Thursday, 4 April 2013

Who is more Aboriginal?

Recently, a contributor to this blog (Brotha_B) posed a question to me:-

In a previous post you wrote that neither of your children are disadvantaged “simply because they have an Aboriginal father” and that they do not fit the ‘stereotypes’ associated with Aboriginal kids in central Australia. However, would you agree this does not make them any less Aboriginal? They are still entitled to be proud of their heritage.

And in this blog post, I'd like to begin to attempt to answer that question, but I'm afraid I'll pose many more in the process.

You can't say you haven't been warned.  It's going to be a long one...


First, I think we need to be allowed to discuss what Aboriginality is?  How can we even answer who is less or more Aboriginal, if we don't have an opinion first of what it is to be 'Aboriginal'.  The thing is, Aboriginality (or being Aboriginal) means different things to different people, and a majority of those opinions I've been lucky enough to have shared with me in no way fit with the current three part definition that makes up our current law.

For some, to be Aboriginal means that you speak your traditional language, live on your traditional land (and understand how it was and is passed to you to care for), follow lore, perform ceremonies and know the stories of your creation.  To these people, my children would both not be considered 'truly Aboriginal' and neither would I.  Just of descent from those who once were.

For others, to be Aboriginal is an identity you have been given, whether chosen or not.  By virtue of appearance alone, an inescapable identity that singles you out from others - whether positive or negative. 

For yet others, being Aboriginal means that you have discovered a relative in your family tree who was identified as being 'Aboriginal' at some point, and therefore accept a previously unknown identity and adopt that in part or in full - due to pride, or a wish to 'belong' or a genuine interest in family history and Aboriginal culture, right up to the more sinister motivations like financial advantage or power seeking.

For a few, Aboriginality is about race.  The recognition that prior to the arrival of the various waves of people to these shores, there were a race of people scattered upon this country who shared genetic traits, practiced various rituals that often differed from tribe to tribe - collectively known as 'Aborigines', and that the bloodlines and traditional practices stemming from these people have either been diluted or maintained.  How Aboriginal you are depends on your mathematical blood quotient and their cut-off marks with what constitutes cultural practices.

I don't speak language (hasn't been the practice in my family since my Great-Grandparents), live in the suburbs and would completely agree with traditional Aboriginal people when they say they don't see me as truly Aboriginal.  By their standards, I'm not, and I understand and accept that.  My children wouldn't be either.  Although I've never been mistaken for anything other than Aboriginal, and despite my genetic lineage, Aboriginality is as much a system of lore and living and traditions to those who know what they are talking about when they say the word 'culture', as it is about genetic lines.  It is not skin colour or who you happened to be born to or from that gives you authority.  It is far, far more complex than that.  In their world, I have no respect or standing, and rightly so.  Our worlds are completely different and to ignore that is nothing short of being disrespectful.  I'm far more 'whitefella' than 'blackfella' in their eyes.


The thing is, if you asked 100 people who identify as Aboriginal and another 100 who don't, from all walks of life, to answer the question 'who is Aboriginal?' honestly, and without fear of reprisal or judgement (and they're not allowed to use the 'safe answer' of the three part definition), you will probably get a wide range of answers - everything from fitting into the categories above, halfway between one and another, to those that could make other categories completely.  When I've posed this question over the course of my life to all kinds of people, I've gotten a huge variation in responses.  All I've learnt is there is no one definition that is agreed upon amongst all people who consider themselves Aboriginal. 

If you ask me what being Aboriginal means to me, I would say it means that I am always identified by others as Aboriginal - that is the first thing that a question like that prompts.  Second, I would say that it means my parents were of only Aboriginal heritage, as were my Grandparents, Great-Grandparents etc, therefore I  am the sum total of my ancestry in that respect.   

I am secure in myself enough to be well aware that I am more than my appearance, but it is often the first thing others notice about me, and frequently employed in any description of me to others.  I'm judged more often than not in new social situations by the previous interactions with others of my racial group.  I often come without a clean slate, and have to overcome long held fears or beliefs before I can begin to build a relationship of any substance with a great number of people.  They are often not racists, but rather, like me, their experiences or what they have heard or been taught have helped shape their view in a way not always approved of.   They are cautious of me because I'm from the same racial group they just watched on television, where some reporter filmed an Aboriginal man and woman drunk and fighting in the main street of town with the voiceover telling them this is nothing new or exceptional.  They're frightened because I look the same as the people who John Howard came on television to explain were neglecting and abusing their children in record numbers.  They seem wary of me because they know that Aboriginal people are over-represented in our jails, and jails house people who have committed crimes.  Possible criminal by default - proceed with caution.  On the flipside, you get people who want to use you to demonstrate just how much their first year Indigenous Studies Professor has taught them about "my struggles".  They tell me "you're a true Australian" or loudly exclaim that they "support the First People like me in their just plight against the white man" or simply must tell me about some rally they attended to "make a difference".  

