I’ve lost faith in Australia: A reaction to ‘The Final Quarter’

I’ve been told that there are certain stories or moments in a journalist’s life that shapes how they report on the world. I’d thought this was a bit extreme, a bit too serious. The other night, staring at the end credits and listening to Paul Kelly, it clicked. Following a restless night of internal debate on the ground-breaking documentary The Final Quarter, I thought I’d learnt something. Then I had a look at social media, and a different lesson shone through in brutal coldness.


The reflection on the latter stages of Adam Goodes’ career had severely challenged me. I remember the incidents mentioned. I remember hearing he was ‘staging’, acting, sliding in with the knees. A pitiful excuse for a tirade of boos. Is there a more negative sound than an aggressive and hostile boo? But at the time, I knew no better. I agreed that some of his actions weren’t great, and I was blinded by a nation of hatred. Watching the documentary, guilt racked me. Took me over. Despite being barely a teenager, I was a part of an ignorant collective which provided no respite.


Throughout the remaining hours of the night questions and answered flickered through my mind like an intense press conference. Why did no one think the booing, even if intended for non-racist reasons, would look terribly like ignorant discrimination due to its timing and duration? Were people aggravated by Goodes celebrating with a traditional dance because it was directed straight at the Carlton cheer squad or because it was a defiant display of cultural pride? The way I kept coming to my answers told me I’d learnt a lot about perspective. Every answer was ultimately decided by wondering what the reaction would be if a white man did the same things. It’s something I’m glad I know sooner rather than later.


All I could feel was immense sorrow for Goodes. He should be remembered as a champion of the game. One of the best. Two Brownlows, a swagger of B&Fs and two flags is just a small part of a wonderful list. Add to that an Australian of the Year and he should be one of the biggest personalities Australia has ever seen. His level-headed demeanour would be perfect for a political scene in need of some logic and diversity. But now he will be eternally shrouded in controversy, of a delayed apology that can never heal what must be his heartbreak and disappointment. The let-down of an Australian society that is now showing the façade of acceptance it places up over a coat of racism.


With this clarity and whirlwind of emotions, social media changed it all. Seeing just the average reaction to the situation on a range of pages and groups was horrific. So many people who refused to watch the documentary, labelling Goodes a sook, an attention seeker, a child abuser. It then hit me pretty hard that Australia is up there as one of the most racist countries in the world. How people can decide this is a time for more abuse shocks me.


Firstly, calling Goodes a child abuser just upholds the racism so heavily entrenched in our society. Goodes pointed out a 13-year-old girl who called him an ape. The following day he spoke with clarity that he held no anger towards her, as she was reflective of Australian people as a whole. How could he have just stood there and said nothing? He should have been praised for not just letting it go, for challenging it and teaching a young girl an important lesson. It could have been anyone, and Goodes’ message would’ve been the same. So how is it abusive to point a child out for saying horrific things when in the long run it will only help her?


Calling him an attention-seeker doesn’t sit well with me. Waleed Aly summed it up so well when he said our society is accepting until the minorities challenge their position. That’s exactly what Goodes did, and he got relentlessly abused and booed for the last two years of a superb career because of that. Just because you tacked on later with the booing because he dived for a free kick or two doesn’t absolve anyone. We all should’ve been aware what it would look like to Indigenous people, and the victim of Goodes. Believing the boos can be separated into racist and non-racist boos just reiterates the ignorance that is problematic for us.


Lastly, the worst thing that was a constant in comments was questions about why Goodes was the only Indigenous person booed. If they only abused Goodes, then it couldn’t be racist. So many people (and mainly ones who were too lazy to watch the documentary) held this view. If you think about it, Sydney Stack recently did a war dance at the Dreamtime at the `G match with the same spear throwing action as Goodes did in 2015. He was praised, lauded. When Goodes did it, he was considered aggressive. Goodes was the only Indigenous player booed because he was the only one confident and courageous enough to challenge Australian society. As an Australian of the Year, he rightly worked to introduce constitutional change that would stamp out racism and ignorance. To make our nation a better and harmonious place. But the white majority didn’t like being put in their place, and unleashed on Goodes in a manner that put him out of the game.


