All is not as it seems for our Aboriginal people. Recently, I’ve been confronted by my own racist tendencies and apprehension towards Australia’s Indigenous people. I would never have called myself racist by any stretch, but being honest, that’s exactly what I’ve been. I was listening to this podcast on race and it reminded me how far I’ve come. I found myself connecting with the issues discussed and nodding in agreement. And even though the podcast is from an American perspective, there are many similarities with our own story in Australia.
Over the past few months, I’ve been invited on an amazing journey where I’ve seen first hand the wounds inflicted on Aboriginal people and how it has deeply affected them. When I talk about this issue with people there are often one of two reactions: one, why don’t they just get over it? or two, a queried look of ‘I didn’t know there was any issue?’
I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as a social justice warrior, but I found myself in a situation where my proximity to Aboriginal people closed dramatically and I was having long conversations with Indigenous people about their story and perspective. It’s fair to say, I’m now looking at this issue with a whole new outlook.
I’ve learnt through hearing Aboriginal stories and an increased understanding of Australian history, that what we have been taught at school and through the media
There is more to the story than what we have been told. And the story of Australia’s birth from colonisation onwards is not all as it seems. And that thousands of Aboriginal people have died at the hands of white settlers. And there has been serious injustice toward Aboriginal people for a long time. And that more money and handouts
It’s a complex issue, I get that, but staying quiet and not engaging the conversation is not going to be helpful. Frankly, there is much more we can do to further understand the history of Australia. But it all starts with a posture of humility. A desire to learn and listen, and not jump to conclusions. It’s hard to ignore the fact that something is not quite right with the way Australia was settled, and yet through choice, we remain ignorant.
We can’t do anything to change the past, but we can do something about making things right for the future. And instead of jumping to solutions assuming we have all the answers, we’d do well to slow down and listen.
To do that, take a look at this video as your starting point.