Want to know the difference between the first group and the second group?

With the first group, those often branded as 'racists', I often find that once I open my mouth and start talking, and they hear that I speak no differently to them, and am obviously educated - most times we find a common ground on which to start a friendly conversation and like magic, they stop seeing the black skin and treat me like an individual.  The latter group, however, more often than not, never seem to stop being able to view me as a victim or as anything other than an Aborigine.  They speak to me like I'm an idiot, that because of the colour of my skin, I was discriminated against in education and therefore lacking against their University educated prowess so they must make concessions for me and expect a lower standard of me at every opportunity.  They seem to believe that I am unaware of how the modern world works, or worse, believe I need some of their do-gooderness to overcome a disadvantage that I clearly don't have.  I'm a cause, not a person to them.  

But back to the original question...

Based on my own opinion of Aboriginality, my children have part Aboriginal heritage.  They live with me in the suburbs (they visit but don't live on the land their Aboriginal ancestors did), speak only English, and therefore, to me, they are 'less' Aboriginal than those children who live a traditional life, or have heritage that is solely Aboriginal.  I want them to have pride in the ancestors, but not selective pride.  My kids have a white history and family that is just as large as their black family and black history.  To pretend they don't, that they are only a singular racial background or identity, is not appreciating all of what contributes to making them who they are, and in turn, insults good people who have always loved them unashamedly (as do my children them) - whose only 'sin' worthy of such treatment is apparently being white. 
 
That my children are 'less' Aboriginal than some others in my eyes is not really the important argument in the entire debate.  It is not about whether they are part-Aboriginal, or part-white, or seen as one or the other, but whether having Aboriginal ancestors in itself makes them disadvantaged to the degree that other Aboriginal people in certain communities are.  I can't in good conscience say that they have it anywhere near as hard as many people I know who just happen to share their racial background.  Disadvantage is about circumstances, not genetics or racial identity, even if one racial group has statistically poorer outcomes than another.  It is not 100% of the group suffering, yet we continue with race based funding rather than needs based funding in an effort to alleviate this suffering and disadvantage.  All the while we're happy to pretend that there is no harm done by acting in this way, and ignore the fact that to provide benefit to one race exclusively, based only on the fact they belong to or identify as belonging to that race, is in itself 'racism'.  That kind of racism, we're apparently happy to suffer.  Other types, not so much. 



Racial politics are difficult.  Even for me, its often a fine line to walk.  If I do not mention my heritage, I am accused of somehow being ashamed of my race, when the reality is, I'm proud to have the heritage I do.  I'm proud because I'm descended from some great people who did great things.  The thing is, that heritage makes up only a small part of who I am as an individual and a person.  I'm many things that I'm very proud of - an Aussie, a father and husband, a carer, a lover of Rugby League and old Kingswoods - as well as being of Aboriginal heritage.  I'm no poster child for the Aboriginal disadvantage and suffering we are sold as being necessary to ask no questions about where race-based funding is spent, or how it is divided up.  If anything, people like me are the reason we should ask hard questions and not shy away from debate on this topic. 

58 comments:

  1. So good! Thank you Dallas. I hope you continue to find a larger and more influential platform for your voice and opinion. It is sorely needed!

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  2. Mate. Love your work. You have a fluency and ease of writing that is a joy to behold. That you make so much sense is an added bonus.

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  3. Bravo again, Dallas - you truly are a champ!

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  4. If I ever have a chance to meet you, I will ask for an autograph. Why? Because you are the rare person with reason and sense, so difficult to find these days...

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  5. Dallas, you reinforce the immense power that inclusiveness and exclusiveness has to unite or divide society.

    Exclusive = not everyone is invited, only specific individuals and groups. More and more dissension is occurring because some people feel that they are missing out while others have access to things that could improve their own lives. But they can't have it because they don't meet 'the criteria'. They feel it's unfair and where race is the criteria for receiving or not receiving, it plays out in racial relations.

    Keep on with your gift of writing - your commonsense is soooooo refreshing!

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  6. Honest, honourable and refreshing comments - I hope eventually that all of us can write in a similarly unorthodox way without being unfairly labelled and castigated by the self-appointed ranks of those who 'know best'.