Seeing comments like these even on Collingwood pages made me feel sick. For the first day in my life I felt ashamed to barrack for the club that had so many people upholding this abhorrent racism. To everyone too lazy to watch, to those people relentlessly abusing Goodes still. You are racist. You are backwards and you cause immense pain to an Australian of the Year and our Indigenous culture. Just because they want to be accepted. If there’s anything this whole situation has taught me, it’s that Australia can be both a wonderful yet shockingly terrible place. And it’s a place in need of change from the younger generations who are increasingly aware of perspective and acceptance.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.



  1. Mark Giuliano says

    Well said, Sean.

    I may be naive or a hopeless optimist, but I think it is only the vocal, moronic minority that we are talking about here.

    One of the things that stood out for me was the utter dichotomy between the intelligent, informed discussion that followed the airing of the program on Channel 10, as opposed to the vile vitriol spilling out in social media. There is more than a passing correlation with IQ level, I suspect.

    These poor sad souls that cannot handle feeling inferior to a gentle, caring, intelligent and articulate black man can find no other way to express themselves.

    I have some faith that our young people will grow up to be much more able to behave in a humane way to all of humanity.

    Let’s do this !

  2. Rulebook says

    Sean did I feel some sense of guilt watching the documentary yes as I didn’t criticize any 1 booing.
    A vital difference re Stack and him doing a tribal dance he did not do it during the game and that is the area where I will always criticize,Adam before or after the game all for it and even more so if other indigenous players were given the chance to participate but the way,Adam did the dance did invite hostility as a response the booing had started to die down that got the fire started again well and truly.
    Was some of the booing towards,Adam racial of course it was and it was bloody disgraceful was some of the booing re Adams own actions yes as time caught up with and he slowed down there were some actions I am sure,Adam would love to withdraw so some of the booing was not racial what so ever but overall on reflection people shouldn’t have joined in but it can’t ever be considered total racial abuse
    I am also certain as a nation we have progressed massively towards eliminating racism things we said years ago ( I am 56 ) are correctly not tolerated any more thank goodness

  3. Garry Rice says

    Sorry Rulebook, but I disagree with just about everything you said. It all sounds like a meek attempt at rationalisation to me. It is still victim blaming. And as to whether Adam would have done anything differently, well I haven’t spoken to him recently to ask him, have you?

  4. Stuart Hunter says


    Couldn’t agree more with what you said. I posted similar views to yours on my Facebook page and it got virtually zero activity when I would generally get some comments of some form for my rare postings. It got me thinking about what my “friends” really feel deep beneath the facade and whether I’m poor judge of character. Even my boss who I genuinely like told me he hated Adam Goodes when discussing whether he watched the doco the following morning. I’m still struggling as to how an intelligent guy like him can form such an opinion. He isn’t even a fan of AFL, so I’ll be kind and suggest his opinion his ill informed.

    I was lucky enough so see a large majority of Adam’s games at the SCG and at his best (which was often) he would light the ground up. But, as you pointed out, Waleed Aly nailed it. If Adam had just stuck to being a footballer rather than having a voice and using his platform as Australian of the Year for good, it would have soothed the ignorant sad bastards who are intent on hating. Adam deserves so much more and has so much more to contribute to Australian society, but simply, we don’t deserve him.

  5. Rulebook,
    That’s interesting as when originally seeing the footage of the celebration on the documentary I struggled to understand how I felt. I had held the view that perhaps Goodes shouldn’t have directed it at the Carlton cheer squad, especially if it was meant to be a celebration of his own Indigenous heritage. But I also began to think that there are many other AFL players who have done worse to crowds in celebration (such as putting up the bird or celebrating right in their face) which has been praised and shown as highlights, so I wondered if it was a disparaging reaction to Goodes because he was doing something a lot of white Australians couldn’t understand at the time. It takes a lot of thought and moral investigation to work out how you feel about the issue so completely understandable.

