Let me say it: I don’t hate Aboriginals but…
Nah, just kidding.
Facts: A lot of Aboriginals having a drinking problem, a lot of Aboriginals seem to fight a lot, and
Alice Springs is the knifing capital of the world [on a
per capita basis].
Fact: Some whitefellas get very huffy and judgmental about this, as if the problem is genetic or something. They forget whitefella thugs sometimes mix pills and booze then “glass” somebody else for no reason, or that
in general has a culture that’s sometimes a little too focused on getting
pissed as if this is something only gifted over-achievers can do. Australia
Fact: Some whitefellas get very huffy and judgmental about people even talking about Aboriginal issues. If we can’t acknowledge that a lot of Aboriginals have a drinking problem, or seem to fight a lot, or that
Alice Springs is a great place
for nurses to learn about stab wounds, then how in heck are we supposed to help?
My question is this:
Why is it
out of all the world’s successful former colonies, is finding it so hard to close
the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people? Australia
What follows is not addressed to the yobbos who are just racists. Only an idiot argues with a total idiot. What follows is addressed to anyone who genuinely cares about Aboriginal welfare.
To understand how this situation came about and why it’s so hard to close the gap in such an enlightened and rich country, we don’t need to indulge in a lot of guilty breast beating. In fact, that approach is counter-productive.
Sure, our early settlers were ignorant and horrible and a product of their time, and anyone living a modern lifestyle here – including many westernised indigenous Australians – is a beneficiary of that past.
We need to acknowledge the truth openly and honestly.
But we also need to understand the reality of what is holding us back today – guilt on its own won’t change a bloody thing.
PS From here on I’m going to use the word "Aboriginal" in a politically incorrect way but only because it’s a lot less tedious than typing something like “Aboriginal,
, Tasmanian and
other Indigenous Australian” culture[s]. Torres Strait
A whitefella is any non-Aboriginal.
Today’s reality begins with understanding many aspects of Aboriginal Australia’s traditional cultures are totally incompatible with western culture.
It’s all very well to say it would be nice if we protected these cultures and kept them intact, but this is a load of impossible bollocks. Should Aboriginal children be exposed to smallpox because inoculation is not a 40,000 year old Aboriginal tradition?
I’m not for the cavalier eradication of Aboriginal culture, just for considered adaption [or adaptation depending on your own political views]. Better Aboriginal culture should adapt than disappear altogether.
While we are at it, let’s acknowledge that when we accuse someone or are accused of racist callousness because of Aboriginal living standards, today’s reality is being judged by western standards.
In other words, if you want to leave what’s left of Aboriginal culture 100% intact, stop bitching about the gap. You can't have it both ways.
Sometimes the application of western standards is appropriate. Sometimes it’s unnecessary. Personally, I’d rather sacrifice some aspects of remaining Aboriginal culture than accept today’s reality.
As a white person do I have the right to make this decision on behalf of Aboriginals?
Do I have the right not to?
Do I have the right not to?
Cultures, like people, adapt or die.
Fake boomerangs made in
and painted in ridiculous patterns and colours are not culture, they are simply
an ugly form of exploitation. Likewise the notion that all boomerangs are
supposed to come back, as if they were some kind of pre-industrial frisbee. China
My focus here is on Aboriginals in isolated [mainly desert] areas of
Australia, on fringe dwellers, and on people
from Arnhem Land. These are the peoples who
had the least contact with early invaders, and who are the most marginalised
Just what is culture, anyway?
Culture is about how we view ourselves in relation to the natural world, and to each other. What are our personal rights or our responsibilities to each other, and what should be our goals in life?
In a totally westernised and capitalistic world, the individual is responsible first and foremost to himself, and for himself. Greed [or at least some advantage] is good. Although co-operation is good, competition is more important. And SAVING is central to all of this.
In a totally traditional Aboriginal context, culture is about the natural world and “our mob” [group]. Co-operation is essential, while saving and competition are suicide.
To understand incompatibilities between Aboriginal and western cultures, and to understand why an understanding of them is essential to closing the gap, we need to understand how each evolved, and look in detail at what each culture really is.
here’s why part 2 = why whitefellas think and live the way they do
here’s why part 3 = why Aboriginals think and live the way they do