Black Lives Matter

Content warning for discussion of police brutality and racial violence, including naming some victims.

By virtue of having this blog, I have a platform of sorts. So I’m using it to speak out, after spending the past few days signal-boosting and processing and listening.

Across the world, it is well past time for change – actual systemic change, to remove the racist structures that have prevented Black lives and the lives of people of colour from thriving. The change must be led by Black people, indigenous peoples and people of colour. Not whites.

I’ve seen a bunch of different ways to help – donation threads, petitions, people/ groups to follow and actions to take. If you’re white like me, especially, see the links in the list below and choose some ways to help. (There’s probably some overlap in the donation threads, but I can’t be sure so I’ve included them all.)

I’m white. Being a white woman means I have a particular sort of privilege, which isn’t negated by my disabilities or bi/demi identity. That privilege is the sort that Amy Cooper used – turning on the tears, the false outrage, the fake fear, to try to get a black man, Christian Cooper, arrested for simply asking her to leash her dog in a park where that was a legal requirement. Thankfully, it didn’t work out the way she wanted – because by ringing the police, she could’ve caused his death.

Like how white actions – usually police actions – have caused the deaths of Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbrey, Dion Johnson – and now George Floyd, and those are just the publicised ones I know about in the last few months. It’s a deep problem of systemic racism, intersecting other bigotry like queerphobia (Nina Pop and Tony McDade were trans) and ableism (they’re claiming that George Floyd’s “pre-existing health conditions” could’ve been factors in his death). But the root of it all is the racism.

Year after year, month after month, week after week, we see things like this – white on black violence, often state-sanctioned (police brutality). It makes me feel sick inside, and I know that for Black people and people of colour, it’s worse. They confront this shit every day in ways that I never will never have to, because the colour of my skin affords me that bubble of protection. Read this post, or this one for black voices talking about that.

I support the protestors. I don’t care if they smash things – and I’d say that if they were rioting in my city, too. I do note that a lot of the worst of the damage appears to be initiated by white people stirring things up, including undercover cops or other white extremists. (In Minneapolis, they’ve linked arrested looters to out-of-town white extremists, with evidence of white extremists stirring shit up online too.)

But even if it that wasn’t the case? Black people are angry and have a fucking right to be. We should all be angry. Buildings can be rebuilt and goods restocked (most places would have insurance, anyway – especially big corporates). Lives though, once lost, can’t return.

Protesting and rioting is a valid political tool. Yet the tone and framing of such is completely different depending on who’s doing the protesting. Remember when those selfish ignorant white people protested about their freedoms and having to wear masks back at the start of May? The police were civil and calm to them.

Now, there’s footage of police actively enciting violence at these formerly peaceful protests by being punitively aggressive, before riots had started – tear-gassing protestors or riding their horse into the crowd and knocking someone over, or driving their cars at protestors and forcing them out of the way. Not to mention their attacks on journalists and medical/ first aid stations. This article explains it well, too: Police erupt in violence nationwide.

Of course, Trump weighed in – tweeting about calling in the National Guard and using words that even Twitter classified as “inciting violence”. It’s terrifying – and the fault of the white oppressors like him and the racial systems that privilege us white people. Black people protesting have every reason to be in the streets, agitating for change.

Protests and riots throughout history have won rights, because the freedoms sanctioned by majority aren’t given just by asking politely. See also: the labour movement, Women’s Suffrage, the Civil Rights movement , Stonewall Riots (started by a black trans woman!)… Something all of us white people could do to remember, but especially those of us who are white and queer, disabled or women. My disabilities, my womanhood, my queerness are not shields for my behaviour.

For more about the race politics of rioting/ looting, see this article: In Defense of Looting. It was written a few years ago after the murder of Michael Brown caused riots in Ferguson. See also this one, written this week. And read this excellent article about race politics and white-on-black violence It Does Not Matter If You Are Good as well.

It’s not limited to America. State-sanctioned white-on-black violence is a problem in Western countries across the globe, not just the USA. There are easy-to-find examples from Canada, the UK and my country, Australia.

