Black Australia

aboriginal-art

As someone who has a passion for culture, I have the privilege of living and studying in a country that is home to the oldest living culture in the world.

Australia — probably one of the most beautiful countries I will ever visit. I have traveled up the west coast, to Arnhem Land, the Kimberley and the Pilbarra in Western Australia, and have spent time down in the country of Nyungar people. I have also spent time in Victoria, home to the Koori nation — crossing paths with some Wurundjeri and Yorta Yorta people. I have learned about the Dreamtime, the totems, the land, the sites, the legends, walkabouts, Wandjinas, and more. I’m amazed at the richness and complexity of both the land and the people. I take every opportunity to soak it up.

Australia — a country where I find an alarming level of social and structural intolerance. This nation has struggled with racism in a way that I, a black woman, cannot understand.racism-makes-me-sick-antar

Aboriginality is so political, and I have found myself in a unique position to explore this, more than most visitors or migrants to this country do. Having accessed a wealth of historical and health-related literature, as well as meeting and working with a number of Aboriginal educators and other dedicated and distinguished people in the area of Aboriginal health, I have come to see the vast differences between the quality of life for ‘blackfellas’ versus ‘whitefellas.’ ‘Blackness’ in Australia is far more complicated than the ‘blackness’ of my own lived experience. I do not have to live in the shadow of an extremely bleak history as many Indigenous Australians do, nor do I have to be constantly reminded of and faced with the many enormous gaps between black and white which continue to challenge every aspect of every day life.

This entry is dedicated to the Indigenous people of the country where I have spent the last two years of my life. I am so grateful for what I have been able to learn here and for the many people I have met, and most of all for the invaluable perspectives on race, culture and society that my years here have awarded me.

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King George and Nullah from the movie 'Australia.' I saw this recently and found it to be a great love story and timeless Australian epic.

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~ by misswretched on February 5, 2009.

7 Responses to “Black Australia”

  1. I watched the movie Australia after I heard the announcement by the government of Australia that they apologized for the way they treated Aboriginals. The apology seemed a little too late coming only in 2008. To be honest, I have very little knowledge about Aboriginals and I have always had a quiet fascination about their culture and their history. I have always wondered where they fit in the African Diaspora and I am curious to know how they define themselves and if they identify with Blackness the same way Africans, Caribbeans and African Americans do. I guess what also intrigues me is how racism translates in different parts of the world and how systems of oppression are set up in different regions. I just wish that there was more information and better understanding about this subject.

  2. The apology was definitely long overdue and sadly, was only recognized as an important step towards reconciliation by the newest Labor government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. What is unique for Australia (as opposed to most of Africa or the case of the enslavement of Africans to the West) is that this was a settler colony, meaning that the people who colonized this country never left — they remained here, and in some ways Aboriginal people still feel as though they continue to live in a colonizing system. In addition to totally disempowering the Indigenous people by occupying their land (which by the way has enormous spiritual, social & cultural significance and which they are now required to legally ‘claim back’ as if it was never theirs to begin with), there was also incredible disease which wiped out thousands. The Aboriginal population was reduced dramatically and there were policies which actually tried to kill them off, including the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families, an attempt at ‘assimilation.’ I would highly highly highly recommend the new series ‘First Australians’ which you can watch online at http://www.sbs.com.au/firstaustralians/ It’s a comprehensive and fascinating overview of the major historical and contemporary issues at hand (the movie ‘Australia’ does little on that part, but of course it is not a documentary). I think you will then be able to understand the system of oppression that has been applied here and be able to compare it to others that have been used against black people across the world.

  3. I think your art peaces, are apsoloutly magnificant. it makes me feal sooooo alive, thank you, from stephanie 11years of age

  4. yu hav cool aboriginal art

  5. no matter where you are from, no matter where you live, black people are the most hated race on the planet.

  6. I think this is really bad. Imagine that the blacks ruled the world the whites were most hated, wouldn’t that feel bad? My great,great grandmother is blakc and everyone treats her equally. If everyone wanted to stop the racism it would of stopped ages ago. But unfortunetly there are some real racist people out there. Its not only the blacks that are being judged by their colour its the religions as well. I myself am a muslim and the things that are being said about us is disgusting. I am more of an aussie than anyone out here. I am really disgusted.

  7. I am a teacher and have a love for all cultural art. I have seen the movie “Australia” and I won’t be able to forget it. I especially love the picture above and would love to have a copy of it for my classroom. I am also in the market for other pictures of Australia as well. nita

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