No, me neither. Until Crikey.
As Bob Gosford points out in his piece in Crikey, when hundreds of Aboriginal men get together we’re just not interested in reporting on them unless they’re doing something bad.
The Stop the Violence march and rally had all the ingredients of a good news story; hundreds of men and boys chanting “Stop the violence!” as they marched shoulder-to-shoulder down the main street of town, impassioned speeches by community leaders and an inspiring and all-too-rare display of common goodwill and purpose to mend the heart of a broken town.
But apart from brief coverage on local ABC TV and radio and a short grab on the Nine network via its local affiliate station Imparja, the event received no coverage in any print or electronic media anywhere.
OK, so I live in a big city a long way from Alice Springs and you could easily argue that this story was just too local for big news. But then, we sure manage to fit plenty of negative coverage of Aboriginal men into our news.
As Human Rights Commissioner Tom Calma said in April 2008 with particular reference to the vilification of Aboriginal men by politicians and the media in the context of the Howard/Brough NT Intervention…:
“Over the last 18 months we’ve seen sustained media coverage of child abuse and family violence, but we’ve rarely seen or heard how indigenous people and communities across Australia are taking positive steps to respond to this violence, abuse and neglect.”
I really love images of men standing up in opposition to violence against women (and other men) and I just couldn’t let a fantastic photo like the one above go by. I would argue that these kinds of images make everyone feel better, not only women, and certainly not just black men – surely all men get a lift out of seeing men do good, out of feeling a sense of solidarity in opposing violence?