Australia was founded on racism. My ancestors helped displace the First Nations peoples of the land. I grew up, live and work on stolen lands, where sovereignty was never ceded – but taken. The history of Australia is racist as fuck, and it continues today. For example, First Nations peoples make up 3.3% of the total Australian population, which in itself should be sobering, given their numbers before white invasion and colonisation began. However, they make up a disproportionate percentage of Australia’s prison population – 28%.

The discourse around George Floyd’s death has been very upsetting for many First Nations Australians, especially the family of the Dunghutti First Nations man, David Dungay Jr, who was murdered by prison officers in 2015. I saw a sobering Twitter thread yesterday – tweet after tweet of names of First Nations people who’d died in custody. There was a Royal Commission about it in 1991, and there have been over 400 deaths since, with not one cop convicted. (See here, here and here, as well as here – last link refers to Australian police misconduct in general.)

White Australia’s shame has also been the forced removal of First Nations children from their families and culture. The Apology to the Stolen Generations happened in 2008 to politically acknowledge this, but it hasn’t got better. It’s actually got worse.

White Australia is really shit at acknowledging the protests of First Nations people and people of colour in Australia… See this satirical tweet thread for examples. We’re also really, really good at denying our problems. A breakfast TV show was quoted saying that “People in Australia don’t have the understanding of the history of police killings” in the United States. Wilful ignorance, more like.

Then there’s the way we treat non-white migrants and refugees in this country. I remember well how the Victorian Liberals used racist tactics to attempt to encourage fear against ‘Sudanese youth gangs’ in 2014 in the lead-up to the state election. Thank goodness it wasn’t enough to get them re-elected – but it’s extremely telling that they tried. Also, there’s no escaping the fact that the refugees currently locked up in prison hotels or languishing offshore are predominantly non-white. Those on Manus and Nauru have been there for up to seven years with no change. Every single bloody election in Australia that I can remember has had an element of racial politics to do with “boat people”. Racism, all the way through.

So the next time something like this happens in Australia? Those of us who are protesting about the situation in the United States better bloody well be as vocal and outraged as we are now.

The other thing that’s been on my mind this weekend has been the intersection of racism and ableism that means that black disabled people and disabled people of colour are at particular risk of being subject to white-on-black violence, especially by cops. I saw a Tweet on Saturday that summed this up exactly.

“Shoutout to the black autistic people who are in even bigger danger of police brutality than other black people due to the intersection of ableism and racism. Shout out to the black autistic people who have trouble processing verbal information, who lash out when touched, who run away from loud sounds, who are non-verbal*, who have body language and stims that could be considered odd or threatening. Shoutout to the black autistic people who act, express themselves and react in ways that are considered socially inappropriate and who are in danger because of it. Your lives matter.”

Pastiche Graham, (*Note that I’ve quoted the tweet as written, but I do usually prefer the term ‘non-speaking’ to ‘non-verbal’ as it can express a bigger picture.)

This tweet put into words something I’d been thinking about in the back of my mind, especially as this week/ fortnight/ month have been pretty upsetting in terms of the treatment of disabled people in general. (Ways to be a good ally around that here.)

When I read this tweet, I thought of the students I work with at school. I can think of three off the top of my head whom I had sessions with on Friday – and as I’ve written this section I’ve thought of more still. They’re kids now – 6, 7, 8 years old. They are lovely children, full of passion and expression. In fifteen, twenty years time I can picture them as engineers or artists. However, my heart hurts for them and the others like them – because I see them in that tweet above. All are children of colour, with particular sensory and communication needs as well as specific stims. All of which are heightened when they’re distressed. Their lives have value, as does the life of every single black child and black person in the US, Australia and across the world.

The current situation of white-on-black violence can’t go on. It has to change, it has to stop. We won’t make change just by sitting politely and asking – that’s been tried before. It doesn’t work without other work that hits aggressors (fellow white people, corporations, police, the state) where it hurts, while lifting communities up.

