“I’m a white Australian. I know that blaming myself and my cohort is illogical, but I can’t escape the feeling that all of white Australia is implicated in the deaths—a white majority that has fomented and let foment hate,” writes Rachel Withers, a staff writer for far left site Slate.com.
In the latest instance of internal hatred and white guilt, Withers took to Slate to pen the piece called “The Christchurch Shootings Should Implicate All White Australians,” which features the sub headline “Shame and apology is not enough in confronting our country’s virulent racism.”
She goes on to bloviate:
Who is responsible for the terrorist attack that killed at least 50 New Zealanders as they prayed in their mosques? Looked at one way, the answer is simple: The shooter alone bears the guilt for his crimes. But the picture is wider than that.
She then shifts into the predicable “blame Trump and Steve Bannon” trope, while not realizing that the shooter was actually a wacked out leftist.
“So why do I feel so guilty? And why am I so angry not just at the obvious targets, but at my country?” she pontificates, and then answers:
I’m a white Australian. I know that blaming myself and my cohort is illogical, but I can’t escape the feeling that all of white Australia is implicated in the deaths—a white majority that has fomented and let foment hate. Though he may have labeled himself a European, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant was an Aussie through and through, growing up in a country town north of Sydney, steeped in mainstream Australian racism and our particular national brand of Islamophobia. He grew up in the same Murdoch-controlled mass media environment that the rest of us did—one that recently trashed Islam 2,891 times in a single year—and under the same governments, with prime ministers who have repeatedly stoked anti-Muslim sentiment for votes, with one major party making it central to their electoral strategy.I grew up steeped in the same environment, just two years younger than Tarrant, and when I was a child the omnipresent racism seemed, well, normal to me. Australia was a proud multicultural country, I was told, but this also seemed to encompass race riots and the turning back of boats filled with brown, black, and Muslim refugees. Publicly demonstrative racists like Australian Sen. Pauline “Please explain” Hanson were a national joke, not a national threat—the refugees were the threat, apparently. These days, as one local from Tarrant’s hometown told the New York Times, “There is still a lot of racism around the place. It’s usually sort of hidden a little bit.”
You could say the same of federal politics, with its coded appeals to white, racist fear—it’s only hidden until suddenly you can’t avoid it. Indeed, many white Aussies will tell you that the persistence of racist tropes is mostly harmless, as many did after the Serena Williams cartoon incident. Australians: We’re just a bunch of fun-loving, cheeky larrikins, right, mate? Well, we can now say that one of the deadliest hate crimes in history was perpetrated by a white Australian. But not just by a white Australian: As Amy Remeikis at the Guardian put it, the massacre was “carried out in the name of white Australia.”
I’ve long felt that racism is Australia’s most serious problem, our “festering sore”—I’ve written about it before. Many other Aussies have also been unsurprised, as I was, to learn that Tarrant was one of ours—but that lack of surprise should be more damning, not less. I have not myself stoked racial resentment, nor did I vote for Sen. Fraser Anning or the governments that made race-baiting appeals. But did I do enough to stop the ideology’s spread? Did I condemn hatred loud enough? Did I fight white supremacy every day? I did not pull the trigger, but it does not feel right to say I bear absolutely none of this national burden.
Shame, guilt, remorse, disgust—whatever you want to call it, I’m not alone. A number of Australian commentators are expressing similar feelings over the actions of “one of our citizens.” We face an overdue and now unavoidable reckoning with the role our anti-immigrant politics and culture played in shaping and normalizing Tarrant’s brand of hate.
We are a nation born of shame. A white-majority Australia exists only as the result of a genocidal invasion—another irony missed by Tarrant (and Trump) in his rants about invasion. It’s an original sin the country has recently grappled with: In 2008, the nation officially apologized to Indigenous Australians for its extreme mistreatment of them, in particular the horrendous policy of taking Indigenous children from their families—“a great stain [on] the nation’s soul,” said the prime minister at the time.
But what has become clear is that the shame—and the apologies—are no longer enough.
Rachel Withers wraps up her guilt-assigning rant by encouraging people in Australia to the same that the wackjobs in America do: Deplatform, shame, shout down, and slander people who disagree with you by calling everyone a racist fascist.
White Australians must no longer tolerate those mainstream voices who give white supremacy a platform and megaphone. Instead of brushing aside the racism in our homeland, or pointing instead toward Trump and the United States, we must call out dog whistles in our own government, in our own backyard, every chance we get. We must condemn hate speech not just when someone like Anning goes “too far,” and we must deny visas to alt-right figures who come to our shores expecting a friendly welcome not just in the wake of right-wing terror attacks, but always. We must fight the normalization of Islamophobia. And above all we must accept responsibility for the hatred we have normalized. Rather than go easy on ourselves, we must go hard. “Resist the urge to blame,” wrote Quillette founder Claire Lehmann. On the contrary, this is exactly when we need to be assigning more blame and scrutinizing the racist swamp from which Tarrant emerged. And we should be wary of those, like Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who would protest this as “politicization.” Jess Dweck satirized this kind of response as: “Please don’t bring politics into this tragedy in which the perpetrator was clearly inspired by my politics.”
She ends her article with “If you’re an Australian and reading this makes you feel defensive, you should ask them now.”
Perhaps the comments are the best part (yes, incredibly, a leftist site that actually allows for reader interaction). One reader, Fourex44, writes:
I am a White Australian and for you to implicate myself, my wife and our 3 children are in anyway responsible for the massacre in New Zealand is disgusting and the ultimate insult to myself and my family.
Let me take a guess and say that you are implying that we are racist.
I live in a country town in NSW where 50% of the population is Aboriginal. I am involved in 4 groups that;
* Help and support Aboriginal children which in turn helps their families* Encourages community unity and discourage racism.* Provide financial assistance to a group who provide support to the aboriginal community.
When I walk down the street I will always say hello to people who make eye contact and that includes Aboriginal people. I do the same for all people regardless of colour or race. That’s how I was brought up by my parents and my wife and I have encouraged our children to be the same and they are the same.
How dare you imply that myself, my wife and my 3 children in any way that we are responsible for what happened in New Zealand.
Another commenter, Olivia Kirby, writes:
And all Muslims must be held accountable for all atrocities, rape gangs, murders of homosexuals, murders of Christians throughout the Muslim world. Every Muslim must be examine their gross misogyny inherent as they’re all to blame for the total absence of womens’ rights and widespread practice of FGM wherever Sharia law is dominant.
And every Muslim is accountable for the 33,000 acts of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam since 9/11 alone.
Thank you Slate, for confirming, an ethnic class/race/ideology is accountable for every act good or bad they and their ancestors have ever carried out … so while we’re at it let’s throw in the Middle Ages Muslim conquests too.
The best zinger goes to TheGreatElector79:
Actual poster told me that voting Dem will get rid of racism. See, it was absent during the whole 8 years Obama was in power.
And black people? They did SO well bet. 2008 and 2016
Oh, wait: they didn’t
But hey, guys! Calling this all out will remedy it.
But this all begs the question: If so many evil, racist-by-default white people in Australia were this angry and prone to committing mass shootings against muslims, why aren’t these shootings taking place on a daily basis?