Was typing out a response to Drago’s comment that eventually became long winded enough that I thought I’d stick in my own post rather than create another impenetrable text wall in the comments.
Anyhow Drago’s comment is below:
This pronoun usage BS is just one example of the over-reach by cat ladies in HR.
My personal bugbear is the ‘Welcome to Country’ bullshit that nearly every Corporate bigwig has adopted. It is dropped at the start of every top down meeting and have even seen it used in training sessions.
I really have a problem with this, at a number of levels (queue unsurprised groans).
Firstly I have ask the question “What are we actually saying here?” What does it mean? And by that I don’t mean the literal words, I’ll get to those later, I mean what motivation for saying it?
Is it lip service? Something people are just saying simply to signal their virtue?
This is actually imho the worst possible reason for someone to say the Welcome to Country. I don’t actually mind the W2C when it is spoken by an indigenous Australian in the context of some indigenous Australian issues. Even though I don’t agree with it, I can understand and tolerate their belief and motivation in saying it.
But when someone, especially a none indigenous person says it simply to attach the virtue upon themselves, then I start to have issues. To me that is probably one of the worst forms of cultural appropriation – and despite many people saying it with genuine feeling, it is inevitable that a certain percentage will say it for their own cynical advancement.
But if W2C isn’t just lip service (which it will be for a certain number of people) what is it?
Is it a moral belief that indigenous Australians are owed this statement before every gathering more than 10 people as a form of national reconciliation?
If so it is a faith based motivation in saying – I’m sorry but Unions fought for years to remove religion and faith based decision making from the workforce. We don’t say prayers before a meeting. We don’t tolerate calling to prayers? WTF should we tolerate the W2C?
Maybe people saying it, genuinely believe the indigenous Australians are our traditional custodians of the land?
If this is the case then this is a political statement. The fact is many parts of Australia have had native title extinguished. I should not have to tolerate going to a work training session and being told to give praise to elders, past and present, who are not my own. It was normal during the Chinese Cultural revolution for workers to chant out political slogans – is this what we have come to?
The fact is, in a corporate setting and unless spoken by an indigenous Australian in the context of some indigenous issue, the W2C is a Purity Statement.
Our unions fought for years to make the work place both secular and free of political partisanship. These W2C statements are lead by everyone from training supervisors to CEOs – they are purity statements.
Purity statements are a subtle means of getting groups to adhere to top down morality codes – if you don’t agree with the statement, especially if it is fervently spoken by the boss, then you are morally questionable. They are social filters designed to socially isolate people with different political or moral beliefs. Purity statements are wrong and have no place in our workplace.
So that is my objection from a democratic, moral and ethical position. We don’t say prayers before meetings. We don’t chant political statements. We should not be saying the W2C – it is wrong.
My other obvious objection is in respect to the offence it causes my in regards to my cultural identity. I am 7th generation on my Father’s side. I am 5th generation on my Mother’s side. I have never known any living relative in my life who was an immigrant – my identity is as a Colonial Australian.
The W2C literally forces me to acknowledge someone else as having ownerhip of the land I was born to, and the nation that my ancestors created and which we now all collectively enjoy today. The W2C forces me to standby and effectively disown and disregard my own cultural history, and instead have praise misdirected to a sacred cow that is both to be praised and honored, yet completely lacks any agency of its own in these discussions. There are many indigneous Australians who also have issues with the W2C being used by possum skin wearing pseudo indigneous:
But the fact is that arguably Australia as we know and enjoy it today owes nearly everything to the people who did the hard work of nation building – every city and institution that gives us shelter and security, grew out of their efforts. No other group that exists today in Australia, before or since, is owed a greater debt of gratitude than Colonial Australians.
If we are to accept that we are in a MultiCultural society – WTF is my cultural identity pushed to last? The W2C instead redirects all the credit for what we enjoy today, to our indigenous Australians, as though we are living in their Wakanda.
The fact is I don’t demand for recognition of my own Cultural Identity and Heritage to be acknowledged before every meeting and training session, because we are now supposed to be a MultiCultural society, where every culture represented here is supposedly meant to be first among equals. Now flipping the switch and saying “Well actually we need to recognise this one special culture.” completely flies in the face of our supposed egalitarianism.
This is the most toxic progressive meme currently trending in Australian. The W2C statement’s needs to end in both a Corporate setting and many other settings, because it is a purity statement and they are wrong to have these in the workplace and wrong to be normalised in our society.