I’m putting my money where my mouth is and have signed petitions. I’m also going to make a concerted effort to disrupt racist talk around me, which means having difficult conversations with people as required. I struggle to be assertive at times, scrambling around to express my point and often feeling like I’m coming up short in casual conversation (especially with neurotypicals!). But I have to use my privilege and try – following the lead of black people and people of colour.

I also want to try to remember to be more alert for state-sanctioned violent behaviour in my own area. If I can use my white womanhood to bear witness to it and support people, I must.

If you’re a white person reading this, I urge you to do the same and to continue doing it.

Please take care of yourselves out there, people. It’s been a traumatic week for so many. My heart hurts.

Australia is on fire. Politics suck.

Not the most cheery headline, is it?

It’s true though.

You might have noticed that, over the past few years, my angry political posts have dropped off. At the beginning of this blog, I’d post one fairly frequently. The thing is, those usually took time and resources (I like to link to others’ writings). As time’s gone on I feel like my bandwidth for that has decreased. Especially this year.

After all, writing about politics is hard when, as a progressive person, everything feels like it’s either taking a backwards step, or is just plain miserable. Writing about it too much makes me miserable too. I still get angry, but I don’t know what to do with those angry feels so it turns into anxiety about the future instead.

Fun. I’m not alone in this, I think. Knowing this is good.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m losing hope in the political system and our ability to change anything. At all.

I don’t know where we can go from here, Australia. We re-elected this tool of a government (why) and now, somehow, we have to resist them for another two years until election time again? And then what? I honestly thought that we’d turf them out this time?

I try my hardest to remember that I’m not alone in this and that “drawing together” in good supportive ways (rather than jingoistic conservative nationalistic ways) is what’s needed. Fighting together against those who want to tear away everything that matters and stop us from building a better future. But still….it’s hard.

I almost don’t want to post this, because it feels too depressing.

I’m going to go write something else to cheer myself up.

If you could choose the major virtues of society, what would they be?

Hi all.

I just read a book called Eve of Eridu. In it, a society is based on six virtues, which guide rules that have saved a portion of humanity after dark times caused by a Third World War. These rules include restrictions on feeling emotions. The book is the first in a series by Alanah Andrews and is a somewhat dark thought experiment considering the lengths people go to survive and how people can be conditioned into believing a particular way of existence. I’m a naturally emotional person and I found the book a challenge at times. I’m interested in the sequel that’s coming out this year.

Back to those virtues. I’m curious as to what six virtues you’d base your ideal society on. I found reducing the number to six quite challenging. I could only whittle mine down to nine and I’m not entirely satisfied.

  • Authenticity [Edited to add]
  • Compassion
  • Assertiveness
  • Self-determination (& self worth)
  • Creativity
  • Generosity
  • Whole intelligence (EQ & IQ)
  • Healthy individual spiritualism
  • Equitable justice & care for all people

What are yours?


I had hoped to write a bit more this week but haven’t. Today, I feel like sharing a couple of articles from Clementine Ford, Melbourne-based feminist and writer. Please read and consider them.

Men Continue to Show Themselves to be Uninterested in Women’s Lives

Clementine Ford on How Men Are Harmed by Toxic Masculinity 

Edited to add: read that reddit thread mentioned in the second article. It drives the point home very strongly. Stupid patriarchy. -_-

Here’s a picture of a kookaburra from a few weeks ago, because I feel like it.

Kookaburra sitting in a gum tree (only branches of the tree are visible, no trunk) in front of a building with covered windows.

Critical situation on Manus Island

I shared the following on my personal Facebook page on Tuesday.

“An urgent message from #Manus (Please share widely):

Please, if you are reading this, tell the Australian Government that we need urgent medical care for our Brother Abdi. 

Abdi, a Somalian man, was playing soccer on the ELRTC soccer field at 6:00pm on Friday, 27/7/18, when he collided with another man. Nothing has been done to help fix Abdi’s broken knee because there are not proper medical facilities to treat us. He can’t sleep, can’t sit well, and no staff care about him. 

