Liz Cambage tells Australians 'check out of America' to fix 'blood on our hands' back home

Las Vegas Aces star Liz Cambage called out the hypocrisy of those posting about Black Lives Matter in her native Australia during a raw, emotional post on her Instagram story on Thursday.

Cambage, an Australian national team player, lit into people who posted in solidarity with those protesting George Floyd’s death in the United States. She detailed the issues with race in her home country and how people should be focused on fixing it in their own back yard before racing to get involved elsewhere.

“We have blood all over our hands, Australia,” Cambage said in the Instagram story. “We are covered in it. And you don’t even understand why. How dare people say Black Lives Matter. How f---ing dare you people say that when we have the darkest, most twisted, most disgusting past when it comes to Indigenous Australians and the treatment of Indigenous Australians.”

“How dare you Australia,” Cambage said. “How dare you. How dare you focus your attention on America.”

Cambage details struggle of being black in Australia

Australian's pivot Liz Cambage looks on during the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament match between Australia and Puerto Rico, on February 8, 2020, at the Prado stadium in Bourges, Center France. (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP) (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP via Getty Images)
Liz Cambage called out people of her native Australia for not caring about racism at home. (GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP via Getty Images)

Cambage explained that she was born in London to a Nigerian father and white Australian mother. She said it was difficult growing up in Australia and she would “make myself whiter” by doing things like wearing blue contact lenses.

“This past week has had me really, really confused and really, really shook,” Cambage said. “This week has brought a lot of trauma up. All the s--- I dealt with growing up. The name calling, being left out of things because no one wants to play with the black girl. ... It’s been a lot.”

She said she didn’t learn her own identity or her worth until she moved to the U.S. at the age of 19 to play in the WNBA. She realized she views the U.S. as home and had given up on her country.

“I had so much shame about it, giving up on my country and race issues in this country,” she said. “I’m tired. I’m tired.”

She said she heard racial slurs at a party recently and overhears rude racially related comments. A few months ago, a police officer stopped her while she was parking her car outside her home, she said, and asked what she was doing.

(Warning: language)

Australia’s history of racism

Indigenous Australians are those who lived in the country before British colonization and their descendants. They are generally dark skinned. The group is divided into two distinct and diverse groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A piece by Chelsea Bond at The Conversation goes into detail on Australia’s “indifference” to them and their native land as part of a “Black Lives Matter Everywhere” series.

Since 1991, more than 432 Indigenous people have died in police custody, per a piece this week at The Conversation. Only a handful are referred to coroners and families are generally silenced.

Some protesters have taken the opportunity to draw comparisons between the U.S. and Australia.

But many, Cambage said, seem to be acting as if they care but really don’t want to fix what is happening in their own home land.

‘Delete the black square’

Cambage took issue with people posting the black square to their social media accounts on Tuesday for #BlackoutTuesday. It began as a stand taken by the music industry, but ended up being individuals showing “support” and at times blocking critical modes of communication.

“Until I see more diversity and more inclusion in this country, you do not care about black lives. Go delete the square. And if you really care about black lives, go report that officer from the other day that threw that kid to the ground. If you care.

“Check out of America, Australia, because we have s--- we need to sort right here. We have blood on our hands, we have blood on our hands and we need to fix it.”

She took a snippet of her story and posted it to her Instagram page with details about protests, vigils and meetings all over Australia. She asked people to “pull up or shut up.”

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