Australian dream, Twitter nightmare
Former CNN journalist Stan Grant has stepped away from ABC presenting duties because of persistent racist trolling online. He was a terrific guest on the the Speakola podcast.
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This is the the article Stan Grant, award winning journalist, Q&A host, Wiradjuri man, Speakola podcast guest, posted on ABC online on Friday. It begins:
There's a photo of me, one of the few school photos I have. I am seven years old, the darkest face in the class in 1970s white Australia.
I look scared. I'm not smiling. My hands are clasped tight. My uniform doesn't match. Unlike the other boys I have no tie. There's a stain on my second-hand jumper.
I look for the world like I don't belong.
I don't know that I have ever changed from that boy. These past weeks I have been taken right back there.
It’s an upsetting article, especially the lack of support Stan Grant says he has received from the ABC;
I am writing this because no one at the ABC — whose producers invited me onto their coronation coverage as a guest — has uttered one word of public support. Not one ABC executive has publicly refuted the lies written or spoken about me. I don't hold any individual responsible; this is an institutional failure.
As I said in the tweet, and in the podcast episode featuring him, I think he’s a man of rare talent, especially as an orator. He’s regularly accused of bias from both sides of the political spectrum, which is not a bad thing in a Q&A host. And his 2015 ‘Australian Dream’ speech is nothing short of a masterpiece, one of the great speeches in Australian history.
In the podcast episode, Stan Grant talked about racial abuse, the booing of Adam Goodes, and how racist abuse can make a person feel. He also explains the circumstances of the IQ2 debate, the differences between speaking in a formal debate and constructing a regular speech, and says that this was almost entirely ad libbed. It’s an extraordinary piece of oratory, and went around the world.
I’ll post the full transcript below for paid subscribers, or visit it on Speakola. The toxic environment on Twitter and other social media is such a problem in today’s world. My thoughts are with Stan and family.
Stan Grant: 'But every time we are lured into the light, we are mugged by the darkness of this country's history', Ethics Centre IQ2 debate - 2015
27 October 2015, City Recital Hall, Sydney, Australia
This speech was delivered in an IQ2 debate with the topic, 'Racism is destroying the Australian dream'. Also for the affirmative was Pallavi Sinha. For the negative was Jack Thompson and Rita Panahi. The full debate is here.
Thank you. Thank you so much for coming along this evening, and I'd also like to extend my respects to my Gadigal brothers and sisters from my people, the Wiradjuri people.
In the winter of 2015, Australia turned to face itself. it looked into its soul and it had to ask this question. Who are we? What sort of a country do we want to be.
And this happened in a place that is most holy, most sacred to Australians. It happened on the sporting field, it happened on the football field. Suddenly the front page was on the back page, it was in the grandstand.
Thousands of voices rose to hound an indigenous man, a man who was told he wasn’t Australian, a man who was told he wasn’t Australian of the Year.
And they hounded that man into submission.
I can’t speak for the what lay in the hearts of the people who booed Adam Goodes. But I can tell you what we heard when we heard those boos.
We heard a sound that is very familiar to us.
We heard a howl.
We heard a howl that of humiliation has echoes across two centuries of dispossession, injustice, suffering and survival.
We heard the howl of the Australian dream, and it said to us again, you’re not welcome.
The Australian dream.
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