Because the accident was late & the hospital has no doctor at night and because the PIH clinic is closed then too, he could not have any treatment on Friday night.
PIH clinic in the Lorengau camp is closed on the weekend. So, on Saturday, he went to Lorengau Hospital. He waited in the waiting area for 4 hours and nobody could give him any treatment. Abdi then asked for painkillers and they gave him an injection and they told him to come back on Monday for an X-ray. They said nothing can be done until Monday and that he should go back to camp. 

He came back to East Lorengau camp. He was in bad pain all night Saturday, all day Sunday and now still in terrible pain and cannot sleep.
Nothing happened to help him on Sunday.

On Monday (30/7/18) PIH said he must have an X-ray at the hospital and come back and see PIH doctor. PIH they told him, “We can’t help you until we get X-ray. Your problem is serious, but we can’t help u without X-ray” 

Abdi did go again to the hospital to ask for an X-ray but the hospital told him the X-ray machine is broken. There is nobody on Manus to fix the machine. He went back to camp, and his leg is in very terrible pain and this travelling is making it much worse. Abdi was really suffering by the time he arrived at the PIH clinic in the camp.

The doctor at PIH told him that there is nothing he can do for Abdi unless he has an X-ray. He told the doctor, “I will stay here until you solve the problem.” The doctor told the Security Guard to force Abdi to leave and to lock the door and to not let Abdi in. After guard used forceful words, Abdi went outside and the guard locked him out. 

Abdi cannot get any treatment from PIH until he has an X-ray. He cannot have an X-ray because X-ray machine is broken. There is nobody to fix the X-ray machine on Manus. We think maybe X-ray machine has been broken for a very long time. The only treatment he has been given is 20 Panadol tablets and 10 Naproxen tablets and bandage for leg. These are not helping him. See the photos to see how badly his knee is broken*.

To conclude the case for Abdi there is no sleep, no rest, no walking, no shower, hard to go toilet. He must also cook his own food because there are no food services in East Lorengau Refugee Processing Centre (ELRTC). Everything here is self-service.
Abdi needs urgent medical care.

This is very serious and urgent. We think it will take a very long time before PIH or ABF or Lorengau Hospital will help him, Maybe they will not ever help him.
Please help our friend Abdi who is in very terrible pain. Please do what you can to get him treatment. We are worried he will lose the use of his leg and never be able to walk again.


* = I’ve included one photo below from that post, you can see more here if you wish.

The situation hasn’t changed. I re-shared a post on my personal Facebook last night:

“No medical person has come to try to help Abdi. His knee is broken and now he suffered for six days with no treatment. Still no sleep, too much pain. We are very worried for him that he might lose his leg or maybe die. Please, people reading this, try to get some help for our brother Abdi who broke his knee last Friday. PIH doctors refuse to treat him because XRay machine is broken. He needs to be on medevac flight to hospital today. Please please please help him before it is too late.

See this Guardian article about the medical situation on Manus here: Manus medical neglect scandalous, doctors say

The entire Manus and Nauru situation pisses me off. I’ve written quite a lot about my feelings about it and how I think there’s a better way.

Currently, I’m pissed off about this specific situation in a number of different ways. I can’t help but remember when I dislocated my kneecap two and a half years ago. I was able to get very effective, fast treatment, with appropriate pain medication and health support, and was back to my usual activities very soon after the accident. Heck, my blog post about it was even titled, Ouch! We’re lucky to have a good health system…..“, for crying out loud!

Abdi has been in pain with a suspected broken femur for a week without treatment! How long is it going to continue?? I have serious concerns about his welfare. He needs assistance now!

In the past five years that the refugees and asylum seekers have been on Manus and Nauru, there have been several deaths due to negligence and outright brutality by the Australian government.

A government that is deliberately causing harm to people that it should be helping. Their actions are despicable.

Photo of Abdi’s leg:

dark-skinned leg that is unnaturally swollen above the knee.

what I’m doing today

So, my project meeting went well yesterday, yay! Now for the next milestone.

