The last 72 hours have been dedicated to the supposed tennis court injustice towards Serena Williams and the actual justified outrage of Mark Knight’s racist cartoon.
The Jim Crow era cartoon is typical of the ignorant white male privilege that is personified by Australian commercial media outlets and in particular the Murdoch press. The backlash and outrage on twitter, of which I was a part is what it is.
Much of it is people riffing on the same themes of racism, sexism and hypocrisy. Various points were well made, some not so much, some non sensical. The defence of those defending Knights cartoon even more nonsensical, as they once again push their “free speech” agenda. Their selective free speech agenda, not actually geared around free speech in its truest form, but more at maintaining the power structures that selective free speech upholds.
Twitter has frothed over these subjects in recent days. I myself think Serena Williams’ behaviour was that of a spoiled brat that has totally distracted from the great victory of the 20 year old Naomi Osaka. However what I think about that is irrelevant, it’s just an opinion and people can twist their own perception into their own truth. Fine.
However while we’ve all been leaping up and down about these issues on the jumping caste of outrage a real tragedy in our first world country continues to unfold.
Late last week it was reported that three people had committed suicide in north-east Arnhem Land, two of them teenagers, the other in his early 20s. A tragedy for the families involved, the communities and for the country as a whole. My deepest condolences go to the grieving.
Monday the 10th of September was National Suicide Prevention Day, you probably didn’t catch much of the messaging, it was either consumed by the Serena scandal and the return of Parliament. It’s an important issue because it has the potential to affect lives and open up a non-binary conversation about a tragedy that particularly impacts on first Australian people.
The latest statistics put the number of suicides in the NT at almost one per week.
Now that is an outrage. That deserves our attention.
On Monday night (10/09/2018) two Aboriginal boys drowned in the Perth River after a police chase after they and a few other boys were seen to be jumping fences. Of course I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of what may or may not have happened, but suffice to say the boys must have felt they were running for their lives.
After all, the West Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson didn’t formally apologise for mistreatment of the state's Aboriginal people at the hands of police for no good reason.
These tragic incidents have been mentioned in dispatches on Twitter, largely by people I respect. But what the last 72 hours has shown me is the grandstanding by people on both sides of the Serena controversy is largely irrelevant and that where the real world ends, in all its nuance, splendour, tragedy and contradictions, social media starts.
I’m just as much to blame for that as anyone else.