‘Australians need to acknowledge the two centuries of “dispossession, injustice and suffering” faced by my ancestors.
“We are in so many respects the envy of the world,But I stand here with my ancestors and the view looks very different.
“Every time we are lured into the light, we are mugged by the darkness of this country’s history,”
“My people die young in this country,”
“We die 10 years younger than the average Australian, and we are far from free. We are fewer than 3 per cent of the Australian population and yet we are 25 per cent — a quarter of those Australians locked up in our prisons.
“And if you’re a juvenile it is worse, it is 50 per cent. An Indigenous child is more likely to be locked up in prison than they are to finish high school.”
Indigenous journalist Stan Grant has declared racism is “killing the Australian dream”, in an impassioned speech that has gone viral on social media.
The powerful speech, delivered at the IQ2 Racism Debate in October, emerged online last week, with journalist Mike Carlton describing it as a “Martin Luther King moment” on Twitter.
The speech was published online just a week before Australia Day, a day commonly mourned by indigenous Australians as the anniversary of the British invasion.
The Sky News journalist said he had succeeded “not because of… but in spite of the Australian dream”, pinning his success on his family’s hard work in the face of ostracism and discrimination.
“My grandfather, who married a white woman… lived on the fringes of town until the police came, put a gun to his head, bulldozed his tin humpy, and ran over the graves of the three children he buried there. That’s the Australian dream,” Grant said.
“And if the white blood in me was here tonight, my grandmother, she would tell you of how she was turned away from a hospital… because she was giving birth to the child of a black person.”
Grant urged Australians to acknowledge Australia’s dark past and be “better” than racism.
“Of course racism is killing the Australian dream; it is self-evident… But we are better than that,” he said.
“One day I want to stand here and be able to say as proudly, and sing as loudly as anyone else in the room, ‘Australians ALL let us rejoice’.”
How racism affects health
The impact of racism on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be seen in:
- inequitable and reduced access to the resources required for health (employment, education, housing, medical care, etc)
- inequitable exposure to risk factors associated with ill-health (junk food, toxic substances, dangerous goods)
- stress and negative emotional/cognitive reactions which have negative impacts on mental health as well as affecting the immune, endocrine, cardiovascular and other physiological systems
- engagement in unhealthy activities (smoking, alcohol and drug use)
- disengagement from healthy activities (sleep, exercise, taking medications)
- physical injury via racially motivated assault