NACCHO racism and health news:Sol Bellear takes swipe at NRL star

Sol

Racism causes stress – stress is one of the most powerful contributors to illness and poor health.

Racism causes people to self-medicate with things like drugs and alcohol

Racism makes me sick. It makes Sam sick.

It makes everyone who is the target of it sick. It is one of the key reasons why the health gap in Australia is so wide.

Racism a driver of Aboriginal ill health   See previous ARTICLE

EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: SOL Bellear, the long-serving chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern, takes a swipe at Brisbane star Sam Thaiday.

PICTURE Above AIATSIS

Sam

LATE this week, the Brisbane Broncos unveiled their special Indigenous jersey, a strip designed to honour the contribution of past and current players, and in particular to highlight efforts to ‘Close the Gap’ in Indigenous health.

It’s a great initiative, and not before time.

But for me at least, the event was soured by the comments of Broncos’ star, Sam Thaiday.(picture above left)

I have enormous admiration and respect for Sam. He’s been a great contributor to rugby league and a role model to kids all over Australia. But Sam’s views on racism – that the best way to confront it is to “push it aside” – don’t sit well with me

At the jersey launch, Sam told media: “We’re out there to win at all costs and sometimes things get said in the heat of the moment that I think aren’t said as a hurtful thing.

“It is a tough thing to hear but you can’t really react to those things 
these days. I think the best way to deal with it is to try and
 push it aside as much as possible.”

Sorry Sam. That’s no solution at all.

There is never any excuse for racism, no matter how it is said, no matter how it meant. It is unacceptable in any form.

There are countless reasons why, but the most compelling is precisely one of the reasons why the Broncos launched the jersey in the first place – to highlight the gap in Indigenous health.

Racism makes me sick. It makes Sam sick. It makes everyone who is the target of it sick. It is one of the key reasons why the health gap in Australia is so wide.

For example, countless studies have shown significantly higher rates of smoking among the poor (it’s 50 percent among us blackfellas). And whatever your views about modern Indigenous politics, I challenge anyone to make a case that the poverty suffered by Indigenous Australians today is not a direct result of the racism of our past.

The racism of our present may be less overt, but it still hurts

Racism causes stress – stress is one of the most powerful contributors to illness and poor health.

Racism causes people to self-medicate with things like drugs and alcohol.

The simple reality is that racism affects everyone in this country, and no problem ever went away by “pushing it aside”, as Sam suggests.

As a role model, Sam and other Indigenous players of the NRL have a responsibility to stand up to it whenever they see it.

NACCHO health promotion news: Geelong AFL Cats Promote the Deadly Choices Message

 

DEADLYCHOI_WIDE_IMAGE_I0354129_212464

MAKING GOOD CHOICES: Cats Steven Motlop and Mathew Stokes with Dylan Jones and Wathaurong CEO Tracey Currie at the Deadly Choices launch. Photo: PETER RISTEVSKI

The Geelong Football Club will run programs in Victoria to share anti-smoking, smoke-free and healthy lifestyle choice messages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said at a meeting with Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative today that the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) had received $150,000 in funding to deliver programs in partnership with the Cats, and to look at ways of rolling out the program across Victoria.

“Starting in the Barwon region, the Cats‟ players will explain what Deadly Choices they have personally made. They will encourage young people to say no to smokes and adopt healthy lifestyle choices, including connecting to culture, healthy eating and physical activity,” he said.

In some activities, kids are put through their paces with footy drills and get to share a barbeque lunch with their AFL heroes.

Mr Snowdon said the campaign is funded as part of the rollout of Regional Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle activities across Australia.

“This approach was first developed in Queensland by the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which engaged NRL stars including Sam Thaiday and Preston Campbell as sporting role models for the Deadly Choices strategy Queensland,” Mr Snowdon said.

The partnership will support the two Deadly Choices TV commercials that feature „healthy living‟ Geelong Cats, Allen Christensen and Matthew Stokes.

Smoking has been found to be responsible for 17 per cent of the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and broader Australian population.

Tobacco smoking directly causes a third each of cancer and cardiovascular disease amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and accounts for one-fifth of deaths.

For more information, contact the minister’s office on 02 6277 7820