  6. Sean,
    The treatment of Adam Goodes was just about as textbook a case of Workplace bullying that you are likely to see or hear. The bullying was not from his workmates, but from the paying public.And like all bullying, it stemmed from the point of difference between Goodes and those doing the booing. I’d guess that the majority of them were not skilled aboriginal footballers. They’d probably not been discriminated against in their whole lives.
    So their blindness allowed them to find excuses and rationalizations for their booing. Avoiding their ugly truth. I sincerely hope that none of them have once been victims of bullying. They should have known better. They were of course helped by the incendiary cheerleaders of the lynch mob, Alan Jones (who has form on this), Sam Newman and Andrew Bolt, whose shameful utterances were so effectively excoriated by the documentary.
    Goodes was also badly let down by his employer, the AFL, who did too little, too late. The craven dissembling by Gil McLachlan when asked to call out racism was cringemaking for the viewer.
    There is at least some hope that rational discussion is proceeding on this site. One should never expect too much wisdom to arise from the comments on social media (present company excluded). The knucklehead factor is strong in sporting crowds, but I think that even that can be controlled or directed, given sunlight and enough exposure (though I was saddened by the recent championing of loud oafs as paragons of free speech). It will be interesting too see what differing perspectives Stan Grant’s brings to the topic.

  7. Rod Oaten says

    Whilst travelling around Australia with our tent on three different trips many years ago we encountered the most blatant racism in service stations, food outlets and in camping grounds.
    I have heard the most repugnant racism as a youngster from supporters of opposition clubs all those years ago when Norm McDonald was playing for the Dons.
    I have witnessed racism when playing country footy in Victoria.
    Scratch a sizeable minority of Australians and you will find a racist eager to vent their spleen.
    Racism faced by Adam Goodes or any other Indigenous footballer who stands up against injustice, comes as no surprise to me.

  8. Rulebook says

    Garry didn’t expect my view to be popular I have read that,Adam regretted re sliding in with knees that sort of thing but know I haven’t spoken to him and Sean thank you for your well thought and balanced reply

  9. Spot on, Sean. Nailed it with your words: “Goodes was the only Indigenous player booed because he was the only one confident and courageous enough to challenge Australian society. As an Australian of the Year, he rightly worked to introduce constitutional change that would stamp out racism and ignorance. To make our nation a better and harmonious place. But the white majority didn’t like being put in their place, and unleashed on Goodes in a manner that put him out of the game”.

    I too penned a few words on different Facebook pages, one of which mirrored you sentiments:
    In Australia there have been very few famous indigenous sporting stars who have taken a stand, as Adam Goodes has done. He called out racism on a sporting field and he has had the courage to speak out, as Australian of the Year, about the issues aboriginal people have faced and are still facing. “How dare he?” asks the ignorant white person. They simply don’t like it – hence the booing and hence racism – without question!

  10. Great article Sean. Hope your generation can do the hard yards to remove this most recent blot. How sad this is. 231 years after European invasion and colonisation many people feel affronted by an indigenous man having the decency and pride to stand up for what is right.

    For the temerity of calling out racism by a 13 year old girl he was targeted. Even worse for doing a dance indicative of his people this threatened so many small minded people it had to be torn down. Australian Of the Year: seriously how can the Australian of the year be one of the first Australians, not a caucasion ? All of this was too much for a substantial block of Australians who were then allowed to vent their prejudices on the most Australian of settings: Footy grounds.

    We’ve come a long way here, but we have so much further to go. When you leave the ‘big smoke’ to spend time in ‘the sticks’ the perception of Aboriginal Australia so different. That doesn’t mean racism is simply a rural phenomena, it just seemed to be swept under the carpet in the big towns until this brought it back out onto the public stage. Sad.

    Whether people like it or accept it, White Australia has a Black History.


  11. I express no opinion either way on this article, or the treatment of Adam Goodes. I have little doubt this will bring the roof down on my head, but the following occurred to me when watching the documentary. During the whole 2 to 3 years of this episode, not a single journalist, to my knowledge, went into the crowd on a game day and asked as many as possible who were booing; “why are you booing?” If anybody did, there was no report of such in the media that I am aware of, nor in this programme. Why not, when we have a horde of people in the media who call themselves “investigative journalists”? Many employed by NITV too.

  12. Bucko, I asked a couple sitting behind me at the Gabba when we played the Lions there. “Why are you booing?”, I asked them. They looked away sheepishly. I asked them again. No reply. I asked a third time, and the man mumbled, “Well, he deserves it”. I tried to go deeper by asking “Deserves what?”. They simply got up and walked away.

