Exposing secret men’s business

8 09 2008

Indigenous Australian rights has been very high profile in Australia recently. Most will be aware of the Federal Parliament’s official apology earlier this year, some may not be quite so familiar with a further apology made by male Indigenous Australians a few months ago.

Most of the focus was on cultural male violence – including sexual and physical abuse against women and children – that affects some Indigenous communities. But perhaps there is more to it than that…

Josh reports the news of uproar amongst community Aboriginal education bodies against a book that encourages girls to use didgeridoos (AFP).

Apparently using a didgeridoo can cause infertility, the means may be unspecified, but apparently it’s a fact.

“We know very clearly that there’s a range of consequences for a female touching a didgeridoo — infertility would be the start of it, ranging to other consequences. I won’t even let my daughter touch one.” –Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, GM Mark Rose.

I’d like to repeat Josh: “Was there a double-blinded controlled study?”

“Secret Men’s Business” is Indigenous Australia’s way of excusing culturally ingrained bigotry. This commentary piece by Sam Watson exposes part of the denial problem.

“We do not have any power anymore, no role or place or rights to be men. Our men are attacked and condemned in every newspaper and two bob media commentator in the land. Our men are fair game for every talk back – shock jock on the commercial networks. And we are even ripped apart by those self-appointed, ‘Jacky ­ Jacky’ leaders who are acting as attack dogs for their white masters.”

There is no modern role for “men” as a role in society, this is not an indigenous-specific issue. It is very much at the root of the modern male-depression epidemic. All communities, including indigenous ones, must adjust to the equal rights movement. Men no longer have a right to be head of a household, anymore than whites have rights to segregate themselves from blacks.

In order to be afforded the rights expected in a modern society, some of your previous “rights” must be relinquished. Part of this will be some traditional roles and activities that are not acceptable by modern standards, and it certainly goes beyond domestic violence issues.

Watson also uses the No-True-Scotsman fallacy which I think appears to pervade many activists attempting to address this issue. A we-are-not-the-problem attitude will not be successful in dealing with this issue.




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