In 1986, Messagestick challenged a People Magazine article in which a Cairns police senior sergeant referred to the Cairns Aboriginal community as 'boongs
', 'coons', and 'dingoes', and claimed that 'about 90per cent of assaults and robberies in the area are committed by Blacks' (Jaragun Publishing, 1986c: 8-9).
As the Drover enters with Magarri behind him, the bartender remarks, 'No Boongs
These included: 'drunks', 'boongs
', 'got it good', 'well kept by government', 'lazy', 'welfare-dependent', 'aggressive', and 'disrespectful'.
'We're going to give you something boongs like, aren't we boys,' he said menacingly, looking to the others for approval.
No-one can be that black without being at least half boong.'
It is a journey that is also filled with unedifying anecdotes of neighbours, friends and acquaintances, including the old woman across the road who warns him not to stop if he hits any 'boongs
' (p.240) while driving in the Northern Territory, and a drunken redneck flatmate who believes that it would have been better for everyone if Aboriginal people had all been killed off by the early settlers.
They've got us stereotyped as nothing but lazy layabout boongs
, you know, and they see a Koori fella staggering down the street charged up and they say, "Oh, they're all like that," but they never stop, or pause to think, "Hey, what's made this person like this?" You can't do what has been done to a race of people without it having disastrous results.