  13. Michael Viljoen says

    I think your comment is one of the most significant here. There are still so many unanswered questions regarding this saga. Why didn’t the media ask those in the crowd why they were booing? I take it from your comment that you think the media, or something about the way they operate, are letting us down in some way.
    I watched the doco, and though well made, it didn’t address every question. One problem is that perhaps 80 minutes is not long enough to address all the issues. But chief question amongst them all is, just why were people booing?

    The answer is not simple. It’s complex. To say that we’re a country full of if bigots, and we just need to grow up, or pull up our sox, doesn’t quite cut it. And yet racism, or xenophobia, (or whatever word you want to use for lack of understanding towards those who are a bit different) is definitely a factor.

    It’s complex. To blame Gil for for not denouncing racism is a little simplistic. Clearly, one thing people don’t like is to be told that they’re ‘racist’. That in itself is an insult. So Gil knew that calling people out for racism at that moment would risk fuelling the booing, and having it increase.

    There are more questions I would like to ask:
    Sean, why would you say Australians are more racist than any other people ?
    Why is calling someone an ape deemed racist?
    However, it is difficult in our climate to ask tricky questions. Australians are not good at talking through issues. Adam tried to do this, and look where it got him.
    The Australian way prefers to shoot first and ask questions later. Look at RA’s way of dealing with IF. Don’t attempt to talk through the issue, just chuck him out of the boat, and hang the consequences. Our lawyers will back us up.

    Sean, your piece is well thought through. It does add positively to the discussion. Don’t be too hard on Collingwood people. As much as I’m a Carlton person, I had difficulty reading the Carlton fan pages for the way they were treating Goodes.

    Thanks, Bucko, for being willing to raise a thorny question. And I would like to ask you, why do you think people were booing?

  14. Michael, I have no real idea why they were booing. Is it part of the herd stampede where, once one starts, the mob follow? Is it pure racism? If so, why are Betts, Burgoyne et al not booed? I was never at a game where he was booed, us Port folk are too well mannered! I greatly admired Goodes as a player, he is an extraordinary athlete and I wished he played for Port Adelaide.

    I suppose looking at all the evidence, I would reckon he was booed because he tried to rock the boat, poke the bear, whatever cliche you want. Then at each game it would only need a few clowns to start and others would join in because they thought it may help their team to distract the other mob. I have seen blokes like Dangerfield booed for things not related to playing actions too. I have booed opposition players for acts committed in the match, but never for anything that happened off field or before games.

    As I have said elsewhere, I lived and worked in Alice Springs for nearly 20 years, umpired and played sport and I can assure you that racism goes both ways. Unless and until there is genuine respect from and for both sides, progress in relations will not happen.

    I would not discourage Sean from being hard on the Collingwood people, if you look back over recent times, it is that club which has had the most trouble with racism, from the top down, to off-field misbehaviour to gambling on games.

    You are right too about Folau.

  15. And to Sean. Do not lose faith in Australia. Maybe just get out of the cities and off un-social media. Out in the bush you will find much that is still great about Australia.

  16. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Terrific piece mate. I watched the Final Quarter twice and both times I felt sadness. Was it racism? Probably. Did it turn into a form of bullying? Undoubtedly.
    I’ve always held the view that this country is run by lords and bogans: (Check First Fleet, Flag, Anthem, Queen on our currency, AFL Coaches )
    As if they were going to let an Indigenous sportsman call out injustice and imbalances of power. Once Goodes moved beyond the paradigm of ‘entertainer/performer’ he had to be put back in his rightful place.
    Let’s hope the next generation can afford Goodesy the respect he deserved by having film shown widely in schools.
    Let’s hope that Indigenous sportspeople can attain positions of power as senior coaches/CEO’s and that Goodes can come back and play a pivotal part in some real institutional change both in sport and life in general. Cheers.

  17. John Butler says

    Sean, I left school a long time ago, but it occurred to me at a later stage that I’d spent more time studying the French Revolution than Australian History. I’m not really sure how much that situation has changed.

    For all our so-called History Wars/Culture Wars, actual knowledge and understanding of our history is too often lacking. Not surprising really – if you are going to establish your laws on concepts like Terra Nullius, when obviously it was someone else’s land, you are hardly preparing the groundwork for honest discussion.

