The footy started this past week and while we, the fans could not be there for the games, it was great to see it back. But what has tarnished this great game of ours and the re-start of the season was the racist attack on one of footy’s greats – Mr Eddie Betts.
I could not, like others, believe that someone could post something so vile and really ignorant, given the current climate that is sweeping the world. The person who posted this said that his account was hacked. Is that now going to be the catch-phrase of our world, that an account was hacked! I have tried to work out what type of people keep posting these things and while I have my own theory, the bigger issue is that we as a nation must stand up for our Indigenous people and what they have had to endure since we ‘graced’ their shores all those years ago.
Then I thought about it more and we, the ‘white’ people of this country have so much more to do in order to make our Indigenous people a vital part of our society in all aspects and to rid ourselves of people who belittle, taunt and are generally racists bullies hiding behind their screens and the catch cry – I was hacked.
We have to make the Indigenous culture a vital component of our education system. We have to stop stereo-typing Indigenous people into an area that is more negative than positive. We have to start celebrating a culture that gave us this great game of ours. We have to start becoming our own great country by celebrating and acknowledging the incredible culture that the Indigenous people have and live by. We have to treat them with dignity and respect as we would with any other culture or religion, or creed or sexuality.
The easy way in which some people believe that it is their right to post something that portrays a person in a way that has been over the weekend, shows more about their level of intelligence, education and respect. Does it mean we should just ignore them and hope they go away, ABSOLUTELY NOT! But what we have to do is wipe the slate clean and start again, yet always ensuring that the atrocities of their past are not swept under the carpet of well what was done, was done and nothing can be changed.
We must honor those that were at the mercy of a brutal regime that saw our Indigenous people as nothing more than what this person tweeted over the weekend and we must stop this once and for all. We must honor the Indigenous history that has shaped not only our country, but our sport.
Being silent won’t help. Being aggressive won’t help. Being a part of a movement that places our Indigenous people to the forefront of what makes our country great, will help. Teaching our children about the Indigenous culture from Prep right to Year 12 should be mandatory.
We have an amazing opportunity to show Eddie Betts and others not only in the footy world, but in our society as a whole, that we want to change. That we want to become a society that respects, admires and knows all that we can about the Indigenous culture, where our great game came from.
I stand in total unity with you Eddie Betts and every Indigenous person. I respect and admire who you are, your history, and your culture. While we cannot change the past, we sure as hell can make sure that the present and the future is one of respect, admiration and pride for our Indigenous people. It will, as Carlton’s slogan states, is going to take ALL OF US!