First copy of Comfort Food. Lots of feelings. pic.twitter.com/zsrUqquQxC— Ellen van Neerven (@EllenvanNeerven) April 12, 2016
Education authorities in Australia were left "appalled" after a bunch of racist high school students in Australia racially abused an award-winning indigenous poet.
Ellen van Neerven was targeted after one of her poems, "Mango," was featured in a final-year exam question.
Of the many racist posts targeting van Neerven, who won the Queensland Literary Award in 2013, one depicted the indigenous author as a monkey.
Year 12 students are posting racist memes about Indigenous poet Ellen Van Neerven on FB after her poem was in this year’s English exam. pic.twitter.com/X8np1GBIVc— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) October 16, 2017
Video from HSC students with "diss track" aimed at Ellen van Neervan & her poem, "mango": "Ellen can catch a clip full from a pistol." pic.twitter.com/tN3nMe8I5m— brad esposito (@braddybb) October 16, 2017
“We were asked to analyze your mango f****d poem — and I’m asking what the fuck was the point of your mango bullshit,” read a message directed at van Neerven was posted on a HSC discussion forum.
The poem, and question. pic.twitter.com/qOR1h2NK72— Michael McGowan (@mmcgowan569) October 16, 2017
"I am appalled by the abuse of the author," said NSW Education Standards Authority chief David de Carvalho in the wake of the racist abuse. "This is a completely inappropriate response and I hope those involved see fit to apologize to Ms. van Neerven."
Other authors rushed to van Neerven's support:
Students "venting" about Ellen must already know that "venting" is chatting to your friends, not @-ing an author on their personal accounts.— Michelle Law ?? (@ms_michellelaw) October 16, 2017
Lots of HSC/Year 12 students studying authors' work are abusing those authors online. Teachers/parents, please tell kids this ain't cricket.— Benjamin Law ?? (@mrbenjaminlaw) October 16, 2017
Hey @NSWEducation, poet Ellen van Neervan is being abused online by students because one of her poems is in the HSC. Please investigate this— Omar Sakr (@OmarjSakr) October 16, 2017
Kid asked me yesterday: how is it my business? It's my business because @EllenvanNeerven is a real person & she's my friend & a great poet.— Eileen Chong (@ascesise) October 16, 2017
Melissa Lucashenko, an award-winning First Nations author, told BuzzFeed News such abuse against indigenous authors is not uncommon.
“I’m not at all surprised at these children who think and act in this way, because we’ve got an attorney-general who has explicitly given the green light to this," Lucashenko said. "He’s said people have the right to be bigots."