Video blogger and Friendlyjordies star Jordan Shanks has released his take on the Australia Day debate in a video called "The Truth About #ChangeTheDate". After uploading it to Facebook yesterday, it’s already been viewed well over 100 thousand times at the time of writing.
Shanks’ argument is simple: change it or don’t change it, but don't let the "Twitter-addicted social rejects" at BuzzFeed and Pedestrian be your moral guide on the issue. Or as Jordan put it, “If the date gets changed… mad. If it isn’t changed… mad. Either way, I’m watching the fireworks.”
Every year the debate about changing our national day to be more inclusive divides Australians. In terms of media coverage, Junkee, MamaMia, BuzzFeed and the ABC published criticisms of celebrating Australia Day on January 26, backed by excoriating condemnations in Tweet form from the individual accounts of their writers. But as Shanks points out, their moral and ethical leadership in this area is hardly the brave activism they dress it up to be – it’s one hundred percent about branding.
In 2016, this year’s most vocal critics of the January 26 date were conspicuously mute on the plight of Indigenous Australians. Instead, they published party guides and ‘fun’ word games. Pedestrian even hosted their own (very, very white) sponsored event. Funny how little they mentioned Aboriginal people only two years ago.
That’s because they don’t really give a damn about indigenous issues. They are jumping on the change date bandwagon only when it became commercially convenient for them to do so.
The transparency of their expedience on the issue is made glaringly obvious, when again, in Shanks’ video (you should really watch this video) he points to the funding Junkee and Pedestrian receive from big banks. The same big banks that invest heavily in the fossil fuels industry that routinely dispossesses indigenous peoples from all around the world of their land. Apparently, that’s fine – but don’t dare enjoy a sausage sizzle this Friday – that would make you a Bad Person.
The moral of the story is: whether you want the day changed or you want it to stay the same, don’t let the shouty killjoys in the media, who don’t give a shit about indigenous issues and are doing only what’s most commercially convenient for their organisations, influence how you feel.
Or as Shanks puts it, “Fuck off Surry Hills and Ultimo.”
And finally, here’s the actual video:
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