Different Strokes

This local ad from a Cairns newspaper was recently brought to our attention by one of our readers.


Sounds a bit like the whines we get from the bogots about Indigenous people.

So we did some research and found out it was a legitimate ad from a legitimate documentary producer.

The producer is in fact Ronan Sharkey who was responsible for the excellent SBS series Go Back to Where you Came From

Now Ronan is running a somewhat different ad on the Flinders Uni blog


So we were wondering firstly why the newspaper ad was obviously targeted to certain negative attitudes about Indigenous people and also what this says about the attitudes of people in Cairns (or the perceptions people have about attitudes of people in Cairns).

19 thoughts on “Different Strokes

  1. Sadly, I think it’s common practice for TV shows to bait the opposed sides of a debate by biased advertising like that. I have heard of people going more extreme on camera for more money, too. Quite disappointing to see this from someone coming from or formerly working for SBS.

    • Heated debate between two diametrically opposed viewpoints can be very entertaining, so long as you don’t expect anything resembling intelligent discourse.

      This show will probably be no different.

  2. Even if a subject has empirical proof of 95% to 5%, the ‘easy’ way to ensure ‘balance’ in reporting such facts is to present them with 50% screen time it’s easier to pander than to educate. Furthermore, Racism -> Drama -> Ratings

  3. North Queensland still contains a harsh and explicit racism towards their Indigenous populations (which is higher than the national average), whether in Cairns or Townsville. It’s got one foot stuck in country/redneck town and exclusion; the other in modern cultural fluidity and good hangs. He’s baiting because he’ll know he’ll get a bite – might have done the same thing for GBTWYCF?

    Alex Page

  4. I wonder if the same approach was employed when recruiting people for the first ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’ series. I expect they’re looking for people with polarising views for a more impassioned debate. Since QLD is arguably the most racist state, Cairns seems like a reasonable place to go trawling for bogans.

  5. If the show is like those aired before they want people with complete ignorance to expose to some of the stark realities that only the truly ignorant are so confidently able to vocally share opinions about anyway. Empty vessels make the most noise.

  6. The problem is that there are people who discriminate and are racist, because the current message is we are all the same, that it is environmental and because of racism that aboriginal people don’t have the same outcomes as whites. Most people can see for themselves, that this is not the case.

    Much effort is put into helping the aboriginal people, and a lot of people want to help, but it is one thing to offer a job, it is another thing for the people to want to work, and at the end of the day, they actually have to be able to perform the job to a satisfactory standard.

    You quite literally can predict education outcomes etc and this is partly genetic as much as people will try and tell you that it is not. The fact is that it is. The aboriginals that are leaders and representing in the modern day society are for the most part mixed race either 50% or more Caucasian or Asian. Look at that Nova Perris mostly indian. Jessica Mauboy is actually half indonesian, her mother is as white as you or I! Her father is Indonesian, if her father was white she would be white just like you or I, but yet she is able to claim aboriginal! She is only a very small percentage aboriginal, she gets away with this because she is half indonesian, another dark race.

    What we need to do is say ok Aboriginals are very unlikely to be able to do some of the jobs that require high level education, but that is ok, because there are other ways in which they can contribute and be valued members of society. That is what is missing, a sense of being an asset to society rather than a burden. Working on farms, tour guides, sport, acting, television and many other ways they can be included in modern day society and contribute. Many labouring jobs etc.

    The other thing too is they don’t have to contribute. They can if they wish live how they did before European settlement, and this is somewhat what happens in some places. We need to recognise the need to preserve their culture and help them where possible. They are at risk of racial mixing loosing full blooded aboriginals and they are very prone to substance abuse and alcoholism. We can help them in these areas.

    There are so many ways that we try and help them with money and jobs etc, but we need to realise the essentials of what is best for them and be realistic. It is ok to have races living side by side with one race contributing in one way and another in another way. As a tourist attraction they are an asset to our country with their traditions and explanations of the land etc we need to help them preserve these traditions where possible.

