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Black and White Australia

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10 years 7 months ago #1 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Black and White Australia was created by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Like "Crime and Punishment", this is an interesting discussion topic from the Soapbox area of The40PlusClub.

Black and White Australia. What are the problems ? What are the solutions ?

Heard yesterday on the news that newly-appointed Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson, may be interested in the concept of changing the date for observing Australia Day, on the basis that some in the indigenous community believe that January 26 represents "Invasion Day".

To me, here's a good example of problem #1. We cannot move forward by living in the past. If there happened to be living today, an indigenous person who happened to be standing on the shore when the First Fleet arrived in Sydney on January 26 1788, I would unhesitatingly offer my apologies to that person for the changes that white settlement made to his/her life.

We gotta move on. There's no future in being a "victim". There's work to do on BOTH the black and white sides of Australia to get things fixed.

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10 years 7 months ago - 10 years 7 months ago #2 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Black and White Australia
That's a broad-ranging discussion topic you've started, George: what are the problems and what are the solutions to the so-called "black and white Australia" problem. I also happen to think that Mick Dodson's comments yesterday were obviously calculated to draw attention to the many unresolved issues, the continuing injustices and problems confronting indigenous Australians and, by making those comments, Prof. Dodson probably made himself a problem "issue", too.

However, I agree with your conclusion, George, that there's no future in being a "victim" but, I'd like to add, there's probably no future in continuing to stigmatise the "offender" either. I agree that a lot of non-indigenous Australians are to blame for the appalling treatment of indigenous Australians. It's fair to say that a lot of this mistreatment began with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. However I don't know whether it's fair to "commemorate" the event that happened two hundred and twenty-one years ago as an "invasion" that marked the start of a period of occupancy by foreigners who have no legitimate rights to live here. Nor is it something that the great-great-great-great-geat-geat-grandchildren of the first european "invaders" should have to feel guilt, shame or the need to atone for the sins of their ancestors in that time.

These are difficult questions. It's also difficult to know whether Prof. Dodson should have used his position as Australian of the Year to try to open old wounds instead of trying to heal them; I'm not sure (as I haven't fully looked into what he said) what was his purpose in trying to convert a day of celebration, a day of pride in our accomplishments as a free and freedom-loving people, into a day when we should look back on our history with shame and regret. I think his comments were ill-timed, ill-advised and unfortunate. Instead of using his unique position and his newly-awarded prestige to unite, his comments (as I interpreted them) were an embarrassment to him, to the position of Australian of the Year, and an embarrassment to us all.

More later ...

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 10 years 7 months ago by sozzled.

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10 years 7 months ago #3 by Tushy
Replied by Tushy on topic Black and White Australia
here we go again lolol

I agree, wasnt the right time or place to be bringing up stuff like that by the Aus of the year -- and of course, the media just love it..

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10 years 7 months ago #4 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Black and White Australia
I actually reckon that changing the date to mark Australia Day is a worthwhile discussion to have. I read somewhere yesterday a suggestion that the date be moved to the date (whenever it was, I can't recall) in 1967, when the referendum on aboriginal citizenship of Australia passed with flying colours.

Are the events that took place on 26 January 1788 actually a cause for truly national celebration ? What actually happened on that day ? A bunch of people England didn't want got transported here.

Just my thoughts.

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10 years 7 months ago #5 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Black and White Australia
In the previous message in this thread, I wrote:

"....Are the events that took place on 26 January 1788 actually a cause for truly national celebration ? What actually happened on that day ? A bunch of people England didn't want got transported here....."

Just did a quick Google search on Australia Day, significance, and came up with the following link and information

www.australiaday.vic.gov.au/misc_faq.asp

"......1. Why do we celebrate Australia Day?

Australia Day marks the anniversary of Captain Arthur Phillip unfurling the British flag at Sydney Cove and proclaiming British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia on 26 January 1788. On Australia Day, we celebrate what's great about Australia, ......"

In the context of a national day of celebration, then, does January 26 fill the bill ?

What do you reckon ??

