Racism the issue, not youth

April 28, 2012

In the early hours of April 22, police officers risked the lives of hundreds in Kings Cross by opening fire on the unarmed occupants of a stolen car, shooting the 14-year-old driver twice and a 17-year-old passenger in the neck.

Police then smashed the passenger's head on the road and body-slammed him on the curb, which left him in a coma. Police do not normally shoot unarmed teenagers in the middle of a crowded night spot. But this was different, possibly because the boys were Aboriginal.

Days of racist mainstream media followed while hundreds of people protested throughout the country against government and police racism and economic enslavement of Aboriginal people.

Brisbane’s Aboriginal community held a rally on April 24 outside Queensland parliament to coincide with rallies in Sydney.

Protesters said that the same kind of racist violence was also used against them by Queensland police. During the rally, two officers approached people and asked the protest to move on or they would “call for back up”.

The rally responded by asking why police brought their guns to a peaceful protest. Socialist Alliance Aboriginal rights spokesperson Sam Watson said the Queensland government does not have the right to fly the Aboriginal flag because it does not speak for their community or have consent yet it flies at the Queensland parliament.

Systemic racism exists on all levels of capitalist society and this contributes to the cycle of violence and crime. Despite a drop in crime over the past decade, incarceration rates and deaths in custody have increased dramatically.

Aboriginal teenagers are 28 times more likely to be thrown in jail. The number of jailed Aboriginal people aged between 10 and 17 rose by more than 20% in 2010.

Deaths in custody have risen by about half over the past 10 years in Queensland and New South Wales. The Australian Bureau of statistics said that last year the total prisoner population dropped by 2%, but the number of Aboriginal prisoners rose by 1%. And despite Aboriginal people making up only 2.5% of Australians, one-in-four prisoners are Aboriginal.

The Northern Territory now has the highest proportion of Aboriginal people in Australia living under apartheid conditions. There’s been no improvement in 20 years since the release of the Royal Commission report into Aboriginal deaths in custody and thousands languish in overcrowded housing with little to no access to services.

Since the start of the 2007 Northern Territory intervention, Community Development Employment Project jobs have been cut from 8000 to just 2400 and the remainder are due to be abolished completely in July this year to be replaced with low-paid, mostly part-time jobs.

The government threatens to withhold essential services, housing and health care if Aboriginal communities don't agree to 40-year leases of their land. The uncertainty and community unrest this causes is set to continue as the government plans to entrench intervention laws for another 10 years.

But billionaire mine owners profit from Aboriginal hardship as more and more new mining exploration and extraction projects are launched across the country on top of existing contracts and projects.

Rather than providing jobs and training for Aboriginal people, such as building renewable energy projects, the mine owners lobby government for more, cheaper migrant labour to work in the mines.

Aboriginal people grow up with inferior job options, appalling state-forced poverty and are constantly scapegoated by politicians, the media and police for crime.

The brutality against two teenagers in Kings Cross should be condemned. Too many people that are beaten or die in police custody are young and Aboriginal. These victims need justice, but a police inquiry won't be enough.

Resistance believes self-determination and a treaty signed by the government to put an end to the theft of resources on Aboriginal land are essential first steps to end the systemic racial discrimination Aboriginal people suffer. To fight racism, we need unity. Full justice must be fought for together with all Australians.


