christians are oppressed and beheaded, Australia’s Aborigines have the vote, are equal before the law and have ownership over their tribal lands.

Aboriginal communities across Australia receive over a billion dollars (£550million) each year in mining royalties from companies including BHP and Rio Tinto, plus enjoying positive discrimination in employment.

Based on the most recent Productivity Commission Indigenous Expenditure Report state, territory and commonwealth governments in 2015-16 spent $33.4billion on Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander people, amounting to a per person figure of approximately $44,886 (£24,700). The equivalent figure for non-indigenous people is $22,356 per person (£12,400).

Even worse, much like original sin that can never be expunged, all succeeding generations of non-Aboriginal Australians are forced to pay as they are seen as complicit in the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 and the start of European settlement.

In reality, rather than proving they are against racism and dedicated to overcoming the disadvantage suffered by indigenous people, all the Australian cricketers are doing is engaging in an empty and self-serving display of moral righteousness and fabricated guilt.

As argued by Aboriginal activists such as Anthony Dillion from the Australian Catholic University and Jacinta Price, the deputy mayor of Alice Springs town council, engaging in politically correct virtue signalling instead of helping indigenous people makes their disadvantage and suffering worse.

Such transitory and empty public gestures take attention away from the need to address long-term, intractable problems such as high rates of incarceration and family violence, welfare dependency, poor health, educational disadvantage and joblessness.

In remote communities, as argued by Jacinta Price, far too many Aboriginal children, especially girls, suffer from depression and anxiety plus physical and sexual abuse. Too many Aboriginal teenagers die from violence inflicted by others in their communities.

Instead of endorsing meaningless public displays of support and sympathy like taking the knee or performing a barefoot circle before a match, if the Australian cricketers were genuinely concerned they would get involved in practical and much-needed action.

Players could even donate part of their day’s pay to sponsor programmes and initiatives directed at making a difference on the ground in Aboriginal communities in areas such as health and education. 

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Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide (available at kevindonnelly.com.au)

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