January 25, 2013

What to call January 26?

I'm sorry but I just can't stomach Australia Day. And not just for the obvious reason that it commemorates the day that British people claimed about 7.6 million square kilometres of Aboriginal land to be their own because a few blokes sailed into Sydney, made camp and stuck a flag in the ground.

For me, it's a day that will forever be tainted by the 2005 Cronulla Race riots. I don't think I've done anything to celebrate Australia Day ever since. It wasn't just the shocking images of the events on that day that disturbed me. What affected me more deeply was John Howard saying in response that he "does not accept that there is underlying racism in this country". What a display of leadership! (As well as being total BS).

So ever since, I've avoided celebrating Australia Day like the plague. Okay, some might say that makes me a party pooper and a bit full of myself. But I just can't.

But what I can do is find enjoyment in other ways. Last year, this awesome bit of standup comedy amused me no end. This year, I'm enjoying discovering alternative names for January 26:

  • Invasion Day - probably the most well-known alternative
  • Citizen's Day - a suggestion apparently related to Mick Dodson pointing out that many find Australia Day offensive in 2009 while he was Australian Of The Year. The idea of calling it Citizen's Day didn't go far. Unless you check out the worst of right-wing social media who seem to think that the name change is nigh on being made official.
  • Amnesia Day - I forget why this name was suggested... something about people forgetting it was a public holiday and going to work?
  • Stay-at-home-cause-you're-not-a-bogan Day - my new personal fave.

And I just thought of a new version of that last one: today I asked a friend if he wanted to go for a drink this weekend. Being non-Anglo and having experienced plenty of racism in his time, his swift response was "I'm not going out this weekend". So a new alternative name for Jan 26 is:

  •     Stay-at-home-cause-you're-not-Anglo Day

What do you reckon? Do you like any of these alternatives or have you come across any other good-uns yourself?


T said...

I'm always conflicted about Australia Day. On the one hand, there are so many problematic things like the ones you mentioned in your post. But on the other hand, Australia Day was always the only truly happy holiday my family had. Christmas and Easter were always just fights between different people, but on Australia Day we just spent the day with family friends, listened to the hottest 100 and ate good food.

Australia Day is also a day that I didn't get yelled at/abused for being a 'bogan'. Growing up in a caravan park with a single mum without much money in hand-me-down clothes I so often got crap about being a bogan, being stupid or racist just because we didn't have much money and spoke with a broad accent. Now that I've moved away for University and adopted a more cultivated accent I rarely get that sort of thing directed at me, but Australia day still has that feeling of safety for me.

Perez said...

I'm calling it Bogan Christmas and hoping that it catches on.

Chris Skinner said...

Australia day can be positive about things like Mateship, friendship, helping others and being a good sport, that's what it is for me.

Jo Henselwood said...

My mate wrote a really nice positive post about Aus Day "Although l cringe at the sight of cape wearing bogans and the Southern Cross tattooed across feet....Happy Australia Day. Proud of this countries cultural diversity and the hope of reconciliation. Enjoy!"

Also, my Aunty calls it Survival Day. Both allow people who despise the racism that arises on the day to celebrate the good parts of being an Aussie.

nginarra said...

Love and appreciate the comments guys. :-)