Police do not normally shoot unarmed teenagers in the middle of a crowded night spot. But this was different, possibly because the boys were Aboriginal They broke the law and endangered lives. If you think this is racism, you have not lived a very long experienced life. Take this story as one incident and don't compare it to incidents that are truly racist. Tried to talk to some of you folks today and you would not even discuss it...you called me a racist..and you would not even entertain discussion. Change your attitude on the way you get people to think about the bigger picture...shame.
they weren't unarmed at all. they were driving a stolen car that they deliberately used to run down one person (commonly called 'assault with a deadly weapon') and were intending to do so with other people. I dont care what race they were. If you do that and the cops shoot you to protect others, my care factor is zero.
This situation unfortunately was justified on the part of the police. The cops of course are suspect to their general fascistic brutality but this event was absurd on the young people's part. We can say that if young people can't be looked after by their parents that the state should take care of them. The disadvantage makes violence, ignorance and crime as a desirable road when there's nothing but a bleak, non-ideological future to look forward to.
Dear Anonymous's, For starters, why waste your time commenting on our article if your care factor is zero and you have no serious questions?? What do your comments prove? Our facts prove real links. After all the White Australia Policy was the first enacted in parliament. Do we teach our kids that??? To finish, I will compare as many incidents of racism as i like. So here's another one- The majority of immigration to Australia is WHITE. and the racist Australian government creates refugees by waging war and funding regimes in such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. What Australians need is real change brought on by peaceful protest and organised struggle against capitalism. In order to do that we need constructive criticism- not slander. If you want a debate go right ahead. Peace Jacob :)
I usually agree with almost everything I read on this website, however this piece is purely speculative dribble. As the previous comments have rightly pointed out, the perps were actually armed; a vehicle on a busy sidewalk is a deadly weapon. I also picked up on this one: "Aboriginal teenagers are 28 times more likely to be thrown in jail. The number of jailed Aboriginal people aged between 10 and 17 rose by more than 20% in 2010." Ok, how tragic. So now find me some statistics that show the percentage of Aboriginal teenagers found guilty of crimes and who ended up in prison vs the percentage of any other teenagers found guilty of crimes who ended up in prison. What I want to know is, why are Aboriginal teenagers 28 times more likely to be thrown in jail? Oh let me guess, you think it's because the system is racist. Have you perhaps considered the notion that possibly Aboriginal teenagers are 28 times more likely to commit a crime (than who? BTW)? I've got no figures on that and to be honest, i can't be bothered finding them. But neither can you, obviously, and hence this piece of speculative dribble I've wasted precious time on this earth reading. For me personally, if police feel they must use such force to subdue someone at risk of using a deadly weapon on innocent civilians, then so be it. But that is an unfortunate situation for the police to be in. I'd argue that the individual police shouldn't be blamed for doing what they've been taught to do. They shouldn't be help accountable for their actions unless their actions were incorrect in regards to their own policy. If anyone should be it should be accountable, it should be the system that armed those police and made it ok for them to fire their weapons.
This might be one incident only - but it's an expression of the racism that still pervades our society. Aboriginal culture means that the land owns the people, and their role as custodian is essential. In Australia, government, mining companies, and the apathetic public (informed by mining-friendly media) continue to take Aboriginal land. This is cultural genocide. All this under the pretense of 'helping' Aborigines. - Christina Macpherson
Thanks :) Yeah I totally agree that the governments, mining companies, and corporations continue to take Aboriginal land without any compensation. This situation is ongoing and it is for this reason that events such as the one in Kings Cross continue to happen. The point of our article is to show how the violence is caused by disadvantage, racism and capitalism. Simple. Wonderful things are happening though, with activists around the country joining forces in many different campaign areas on all the social issues affecting our communities. I was recently in Darwin for the Refugee Convergence where Aboriginal activists spoke out on the government's racist mandatory detention policy during a protest against the intervention. Afterwards we had a FREE BBQ put on by the Aboriginal community there. I had a wonderful time at the Rock Against Racism that weekend and we really it. Best gig i been to in a while! Beautiful people! Jacob :)