First though, I switch hats and for a few hours, I play the role of Choir President. My last Mid-Year Orientation Clubs Fest is here. Go LaTUCS! We have a mini performance, too. Just to show people what we’re doing.

The LaTUCS logo: a teal oval with white music notes on it, as well as three singing ducks. The ducks are white and outlined in teal, extending into the white space of the image. Below the ducks the acronym "LaTUCS" is written in bold teal font.


Also, I read an article yesterday that made me go, “ooh, wow, okay.” So I’m sharing it with you all. The Book That Redefined My Outlook On Feminism 

Quoted from the article:

“It was then I had my epiphany. I realised that feminism is actually a fight by one half of the population to be taken seriously by the other half.”

Anyone else just have that reaction?

Not quite sure it’s that simple, in terms of “two halves” and so on, but it made me think!


A few things

I’m chest-deep in project stuff atm – I have a presentation to give this arvo. So this week you’ll see little from me!

On that note: if you’re viewing this via Facebook, please consider subscribing via email. I’ve been informed that Facebook will soon stop automatically sharing my posts soon because I’ve connected this blog to my personal profile, not a page. I’m not sure what I’ll do about that. In the meantime, if you want to keep in the loop with me, subscribe, please. 🙂


A couple of links to throw your way:

Eden Riley’s latest post: she’s awesome. Check it out.

And this: get on board.

“Access to Fashion” Show

Screenshot of the image header for the event: it's purplish-mauve with white writing saying

Hi all. My friend Carly Findlay is organising a fashion show as part of Melbourne Fashion Week in September. I love the idea! Disability is very underrepresented in fashion and in the media. From the ticket link:

Access to Fashion – Disability on the Runway is a Melbourne Fashion Week event that endeavours to solve the pervasive issue of disability exclusion in the fashion industry. The event which will be comprised of a panel discussion and runway show featuring disabled models, and will emphasise the need for accessibility and authentic representation, and highlight change makers and activists within the disabled community.”

The event aims to “make a statement about disability access and inclusion” as well as showcasing “disability pride – disabled people coming together to celebrate themselves and each other”.

This is a topic close to my heart. It sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun, and tickets are cheap. Only $15 for a bit over two hours of fashion – there’ll be a parade, then some nibbles and a panel discussion. The event is accessible, with wheelchair access, Auslan or open captions and hearing loop. Buy your ticket here: 

The Melbourne Fashion Week link to the event is here: 

It’ll be held at Library at The Dock, Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands VIC, Australia.

See more information about the event on the website, here: 

Contribute to the fundraiser to help make the event a success here: (you can also contribute time, resources and sponsorship – see the main details link above!)

There’s a Facebook event too. See here.

It’s exciting!

Reblog: Top 5 tips for Living Healthily on a Budget

Check out the latest post from Jack Monroe. I might use their method to do a kitchen audit, and chat more about my thoughts about this, later…. once I’ve made more progress on my project proposal, that is. The flexible deadline is tomorrow (Friday), but given tomorrow’s schedule, I want to get as much as possible done today! So this busy bee needs to get buzzing.

Here, have a picture of one of my latest “creations”: lentils and veg in a store-bought-on-special teriyaki sauce with rice. It was quite nice actually.

On a white plate with green rim sits white rice with lentils and veg in a teriyaki sauce around it on the right side. A fork is partly visible next to the rice.

Whose Priorities?

I was sitting in class earlier today. We were talking about health priorities, on a macro level. I.e. what can governments, organisations, etc. do to increase health and wellbeing? (Rather than what can individuals do themselves?)

There are lots of different initiatives being talked about, and the whys and hows they’re meaningful. If people are interested, then look up sites like VicHealth or the National Health Priorities.

Anyway. During the break, an article about recycling caught my eye. Its basic premise is that households aren’t the biggest source of landfill in Australia – that title goes to comercial and industrial sector. So, how do we make it a “macro-level priority” to reduce waste and increase recycling in the commercial and industrial sectors?