    But traditions and respect is not allowing drug use and domestic violence and sexual abuse that occurs in aboriginal communities. We need to be realistic and not always concentrating on the past, we need to look to the future and how they can be a part of it.

    • Wait wait wait wait, Trever (Odd spelling by the way) are you honestly telling us that Jessica Mauboy has no Aboriginal ancestry anywhere at all, and she is in fact a half white half indonesian person?

      I mean, I could go through your diatribe which essentially wants Aborigines to be made official second class citizens, or even worse, slaves and pets, demanding sources for all your bullshit about “genetic intelligence” etc, and pointing out that Jessica Mauboy and Nova Perris are celebrities not leaders (Hence why our prime minister is Julia Gillard, not Hugh Jackman), and that your complaints about the faults of the Aboriginal people, which are apparently genetic, can actually describe all the intergenerationally unemployed families, most of whom are not Aboriginal; but let’s just start with this for now.

    • It just has to be genetic, right? After all, it’s not like generations of poverty, discrimination and deeply entrenched attitudes could ever possibly have anything to do with it.

  7. Yes that is basically correct.

    Her father is an Indonesian man, darker skinned, from Indonesia. That is 50% Indonesian

    Her mother is white in appearance, maybe somewhere up the line she has an aboriginal relative, but she is certainly not a half cast, she is not a quarter cast, at least not of full blooded aboriginal, quarter casts are still noticeably aboriginal, she is likely an 1/8 or has a grandparent who is half etc, making about an 1/8 agian, and thats if it was full blooded aboriginal.

    So her white, apparently aboriginal mother is at most 1/8
    12.5 %call it 10% aboriginal and 90 percent caucasian white
    so the break down is 50% Indonesian 45% white and 5% aboriginal

    but yet she is claiming to be aboriginal!

    • As she can do since she has been brought up in country and identifies herself as such as do her friends, relatives and community.

      Using the word “cast” shows you haven’t moved from the racism of the 50s. No one talks that way now except for racists.

      Go away and educate yourself before you make a bigger idiot of yourself than you already have.

    • Ah, so we get to the “You must have 50% to belong to a cutlure argument” do we Trever? Let’s run this out.

      Suppose you have a child with a nice, and forgiving, Swedish lady. This child is now 50% Australian and 50% Swedish, according to you. That child in turn grows up in Australia and has a child with another Swedish person, with the eventual grandchild being 25% Australian, and 75% Swedish.

      Now, to me, that grandchild is Australian if they were born in Australia, grew up in Australian culture and consider themselves Australian. But, according to your definition, they are not Australian, will never be Australian, and are actually Swedish (Even if they have never been to Sweden), and should be prevented from ever claiming to be Australian or being part of Australian culture.

      Incidentally, love that your “facts” for the genealogy of Jessica Mauboy is that “Her mother looks white, therefore she’s going to be mostly white” – because there is no such thing as light skinned African or Aboriginal people. And it’s definitely not true that you can have light skinned and dark skinned people in the same family. (Insert sarcasm here)

  8. Well yeah I wouldn’t think that it is really accurate to call yourself aboriginal unless you are in fact a majority aboriginal. You could say you have aboriginal in your heritage, but if you are mostly something else, then that is just a bit silly and not really true.

    For your example of If I were to have a child with a Swedish women, I think that is pretty straight forward.

    Firstly my heritage happens to be British, from both sides of my family, I don’t really consider Australian to be an ethnic heritage, unless you are an Australian aboriginal. The ethnic heritage of most Australians is British, at least pre ww2 anyway. That is a completely different part of the world.

    So living in Australia, if someone says whats your background, where are you from, I’d say well I’m an Australian, but my heritage is British, from England and Scotland. And if they wanted to know more I’d tell them the places in Britain my family is from.

    If you asked an Asian person, where are you from, whats your background? Well obviously you are interested in their country of origin, and they might say something like well I’m Australian, but my parents migrated from Taiwan or something like that.

    I don’t really consider Australian to be an ethnic heritage.