    But things are changing. I think our understanding of Australian history will be drastically different in another 50 years time. That won’t change all attitudes, but it will help.

    Re Adam Goodes specifically: at a certain point as this saga developed, it had become impossible to ignore the fact there was a least a significant racial element to it. That’s certainly how all the other indigenous players regarded it then and now. And that they would know about these things better than most.

    A good, honest piece Sean.

  18. DBalassone says

    Well done on a terrific piece Sean.

    A lot has been said about all this, but a couple of random reflections: I think a lot of people made the mistake of thinking Adam Goodes was angry when he did that dance. He wasn’t angry. It was a beautiful, rhythmic dance to celebrate indigenous round. I find it staggering, just staggering that anyone could be offended by it.

    One thing highlighted in the documentary that I didn’t pick up on at the time (because I don’t have foxtel) was foxtel’s coverage immediately after the Goodes dance. I found it hilarious. There was a panel of three experts disapproving of the dance. 1) Eddie, who has a checkered history with Goodes, 2) Dermie, who king hit Frawley behind play, stomped on Rayden Tallis’ head and karate chopped Tony Free and 3) Barry Hall, who is responsible for the worst act of violence on a footy field for half a the last 30 years. I thought I was watching a comedy.

  19. Spot on, Damian!

  20. Obviously this discussion could go on ad infinitum. Just want to add one more comment regarding others’ above. Michael asked the question “Why is calling someone an ape deemed racist?” Must say I’m slightly shocked! Ape and monkey have been used as derogatory terms for black people for centuries, and not just Australian aboriginal people.

    As far back as 1854, leading scientists, Josiah C. Nott and George R. Gliddon, in their document “Types of Mankind”, wrote what they saw as “objective racial hierarchies”. These observations featured illustrations and diagrams comparing Black people to chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. This document was not a strange fringe work but a well known and well respects piece of scientific literature for the day.

    And so, these same sentiments continue to this day!

  21. Michael Viljoen says

    Thanks for answering my question. My main point is that we as Australians are not always good at talking through things and tackling thorny questions.

    You’ve said that comparing ‘black’ people to chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans was considered part of respected scientific opinion in the 19th century, and I think the notion continued in our state education system for decades, perhaps even into our own lifetimes.

    In fact, to this very day, our kids are taught in school that we’re all apes. Is it not so?

    So technically, what a teenager yelled over the fence in 2013 might well reflect what she was taught in science class the week before. And in Australia, are kids taught to ever challenge what their science teacher tells them? No, not really.

    So at the Collingwood-Sydney game, when a teenager gets pulled out of her seat by security, and taken away for communist style ‘re-education’, I could partly understand her confusion. There are taboo words that are not permitted in football circles. That’s somewhat understandable. The issue is, as you say, historical. So we have the taboo word, ape. What happens on a different day, if a teenager yells out the word ape to Josh Kennedy or Max Gawn to try to put them off their kick for goal, these who are also big men with hairly facial features?

    I can understand Goodes’ pain at that moment. It’s real. So supposedly is what’s taught in science class. But it’s historical, it’s also a bit hysterical. Security personnel are real too. I’ve sometimes wondered what would have happened if the security guard had just acted a bit differently, and didn’t feel the need to drag the person away from the game. Would Adam Goodes be in a different place right now?

    And how might our society be if our education system stopped focussing on teaching our kids that we’re all apes with modern, cultured haircuts, or going a bit further back, that in essense we’re all collections of chemicals that were very fortunately the right distance from the sun.

    I remember learning about a ‘white’ man, Snow Wilson, who donated his own kidney to a ‘black’ man, Bill Coolburra, who was his buddy in Vietnam. Imagine if kids in school were taught about that! It’s real science, not philosophical conjecture. But it shows that we are all a lot more closely related than what we otherwise think. We’re really blood brothers.

  22. Michael. Thanks for your words. I don’t want to elaborate too much, or to necessarily continue the dialogue, as this page is more about Sean’s article. The scientists back then implied “These observations featured illustrations and diagrams comparing Black people to chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans..” with emphasis on BLACK people. I’m not saying the issue is historical, I’m saying it still happens today, centuries later. And finally, I would willingly bet my life on it: Josh Kennedy or Max Gawn would never be called an ape! It simply wouldn’t happen, whereas many black people have experienced such derogatory terms, and worse, all of their lives.

