Racism and parrots

To: Debbie Lustig <>
Subject: Racism and parrots
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2010 14:10:43 +1100
I suspect (unfortunately) that you are right Debbie, although it is
difficult sometimes to express an opinion in ways which cannot be

For what it's worth, my views are simple:

   1. If a landholder wants to charge me to access his/her/their land then
   so be it - that is one of the privileges on owning land. There are many
   occasions (e.g. sports grounds) when we accept this without question.
   2. If people can make money out of bird watchers then that is potentially
   good - it sets a value on the birds (and the associated environment) and
   thus may help in resisting demands for other developments which would
   adversely affect the birds. This is certainly true in many countries where
   "eco tourism" plays a role in helping to protect remaining rainforests - it
   may be less relevant in this case.
   3. We can all choose how we spend our money (and as others have pointed
   out this amount is probably less than others spend to fly to Christmas
   Island or elsewhere to twitch a bird that is not even a native!). I am sorry
   I missed the chance to participate as I have just got back from birding
   overseas. The market will set the right price in the end!

On 1 December 2010 13:44, Debbie Lustig <> wrote:

> I have been reading people's opinions about the money being charged to see
> Princess Parrots and can hold off no longer. There is an underlying racism
> that lurks, a nasty little secret, beneath the comments of many. How else to
> explain well-meaning discussions along these lines (and I paraphrase):
> 'If it teaches them - Indigenous people - to run birding tours then I
> approve' (for our - whitefellas' - benefit, of course);
> 'If they share the money among their community then I approve' (since when
> were Europeans called upon to share their profits with their communites?);
> 'They've been given enough money already so I don't approve'
> (over-simplifying an unbelievably complex situation); and
> 'If they can get that sort of money, let them try (but I don't approve)'.
> These sentiments imply a superiority and moral high ground we simply don't
> possess. They are more offensive for being subtle.
> People have also objected to the traditional owner's scruples about (white)
> birders running around on his land, when we don't have a clue what it means
> to be custodians of the land. To protect the animals, birds and plants; to
> have a spiritual connection; to be diminished when the land is trampled on
> and ignorantly invaded.
> Look at how we have managed custody of our own (stolen) lands, here in our
> cities and degraded, agricultural areas - we know only how to exploit.
> I am fed up with reading this correspondence, couched in economic terms but
> informed by ugly, masked racism. From now on, could it be limited to the
> facts?
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