by PAUL COLLITS – ONE doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the recent news that the ABC is racist. Surely someone is taking the mickey.
The viewers and listeners – I cannot claim to have been other than an accidental consumer of ABC fare for a decade or so – have had to put up with an endless stream of consciousness in relation to any woke issue you care to mention.
The ABC is living proof that Aborigines have at least one very, very loud voice already. As voices go, it is mostly at megaphone level. (Lots of other voices, too, everywhere you go. Now, you are not exempt from unsubtle messaging over the loudspeaker in Big W, over and over again. It is like 1984, only in variety stores).
The ABC has a pet Aborigine (Stan Grant), though he might now dispute this. No one else would. A pet African (on Classic FM) with a literally unpronounceable name. A name that makes the Queenslander Premier’s look like Smith. A pet trans (Ed le Brocq, nee Emma Ayres). And oodles of pet women.
Think of “the squad”: “Janet Albrechtsen claimed the ‘taxpayer-funded ABC’ is not impartial but rather behaves as ‘an activist lobby group for the trans community’. She wrote that female journalists help to ‘explain what’s gone wrong with the public broadcaster’, naming the “left-wing” squad as Louise Milligan, Sally Neighbour, Laura Tingle, Annabel Crabb, Fran Kelly, Sarah Ferguson and Patricia Karvelas.”
The ABC has a pet euthanasia advocate (Andrew Denton) and enough pet abortion advocates to populate a pet motel. Are any of “the squad” pro-life?
Let us not forget the gays. How on earth could we, even if we wanted to?
As was noted in the gay press earlier in the year: “The ABC has announced a ‘diverse and talented family of presenters’ to host this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, live from the Sydney Cricket Grounds (sic).
“The 44th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will be hosted by ABCQueer’s Mon Schafter, journalist and presenter Hamish Macdonald, comedian Steven Oliver, drag icon Courtney Act, Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan, and ABC’s Jeremy Fernandez.”
ABCQueer? Is that a thing? Yes, it is “for everyone under the rainbow”. Plenty of LBGT type voices there.
The only thing lacking is a pet conservative. The Insiders program axed Gerard Henderson in 2020. Diversity is cherished in all areas except thought.
This has always been a strange way of conceiving of “diversity”, a very superficial way. Differences based on colour, race, religion, sexual preference and so on are the least interesting differences among human beings, and the most manufactured.
Differences in thought, world views and conceptions of the good life (ideology) are the most interesting.
They make for the richest conversations. They drive innovation, as all the great writers on innovation attest.
Yet diversity of thought is the least valued kind of diversity in today’s media organisations and other corporate institutions.
Learning institutions gave up on diversity of thought in about 1970. Worse, anyone questioning the corporate narrative in most contemporary organisations is to be ignored, despised, cast out or silenced.
If the corporate suits and panjandrums don’t get you, the censorship industrial complex will.
Thought control has replaced critical thinking, and, so long as we have the right mix of races and genders (all 64 of them) and sexualities in the workplace, than all will be well. And to achieve this, we need … positive discrimination. Favouritism. Quotas. Enforced diversity.
Recently we had the case of Dan Bourchier, a journalist and an Indigenous “mentee” of Stan Grant’s at the ABC.
Bourchier admitted he was reluctant to go on the ABC’s flagship Sunday program for fear he would be branded as a “diversity pick” and detailed racist abuse he copped every time he appeared on the couch.
His throwaway line is unintentionally revealing.
Has Bourchier just let the cat out of the bag? Has he not just called time on the positive discrimination of the past thirty or so years?
Champions of the so-called victim class have been banging on about proportional representation across every sphere of life for decades, and woke, corporate HR departments have been only too happy to accommodate them.
Everything on screen or on “the wireless” has to be a perfect simulacrum of what society looks like. Why? Who knows?
Everything from the nonsense about needing more women in parliament to the outsized representation of same sex couples in everything on the television from drama to property programs.
Now, it turns out, being a “diversity pick” is not so welcome. So, positive discrimination is a two-way street. Its opponents were right all along.
If only we had stopped at equality of opportunity, a fine aspiration that was enshrined at the 1967 referendum, and had eschewed the much sillier, indeed, utopian fantasy of equality of outcome that has submerged us since.
Or worse still, the never-ending quest for representational diversity. With apologies to Martin Luther King Jr, great journalists would get onto radio and television programs – probably not Insiders, as they don’t do great journalism – by reason of their skill set, not the colour of their skin. (The skin is pretty pallid, to be fair, in Bourchier’s case, but let’s not go there).
If we really had a society and workplaces based solely on merit, then no one would have to worry about appearances of tokenism and the feelings of ill-will all round to which they inevitably give rise. Including to journalists like Bourchier, who resent the inferences.
It is probably an unwritten law that racist social media trolling has increased in direct proportion to the rise in the perks of Aboriginality, and to the rise in people claiming to be Indigenous (which is now going through the roof).
Take away the out-of-control, multi-layered, borderline ubiquitous “levelling up” programs, and a much less toxic atmosphere of resentment (by non-Indigenous people) is likely to emerge.
Teacher’s pets have never been popular. As Warren Mundine recently noted, most of those (Aborigines) supporting the Voice are on the government payroll, and always have been.
In other words, they are the recipients of taxpayer largesse, aboard a gravy train. They are not like Mundine’s thousand plus Indigenous mine workers who are very nervous about the likely impact of the Voice, on mining, on the economic opportunities available to those in remote regions, and on long-accepted channels of local Indigenous consultation.
They operate in the real economy, and at a safe distance from Aboriginal power politics and all of their cherished protections.
An uncharitable take on Bourchier’s claim might well be – is that all the thanks we get? After decades of preferential employment, rigged selection panels, mentoring, diversity training, unconscious bias training, abuse for alleged casual racism, and the rest?
Now, you say, well, I am just considered “token”. I’ll take my bat and ball and go home. A bit like his mentor, Stan Grant, has.
One can only wonder how Gerard Henderson must have felt during his own time at Insiders, tokenism-wise.PC