    Let’s just hope that education these days can change attitudes towards all people who are not of white, European heritage.

  23. Rick Kane says

    No Michael, no. You are either barking up the wrong tree, being deliberately disingenuous or for whatever reason applying a red herring argument. That you even argue that calling an Aboriginal an ape has the same or similar racist connotations to calling a European or a big white man with a beard an ape is mind-boggling.
    I am shocked and saddened by your lack of regard for what has been a staggering subjugation of Africans and Aboriginal people over centuries. Goodes reaction to being called an ape and all who have supported him are not being hysterical. Far from it. They are disrupting and destroying the old, tired, strained meta-narrative and dominant ideology and about time too.

  24. Jan, I admit to not having watched the Goodes documentary – I just forgot. However, I did watch a doco on NITV the other night on the life of BLACK entertainer SAMMY DAVIS JR. What an incredible talent that man was. For most of his life, especially while serving in the army, did he have to endure racial slurs and bullying especially after converting to Judaism. After marrying a white woman, May Britt, even JFK, who he had supported throughout, disowned him.

    Meanwhile, Frank Sinatra, who had many distractors for various reasons, befriended Davis and they became great pals. I won’t go over all I learned, but I was amazed to learn just how much talent (for a good many things) this fellow had and how he overcame heaps of prejudices against a black jew – simply incredible. Should you get the opportunity, please watch it.

  25. Michael Viljoen says

    Jan, thank-you for your input.
    I think what we’re discussing is directly in line with the topic of Sean’s article, being the film documentary looking at the harassment of Adam Goodes.

    Yes, people being discriminated against and insulted by being compared to an ape is a current issue. We’ve seen other examples in the sporting world, such as with Andrew Symonds. While it is also currently true that our education system often wishes to emphasise the idea that we are all apes. As you’ve said, the reason it is offensive goes back historically to the 19th Century Darwinian idea that certain people groups were specifically more ‘evolved’ than others. The idea is nonsense, but as a kid in school today, try suggesting to your science teacher that Darwin had some bad ideas, and see how far you get. For he is still revered.
    I don’t know how you could be so sure that Gawn and Kennedy have never been called apes. I would not be betting my life on it.

    I look forward to the day when we don’t need to, or don’t bother using the words ‘white’ and ‘black’. I don’t mind if other people call me white, as I do have blue eyes and grew up speaking only English. But I never call myself white, as my ancestry is so mixed. But it’s also true for all of us. We’re all very mixed. I love the variety within different ethnicities and cultures, but I really love saying the word “we”. We are one human race.

    I think you’ve misunderstood what I was trying to say. I’m sorry if I didn’t explain myself well. I said I was wondering if it was appropriate for a teenage person to be ripped out of their seat at the football by security for saying a taboo word. As it may have been a word spoken in innocence, considering they were not presented with a list on entrance to the ground for which words are permitted or not, considering the noise usually directed towards opposition players who are attempting to shoot at goal, and considering what kids are taught in school these days.

    I therefore raised the question, that if certain words are restricted, would they be banned in totality, equally if said towards big hairy players such as Max Gawn and Josh Kennedy.

    However, I have already acknowledged the reality of Goodes’ pain in that moment. By implication, I 100% agree that he had the right to object to any kind of discrimination, at that or any time, but especially on the Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round weekend.

    I have not, and have never, criticised Goodes for anything he’s said or done. As for the word hysterical, I was suggesting that the action of the security personnel in that famous 2013 game was unnecessary in the circumstances (nothing of Goodes’ doing). I’m glad to see that the security and behaviour awareness officers have got it so well worked out this year, in 2019. But seriously, I really wonder if the security had handled the situation a bit differently, could it maybe have been more benficial to Goodes in the long run.
    I would agree and disagree with certain things within that article from the Conversation that you posted. But I would quite agree with its concluding paragraph, “Clearly, the education system doesn’t do enough about the science or history of man. … if it did, we would see the disappearance of the ape insult.” I think we’re possibly on the same page here.

