The Guardian, a former news paper, yesterday published an article seeking to shame Australia's record on indigenous deaths in custody. It's just a sample of the rhetoric surrounding the importation of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests sparked in Minneapolis, USA by the police brutality occasioning the death of George Floyd.
Such injustice has rightly been widely condemned. Police brutality must be extinguished completely from civil society. No law enforcement agency, politician or credible commentator there or here disagrees. That's evidence of systemic repulsion by racism.
So what can grievance activists use as an excuse for protests here? Aboriginal deaths in custody. The Guardian's headline screams 434 Aboriginals have died since 1991. The protest sign pictured makes a similar claim, similarly without any important context. They admit they focussed only on Indigenous deaths because they are disproportionately represented in the justice system, and this is where everybody seems to ignore the elephant in the room and forget to look for real solutions.
Surely if you want to solve deaths in custody, and then realise the 2% of the adult population identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander are 28% of the total prisoner population, the least you'd do is also try to reduce the rate of custody? If the suggestion is that our justice system is putting innocent people in jail, please point to valid evidence of that broken system and let's fix that urgently.
But if the problem is the real rate of offending the law is disproportionately higher among Indigenous people, then the protesters' crusade to impose cultural embarrassment on Australia as a whole is misdirected and obscuring the opportunity for a real solution.
The Facts are "Racist"
As of 30 June 2018 there were just under 43,000 prisoners in Australia, increasing 3% that year from 216 to 221 prisoners per 100,000 adults. 32% were yet to be sentenced. 92% of all prisoners were male, and 28% were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
It's reasonable to predict in a population of 43,000 people there will be deaths from illness and preventable causes including accident, injury and suicide. Once you allow for the specific demographic of people who are more likely to be prone to substance abuse and given to violence all congregated together and the punitive nature of their environment, one can even predict a much higher likelihood of illness, injury and death.
The Australian Institute of Criminology monitors deaths in custody through the National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) which was established after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The Royal Commission's findings released in 1991 included that:
- the high number of Aboriginal deaths in custody was due to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in custody
- Indigenous Australians were no more likely to die in custody than non-Indigenous Australians.
In the years 2012-2013 there were 53 deaths in prison custody. Only 9 of those were among Indigenous prisoners. Indigenous prisoners are under-represented, with 27% of prisoners being Indigenous and just 17% of deaths in custody being Indigenous.
Those two Royal Commission findings are highly inconvenient to the imported Black Lives Matter rhetoric. The facts are more in favour of the case for systemic sexism - equally mythical - with men also being disproportionately represented in custody and subsequent death rates. Where is the protest against deaths in custody for male lives?
The BLM Agenda is Racist
The "Black Lives Matter" name deliberately implies everyone else is an ignorant racist and needs to be told the obvious. It's a despicable strategy to try and force others to prove they're not racist, which is impossible when denial is taken as proof of racism. They self-evidently provoke a "them and us" seething hotbed of racial tension to be exploited with any opportunity that arises, but have no real evidence of systemic racism.
Right thinking people need to soberly assess their claims and demand evidence before being easily manipulated into their questionable agenda. The fruit of the Black Lives Matter tree is racial division, not harmony; resentment, not reconcilaition; oppression, not equality; injustice and violence, not justice and peace.
It's the same with toxic socialist, feminist and LGBTIQAX+ mutations of "social justice". These identity-agendas cause division and promote resentment wherever they're scattered, with scant regard for the historical and ongoing carnage they leave in their wake.
The Right Way
Do you want to find a solution to intervene in Aboriginal rates of crime before they interact with the justice system? I'm right on board, let's do it together. Do you want to radically reduce rates of death in custody for all prisoners? That's a fight for equality and compassion I can get behind. Do you want to speak out against police brutality - just as likely to be committed by the Asian, Hispanic, black and white bad apples amongst the overwhleming majority of heroes who sacrifice so much to lead the fight against injustice? I will add my voice to yours.
Here's how we do it, how a Christian culture would respond. When I see any injustice, I intervene. There's no need to discriminate or qualify my concern. I don't reject any part of justice for all when I contradict justice for some. Regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, circumstance of conception, religion or location, every human life is equally sacred and deserving of passionate defence.
• Australian Bureau of Statistics - "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prisoner Characteristics"
• Australian Bureau of Statistics - "Prisoner Characteristics, Australia"
• Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - "The health of Australia's prisoners"
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