We recently had one of the more humorous experiences we have ever come up against in our lives in regards to skin colour. It was a question of race, or more appropriately one of skin colour. Racial identity has become a very blurred issue since the arrival of the interactive global community and this particularly in Australia where we have something of a melting pot.
Australia has always been part of Asia, no one just moved the place here… the land has always been here and despite being a country where our natural skin colour should be brown-black, we are governed by what is seen as a largely white skinned democracy. This statement in itself blurs the lines of reality. It is a theology rather than a fact. Parliament is supposed to be dominated by our representatives even if it would seem women don’t live in Australia anymore if you go by the number count.
Does the question of race really exist anymore? No doubt for some trapped in an economic socio-merry-go-round it seems to. But in the broader view, is it at all really relevant?
But first, let me recount what happened so you can understand where I am coming from.
We were buying petrol (gas) no less and a few other commodities at a servo’. It was that quiet space between dawn and day where shadows are long and it is too light for the electric glare of nightlights. Hubby, who is a deeper shade of brown to my poka-dot complexion approached the automatic doors to the servo’ and they didn’t open!
We could see people inside, we had watched others come and go through those same doors only seconds before and yet, they resolutely remained closed. He did a dance, hotfooted it about and was watched by others, viewed as being something of a nutter for his actions but no one but he and I saw what was really happening. Those doors just didn’t open.
It was a shock … the doors didn’t see him at all. He was that all over shade of dark in the clothes he wore, the skin colour he was and the lack of recognizable colour. Deeply complexed he stood while I realized that this was what racism felt like albeit a small example. Doors do not open, he wasn’t recognized as a person with a need to be seen and recognized.
Now this was not a question of race, but tone or colour. Because he was of a particular tone these doors had assumed he didn’t have a need, they didn’t see him. I have come up against racism many times. My old man, my dad was something of a racist but I loved him none the less and we often argued the point. He had known uncles who had fought the Japanese and died, many suffering greatly throughout their lives through the deeds of a war they were once very much a part of. To say he found it hard to overcome his prejudices is an understatement. I still loved him and miss him terribly but he was what he was and his opinion was valid, although out-dated by more recent times.
I have come to realise that many opinions are out-dated, but equally valid in Australia, like the opinions of many Aboriginal Aussies (those of Aboriginal descent) who have experience of racism albeit via their parents or forbearers’ experience. When we support prejudices that have been taught to us, or which we have developed because of some one else’s experience we run the risk of being out-dated in our opinions. Uninformed is another way to say this, or even irrelevant.
It doesn’t help that our education system in regards to Australian history is so extremely lacking. For those who haven’t seen this themselves, our Aussie History in the eyes of our educators is not relevant unless it is European or British opinion. It is as though Australian historians have to be of the English opinion before they are even viewed as being Australian historians. Even though today most of the Australian population (60%) is of European descent (not English) we are forcing our children to learn English based history. Given that there are over half a million of Aboriginal descent in a population of around 20 million (1 million of us don’t actually live in Aus.) and ¾ of us Aussies are actually born here it is shocking that we must learn English history as mandatory when dealing with the history of colonization, let alone be taught that it is our history. It is not even the history of the majority of people that make up our Nation!
Despite popular belief, Australia is only just over 100 yrs old. It was constituted on 9th July 1900 and we don’t celebrate this day. Maybe this is a good thing and we aren’t ready for this, because this would be a celebration for ALL AUSSIES regardless of our cultural heritage and we have a need to get there yet in our minds as being unified as a Nation. I live in hope.
Australian day, which is the 26th January is a celebration of the colonial penal outpost and its success in the penal fleet of convicts and gaolers arriving here from the other side of the world. It was hardly a ‘war fleet’ bent on invasion as is often suggested. They were just damn happy to have the feet on the ground and they threw a blood big party on that day, and in a point forced the colonial government to commemorate the day annually some years later.
We have some terrible history in the push to colonize Australia, murders and crimes of passion and revenge, which inhabit the history of what we now call Colonial Australia. It is a history where whitefella’s and blackfella’s together tracked down and often murdered tribal Aboriginal Australians in the push for land and survival. I can’t see that it was ever a War between races, or indeed ever one war but more often a continuing tragic skirmish throughout colonial times between cultures and it should be recognized as such despite popular opinion in turning the gradual colonization of Australia into a endemic racial issue. If you want racist… look to the ‘White Australia Policy’ of old. That was truly a racist abomination which was seen eventually for what it truly was.
So what did hubby do when, because of his colouring the doors would not open? He laughed at the absurdity of it… approached a white skinned guy pumping petrol and they then laughed at it. It was truly comic … the other guy approached the doors and magically they slid open and together they stepped through them. Neither of them accepted that the doors could possibly be in any way right. They were simply, ignorant of reality and deeply flawed in their actions.
A lesson for the future.
Australia needs a Constitution that treats all Australians Equally! Did you know the following about our Constitution?
The Current Constitution is RACIST and should be changed – from Youtube
- Do You Own the Land … Or Does the Land Own You (janhawkinsau.wordpress.com)
- 3 Most Significant Events in Australian History (competitioncrazy.com)
- First aboriginal woman wins Australian parliament seat; campaign brought racism (ctvnews.ca)
Jan Hawkins – Author
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