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10 years 7 months ago - 10 years 7 months ago #6 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Black and White Australia
I don't think it's appropriate to change Australia Day to commemorate the passing of [one question of] the twenty-fifth referendum to amend the Australian Constitution any more than we should celebrate any of the seven other referendums that Australians have approved of. If we were to celebrate an occasion when this country came together as a nation, perhaps we should commemorate the date when Australia's six states federated? That event took place on 1 January 1901. It would therefore, perhaps, be more appropriate to celebrate Australia Day on 1 January each year.

It might be possible to observe 26 January to reflect upon the turbulence of the times when indigenous Australians suffered from the neglect, disrespect, institutionalised prejudice and corrupted treatment by [predomininatly white] Australians. However, I think it's a great pity that Australians, indigenous and non indigenous, must seem to be harbouring grudges against one another.

The same feelings of antipathy, bordering on hatred, towards the white "invaders" are felt by some indigenous communities in the USA when they celebrate Columbus Day. Native americans see Columbus Day as the time that marked when, 500 years ago, their country was invaded by europeans. I know that it's difficult to draw parallels between native americans and indigenous Australians, but how long do these kinds of barriers have to exist? What about the more recent invasions, such as the dispossessing of Palestinians by Israelis?

Most countries on this planet have been "invaded" at one time or another and, in most places in the world, the new settlers became assimilated with the original inhabitants. In some cases there remained a sense of conquerors vs. conquered but I think that enmity dissipates within a few generations. It's true that both original inhabitants and the newcomers "lose" certain elements of their identities as a part of a growing assimiliation. It's called progress.

I mean, one could bemoan the fact that you can't get full driveway service at petrol stations these days, or you can't go to a drive-in movie, or you can't get a video hire card without having a 100-point identity check. I'm sorry. That's "progress" too.

The world changes. Some people will never get "used to" the way things are and some people want to change things too quickly. Perhaps, in a generation, Mick Dodson might get his wish. Perhaps, within a generation, we might become a republic and get rid of the monarchy as our system of government. But for now, at least, it's going to take a lot of work to convince people that there's a need to change our traditions.

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 10 years 7 months ago by sozzled.

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10 years 7 months ago #7 by Tushy
Replied by Tushy on topic Black and White Australia
well said Sozz - I think what has happened up to now is just fine - trying to move things too fast isnt the way to go

Let the dust settle and eventually Australia will do something to stand alone - the 'Republic' - then the steps will be taken to make it that special day..

Same as Canada did with their 'Canada Day'

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10 years 6 months ago #8 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Black and White Australia
Glanced at a piece in my newspaper this morning. The latest idea attributed to Mick Dodson is to have all aboriginal children in Australia attending school within the next 12 months. Truancies from school to be tied to the payment of social security benefits.

To this, I say, great.

But, I have to also say that I'm fast getting towards being "over" the whole black/white issue in Australia. I'm running out of enthusiasm, patience, care. I believe that it's way past time for black Australia to come up with a unified voice. What does it want ? What are its aspirations ? These things need to be communicated to white Australia.

Time for black Australia to stop being the victim.

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10 years 6 months ago #9 by Memsahib
Replied by Memsahib on topic Black and White Australia
Hi George

While I partly agree with you - people choose to take the role of victim - how do you change the mind set of such a large number of people? Remember that many of our indigenous population actually live in the cities as part of the population without even being noticed because they are part of the "typical" Australian population.

The issues arise, I think, with those in rural areas who have too little to do and no need to do it (ie, handouts, so no need to work) and some who are living in small ghetto-like areas in some of our cities. But how can we assist those people to take charge of their own lives and get on with it? Let's face it, thinking of onesself as a victim can and does occur in every culture to a greater or lesser extent.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Mem

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10 years 6 months ago #10 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Black and White Australia
Me again, Mem'.

Just wanted to quickly add that I think the time has come for white Australia to stop telling/suggesting/advising black Australia what it needs. Time to hand that responsibility over. Time for black Australia to organise itself. Help, of course, from white Australia in working through these processes, where help is requested

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