Police chased Thomas Hickey, a 17-year-old Aborigine teenager on his bike through the streets of Sydney, Australia in February. Hickey then had an accident that caused him to fly off of his bike, impaling him on a fence.
Hickey’s parents blamed the police for chasing him, while the authorities said he was fleeing from officers who had just apprehended him.
By the night’s end, rioters were throwing rocks and gasoline bombs at cars and trains and had injured 50 police officers.
Police harassment of the Aborigine people is common and seemingly socially acceptable. Their treatment so closely resembles that of black Americans during the civil rights movement – and in the present for that matter – that they deserve our help.
A close look at some statistics about Aborigines shows parallels between the black and Aborigine communities.
According to CNN.com, the Aborigine people make up 2 percent of the Australian population, but represent 20 percent of the country’s prison population. Similarly, blacks make up 43.9 percent of the prison population in America, while comprising only 13 percent of America’s population.
The black American community knows firsthand how it feels to be neglected, abused and exploited by mainstream society.
So, aren’t we somewhat obligated to help the Aborigine people? If given the chance to help another group of people in a similar situation, why wouldn’t we give them a hand?
I propose that we start an organization in support of the Aborigines in Australia.
Not only do they need our financial support, but we could also ask prominent black lawyers to travel to Australia to help victims of police brutality fight the police legally.
It would even be great for Jesse Jackson to hold a rally in Sydney in protest of Aborigine discrimination.
Since we have extensive experience dealing with prejudice, we should aid the Aborigines in overcoming their struggle.
Sure, we have plenty of domestic issues that need to be addressed, but we should show support to all oppressed people, regardless of their country of origin.
Jeff Wright is a freshman business administration student from Chicago. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.