    So for your example, I someone of English and Scottish heritage, have a child with a Swedish women here in Australia, well the child would be Australian, and be of British and Swedish heritage. Pretty simple really.

    You have not picked a good example because both being north Europeans the child is not going to come out black or anything, and your not really going to know what the ethnic make up is just by looking at the child.

    And if the child marries another Swede well their child would be of Swedish and British heritage also. 75% Swedish 25% British.

    When we are talking about aboriginal and British decent the two eithnicities are quite different, they are from different parts of the world. you can always tell if someone is half aboriginal, usually if they are a quarter also. But in cases where the parent claiming aboriginal looks more Caucasian, and the person chooses to identify with Aboriginal and ignore their British or whatever heritage, I think that is a bit weird, and not really correct.

    If someone is half Indonesian, next majority British, and then smallest amount aboriginal, but yet is claiming to be aboriginal well they are not really being honest.

    They are using their Indonesian ancestry which is another dark race, to make people think that they are more aboriginal then they in fact are.

    So to answer your question, no I don’t think that a person should be able to state they are aboriginal or represent aboriginals if they are less than 50% aboriginal. Because the truth is they are majority something else, and essentially are not representative of that heritage by definition.

    That is not really fair to the people who are majority aboriginal.

    • @Trever : Telling other people what they identify as culturally seems very rude and foolish to me.

      Identity is NOT just DNA and genetics, its also how people were raised, how they live and think and there is no such thing – biologically – as race anyhow.

      I think you seriously need to research and reconsider this some more. Maybe read Obama’s autobiography I think he’s written about that and others. Since you personally (like me) don’t have an indigenous background or heritage its probably a very good idea for you to listen to those who do and respect what they tell us.

    • “Well obviously you are interested in their country of origin, and they might say something like well I’m Australian, but my parents migrated from Taiwan or something like that.”

      No, I wouldn’t. You would, because you are a person who cares passionately about what country everyone is from. I don’t care. As Margaret Cho said “No one runs up to a white guy and asks ‘Where are you from? I mean, where are your parents from? Or their parents?’

      “You have not picked a good example because both being north Europeans the child is not going to come out black or anything, and your not really going to know what the ethnic make up is just by looking at the child. ”

      Oh, so it’s all about skin colour then? There I was thinking it’s actually about a) genetic differences I’m trusting that you have evidence of actually existing that would go deeper than skin colour, or b) cultural differences that again are not connected to skin colour.

      But anyway, the only issue according to you now is that some people have a different skin colour, and they must be classified. So it isn’t an issue of culture, it’s an issue of ethnicity? Is Jessica Mauboy allowed to say she has Aboriginal culture then, or must she deny it because she’s not Aboriginal enough?

      Except, now you don’t.

      “no I don’t think that a person should be able to state they are aboriginal or represent aboriginals if they are less than 50% aboriginal.”

      So, a person raised aboriginal, in the aboriginal culture, is never allowed to say “I am an aboriginie” if they’re too white, but you’re allowed to say “I’m British/Australian/Scottish” even if you’ve never been involved in any of those three above countries?

      “That is not really fair to the people who are majority aboriginal.”

      Really? And you know this how? You’ve asked them? No, of course you haven’t, you’ve already said that you think Aboriginals are genetically inferior, so you wouldn’t ever want to talk to them.

      I think it’s hilarious you’ve suddenly started caring about being fair to “Majority Aboriginies” where previously you said they were genetically intellectually inferior and would need to be cut out of many trades, in favour of being tourist attractions and labourers.

  9. Sounds like a sequel to ‘Go Back Where You Came From’ based around Indigenous issues – could be interesting and, seems like they are trying to get examples of extreme viewpoints just as they did with GBWYCF.

    Queensland has a bit of a reputation as our “Deep North” I understand, perhaps an unfair stereotype in itself.

    • It’s interesting. I’m from up there and there is a definite split between the small and large towns. If you a born in a small town, it’s honestly really hard to be racist against aboriginals because well, they are often a good half the population of the town, and when your town is 60-100 people, you can’t really afford to exclude 50% of them.

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