I am not saying there are not some idiots out there that do not have rascist attitudes towards Aboriginals because there are, but you statement "Aboriginal people grow up with inferior job options, appalling state-forced poverty and are constantly scapegoated by politicians, the media and police for crime." is frankly a crock and you yourself are guilty of sticking to a negative stereotype. Many Aboriginal people are trapped in a poverty/ welfare cycle, so are many other people. Like many others they are trapped because of a myriad of reasons including lack of education, lack of positive role models, and parents who won't or can't encourage them to stick at school and get a decent education. They do not all have inferior job offers, my husband and his sister are Aboriginal and are both in jobs with six figure salaries. I also know many others that have successful careers and are not on the poverty cycle. Oh yeah thats right they are accused of being coconuts because they refused to let their Aboriginality be an excuse not to succeed. The police shot those kids because they were driving a stolen car down a crowded footpath hitting people. How does being Aborginal give them the right to do that without repercussions. Stop letting Aboriginality being an excuse for bad or even criminal behaviour.
Ok Jacob how is it racist that the majority of immigration to Australia is white? Too many white people, is this some sort of Nazi conspiracy or do you simply not like white people?
"Police do not normally shoot unarmed teenagers in the middle of a crowded night spot. But this was different, possibly because the boys were Aboriginal." Police do no normall shoot unarmed teenagers in the middle of a crowded night spot because most teenagers do not drive stolen cars, allegedly on the footpath. These are the type of ridiculous articles that make reading this website right there next to impossible sometimes. I hope these authors don't consider this to be an example of serious journalism.
Regarding "silly asides" What does shooting at a car which has already run over a woman achieve? The police could have shot the tyres or at least taken number plates and this would have saved tax payers money, hospital beds, serious injuries and the extreme shock caused to passers by. As i said, police bullets could have missed the Aboriginal children targeted, and hit innocent civilians enjoying their night. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2011/06/07/montreal-shooting.html Regarding "some Aboriginals actually make it in a white world" It is very unfortunate, but many Aboriginal people get a substandard education in Australia, compared with white children. http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/2657 http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/41390 http://www.solidarity.net.au/30/aboriginal-school-says-mainstreaming-no-way-to-close-the-gap/ Parents should not be blamed for what is an issue involving governments, NGO’s, multi-national corporations and in fact all of society. As a matter of fact, there are many positive role models in Australia working very hard to improve the lives of Aboriginal people, volunteering their time in schools, hospitals, local community media outlets and much, much more. Please don’t ignore their role in our society. I am not saying there are not some wealthy Aboriginals on six figure salaries out there that do not have privileged attitudes towards poorer Aboriginals, because there are. Your following comments are racist, "How does being Aborginal give them the right to do that without repercussions. Stop letting Aboriginality being an excuse for bad or even criminal behaviour" Please show some respect when posting here and for your own benefit in life, stop portraying negative stereotypes. Jacob :)
It’s nearly the same situation in the U.S.A. for black people. “Racism” … the primitive characteristic that human beings refuse to discard…
So what your saying is that Blacks in the US are stealing cars and hitting people, pinning women under these stolen cars and when they are stopped by the police it’s the police who are the criminals, society is to blame and the victims (the car thieves) should be treated like children who didn’t understand what they were doing? What the police did after the car happed stopped and the suspects pulled from the car was wrong but people seem to be forgetting that two WOMEN were hit with one been pinned under the car, what about them? This site and much other media has seemed to have forgotten about them in order to focuses on wether or not it was a racism issue that happened and it clearly wasn’t and up until the cops had the suspects on the ground they did everything they could to stop this car and if that means having to use your sidearm then so be it, had those criminal teenagers not stolen a car none of this would have happened, had they not speed away onto the side path hitting two women this would have not gotten worse but they did and they and they alone are to blame.
Dont believe these racists, no hoons or police chases in aus has resulted in shooting a moving car, the police knew the offenders and where they live but chose to engage in a dangerous pursuit which resulted in an innocent by stander being run over, the police arrest white car theifs every day and dont shoot them, by their illogical rational the police should shot car theifs and hoons all the time but that doesnt happen, and now its an internal investigation, they will get paid leave and deployment to a resort town for shooting blacks, no police has ever been charged for violence against blacks in our 225 year history! I only have past examples to go by, only idiots "assume" anything as the facts are out their, police have never helped me, but they have harrased and racial profiled me, I cant trust them as they do nothing trust worthy
You sound like a white trying to tell us how it is not discuss it with us, not much has changed has it
No, they just need to stop going into non white nations chasing their mineral wealth and creating the refugee problem the same people are whinging about, dont want middle eastern people coming here then stop engaging in war with them

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