Indigenous dads respond to 'racist' cartoon in Australia

A Twitter picture of John Paul Janke Image copyright John Paul Janke

Australian Aboriginal fathers have responded to a controversial cartoon by sharing family photos on social media.

A caricature published by The Australian last week depicted an alcohol-swilling indigenous father who cannot remember his son's name.

The illustration was criticised by politicians and Aboriginals rights groups but was defended by the paper.

People are now using the hashtag #IndigenousDads to share their pride in Australian Aboriginal culture.

'Insulting and embarrassing'

Image caption Leak is one of Australia's best-known cartoonists and often courts controversy

The cartoon, by Bill Leak, was described by critics as "ugly, insulting and embarrassing".

It came amid debate about the high incarceration rates of indigenous youth and a juvenile justice system scandal.

The newspaper's editor defended its decision to publish the "confronting" cartoon and pointed out the resources it dedicates to covering indigenous affairs.

Leak described the cartoon's critics as "sanctimonious Tweety Birds having a tantrum" and published new version of the cartoon depicting himself being handed over by police to an angry social media user.

Empowering hashtag

Image copyright Ryan Griffen
Image caption Producer and director Ryan Griffen was one of many Indigenous fathers to post a picture with his son.


Thousands of Indigenous Australians have now been sharing family photos online.

Among them was Ryan Griffen, the creator of Indigenous Australian superhero television series, Cleverman.

He said the #IndigenousDads hashtag was an opportunity to talk about what it means to be an Aboriginal person.

"For me, what was really important was to empower our people and give our people a voice again," he told the BBC.

"We continue to stand up and have a voice and hashtags like Indigenous dads, they're the things that help people stand up and feel empowered."

Image copyright Jane Cattermole

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