Week ending 20.05.06

Letter to the Editor

The following is a letter that I sent to ‘The Age’, The Australian, and ‘The Helald Sun’

Dear Editor

I was settling down for a night in when I got a call from a friend. It turned out that he had found a bar that was showing the long-awaited and extremely hyped boxing match between NSW born aborigine Anthony Mundine and Perth born Danny Green.

Mundine wears his ancestry on his sleeve…as well as in flag form on his hat, his suit, towels etc. He is proud of his heritage and why shouldn’t he be? Yet as I stood in the bar with a Breezer, watching the preamble to the fight, it became obvious that the media did not see it this way.

They were referring to Green as ‘The Australian’ and not referring to Mundine in a similar manner.

When I hear this reference the first time, I thought that this was a mistake, soon to be corrected by another commentator, but it soon became clear that the way that the commentators were going to describe Green was a conscious decision. Surely they had not lost sight of the fact that, if anything, as an aborigine, Mundine was the true Australian? Then the boxers made their entrances to the ring.

Green was played in to the song “Man Down Under” by ‘Men at Work’ re-emphasising his Australian identity, while Mundine was booed into the ring by the audience accompanied by an anonymous rap tune that made him look and sound more American than Australian.

Again I gave the media the benefit of the doubt, assuming that Mundine had chosen his own music, and had chosen something that would set him in the right frame of mind, in this case, something a little Gangster. It was not until the next scene that I could no longer excuse, or deny what was going on.

Before the proceeding began two singers entered the ring, an aborigine woman and a white male. As the woman was announced, the crowd began to boo.

At this point it became all too clear what the media had achieved. They had made this a Black man versus White man boxing match.

An act that I can only hope was meant to symbolise diversity and unity in Australia, was only being seen to compound the physical difference between the two men.

I was frozen in disbelief, and suddenly became very aware of my surroundings. I was one of four black men in a pub packed with white faces. I became more alert, my eyes scanning the room for potential trouble and potential solutions.

As the fight continued the commentators did not relent, constantly referring to how the Australian was taking a beating, when what they clearly wanted to refer to was ‘the white man’.

I was appalled, I was disappointed, I was shocked, that the media institution of my adopted country had let me down again. Upon whom could I rely to defend all that is right, and expose prejudice in all forms?

The night was enjoyable, and for me, went off without incident, but it was marred  by the bitter taste at the back of my throat that was the racial undertone that hung over the whole night like a fog.

Yours Faithfully

Orlando Gibson

Read the full unedited article here

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~ by jeditopcat on 8 November, 2008.

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