  26. Jesus, Michael, you’re still peddling this angle? I share Rick and Jan’s dismay (and augment it with exhaustion!) *Again*, teaching creationism alongside evolution wouldn’t make a lick of difference. We’ve always had racism and probably always will. It doesn’t matter what you teach kids about our origins; theories and beliefs about our origins aren’t linked to degrees of racism. *History* supports that. The only difference your construct could deliver is that Adam Goodes may not have been called an ape that day. But so what? Racism isn’t confined to slurs about being less evolved. If he wasn’t called an ape it most likely would have been something equally offensive. Racism offers haters a festering palate of options (check this list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_slurs ) Michael, the teenage girl wasn’t failed by her science class, she was failed by her community. To argue otherwise, as Rick identified, is indeed a red herring.

  27. Thanks for replying again, Michael. All I can add is: I beg to differ, and totally concur with Rick and T-Bone’s comments.

    I won’t be adding anything further.


  28. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Nice one Jan. And you’re getting a whole lotta concurrence back from me .

    Oh and my comment ‘To argue otherwise, as Rick identified, is indeed a red herring’ … I ought to proof read my rants before I fire them off. Sheesh! ‘Any argument otherwise, as Rick identified, is indeed a red herring.’

  29. Michael Viljoen says

    You say you disagree with me, but after having read over what we’ve written, I’m not sure on which point we disagree. I concur that the scientific literature of the mid-19th Century with regard to racial hierarchies has led to terrible injustices against Africans and Aboriginal peoples. I note perhaps one point of possible disagreement; you said you doubt that Max Gawn or Josh Kennedy would ever have been called an ape. I said I didn’t see why that would be so impossible. However, it could be that you were implying that if they were ever called that, you doubt it was intended as a racial slur. If so, then I agree.

    And in response to Rick, as for my use of the word “hysterical”, that was in regard to the over-reaction of the security personnel at the ground, which has also been an issue at footy grounds this year. I will quote Eddie Betts, whose comments were a lot less reactionary, and saner and tempered than most. There were Betts’ words after a spectator through a banana onto the playing field near him,

    “I don’t think she should get a life ban. I think she should come back and enjoy the footy.
    “It’s great, she came out and she apologised, I don’t hold grudges – I forgive her for what she’s done.
    “I know she’s got a lot of abusing messages on social media. I’ve forgiven her and so should all of you.”
    “This is all about education, it’s never too late to learn,’’ said Betts.

    You said that it doesn’t matter what you teach kids about our origins. Here, I would disagree. Education is the key. Put good stuff in, you’ll get good stuff out (or at least you’ll get a better chance of it.) If you don’t want to believe what I say, then listen to the words of Betts, and Goodes,

    “No one is born racist … it’s ingrained in them somewhere down the track.
    “It all comes down to that, to be educated,” said Betts.

    “I don’t want people to go after this girl. It’s about education.” Adam Goodes, May 2013.

    So, I’ll repeat what I said, on May 27 2013, soon after the Magpies v Swans match,
    “Goodes is correct to say that education is the key. While I know [better than most, considering what our family has experienced] that the root causes of racism are many and complex, society today is reaping the consequences of what it has sown educationally through its promotion of Darwinian philosophy. Yet we are under no compulsion to continue to blindly follow this outdated 19th Century idea. If we do so uncritically, then we are deserving of its consequences”.

    This paragraph is pretty similar in sentiment to the conclusion from the article linked in Rick Kane’s post above.

    “Clearly, the education system doesn’t do enough to educate us about the science or history of man. Because if it did, we would see the disappearance of the ape insult.” –
    James Bradley, “The Conservation”, May 31 2013.

  30. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Michael, you’ve misconstrued, bastardized and forced a square peg in a crucifix shaped hole there. Eddie Betts and Adam Goodes aren’t supporting teaching creationism alongside evolution. They’re advocating a better understanding of racism and why comments like calling an indigenous person an ape is so offensive. The teenage girl couldn’t possibly have learnt that any race is less evolved or more ape like in a modern Australian science class, so where she get that idea from? And there lies our challenge: to educate kids about the misinformation and ignorance they’ll come across in our communities.

    Go well Michael, and good luck with your crusade. Life’s too short to argue about teaching religion in a science class, so that’e me over and out on this.

Leave a Comment