Police

Issue 

Police

The following letter, signed by the Reverend Ted Kennedy, Shirley Smith ("Mum Shirl") and 119 other parishioners of St Vincent's Catholic Church in Redfern, was sent to the Sydney Morning Herald. It was not printed.

Let us not mistake the reality of what is now being revealed regarding the manners of our Police Force. Give it its proper name — Institutional Racism, the very same in essence and in potential as what brought about the extermination of 6 million Jews. In this fiftieth anniversary year of the Holocaust, let us honestly recognise elements here which are genetically related.

What we have here is not just a set of attitudes faithfully reflecting those of society at large. After that, we have a predominantly male system with a force capacity far exceeding the sum total of its members, with long-standing traditions geared to protect and perpetuate themselves. It is a closed system with its own private language and has the power to initiate and control members' attitudes. It contains jealously a smelting process whereby existing poisons are distilled and transformed exponentially into more virulent and lethal forms.

Even now the ever-enduring and unanimous registration of pain by the Aboriginal people is being "set in context" by the blithering "only a joke" theory of Tony Day. Here there are haunting resonances of Australian massacres of black men, women and children in the name of jolly white sports. Aboriginal people know from the sly wink and the cupped hand-over-mouth that real danger lies ahead.

These matters are not being acknowledged or addressed by superficial staff adjustments or the consigning of an apologetic letter.

We are each responsible, not just for our individual attitudes of race, but for our failure to eradicate a brutal and blinding virus in the system they call "The Force".