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  7. "With the first group, those often branded as 'racists'... They seem to believe that I am unaware of how the modern world works, or worse, believe I need some of their do-gooderness to overcome a disadvantage that I clearly don't have. I'm a cause, not a person to them."

    Bloody hell does that full paragraph ever need wider readership! I can only hope that those who run the big blogs link to this and send well deserved traffic your way.

    You know, I have experienced the same treatment from those of black ethnicity? I'm a relatively big bloke, with a classic skin head countenance. And there have been a number of times when out and about, particularly in my travels in North America, that those of black skin have eyed me warily. And fair enough. In any casting call I would be given such a roll, all they would need to do is paint a swastika on my forehead. Does it mean those who assess me initially as such are racist though? Nope. Not at all. Would they be if, after meeting with me, they continued to refuse to see the individual, and persisted in categorizing me as representative of an ethnic collective (I don't like the word race/racial, as, after all, whatever our skin color, we are all of the same species/race). Then yes, they would.

    I wonder Dallas, are you familiar with writings of Frederick Douglass:

    "What shall be done with them? (The Negro)

    Our answer is, do nothing with them; mind your business, and let them mind theirs. Your doing with them is their greatest misfortune. They have been undone by your doings, and all they now ask, and really have need of at your hands, is just to let them alone. They suffer by every interference, and succeed best by being let alone.

    —let alone by courts, judges, politicians, legislators and slavedrivers—let alone altogether, and assured that they were thus to be let alone forever, and that they must now make their own way in the world, just the same as any and every other variety of the human family.

    As colored men, we only ask to be allowed to do with ourselves, subject only to the same great laws for the welfare of human society which apply to other men, Jews, Gentiles, Barbarian, Sythian. Let us stand upon our own legs, work with our own hands, and eat bread in the sweat of our own brows. When you, our white fellowcountrymen, have attempted to do anything for us, it has generally been to deprive us of some right, power or privilege which you yourself would die before you would submit to have taken from you."

    This last still occurs at the hands of those who would proclaim themselves most compassionate. And who would denigrate you in moment (in a way they would never do of themselves) so that they might demonstrate that moral superiority to all.

    What makes a person Aboriginal? Beyond immediate/obvious racial heritage (but such is only superficial categorization), I suppose it would be how much they wished to adopt the practices of the culture. That though, is an individual thing, and as such, others should not be forced to accept it. If you are as white as me, but have some distant relative who was Aboriginal, and so want to pursue an interest in the culture, good luck to you. But beyond that, it doesn't have to mean anything to me. I can view your individual beliefs as nonsense, just as you can view mine. With neither of us claiming the right to silence the other. For as Voltaire observed: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

    In the end, perhaps all that matters is not whether a person is "Aboriginal". But rather, if they are man/woman who happens to be Aboriginal, or, an Aboriginal man/woman. There is a big difference between the two, as your experience demonstrates Dallas.

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    1. Vaughan - I always enjoy your contributions here, and your latest is no exception to that. I now have Frederick Douglass on the list of things to look up for today - much appreciated.

      And as far as appearances go, you sound like a dead ringer for my best mate - a great bloke I've known since school days who has stuck with me through thick and thin.

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  8. Thank you Dallas.
    I am always trying to have this argument internally. I get stuff on differing self opinions.
    This has opened thought that I have not really followed.
    Again thank you.....

    Jason

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    1. It is really good to hear that Jason.

      I've still got the same email address if you want to continue any discussion that way - I've also got a couple of things I want to discuss with you about some local issues and an offer of help if you can use it.

      Dallas

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  9. If anyone born is Australia was considered Aboriginal we'd have moved on to a better place.

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  10. Dallas, the topic of aboriginality is a contentious one and has been for as long as I have been around aboriginal people. Forty years ago people with brownish skin, or lighter, weren't aboriginal if they could get away with it. They were chinese, or malay, or afghan or greek etc. Anything to avoid the stigma and lack of rights that accompanied being aboriginal.
    Then citizenship happened. In 1967 in most of Australia, 1971 in the Kimberley. (Apparently it was felt that Kimberley blacks were less advanced)
    I was living in the Kimberley when people were given citizenship. Apart from the massive surge in drinking I saw little change, until a few years later, when the aboriginal "industry" began. Overnight, people I had always known as chinese etc. were suddenly militant blacks. They were out and proud. Nothing to do with benefits of course!
    I have had frequent debates with people on this subject. The original indigenous people had specific facial features and skin that was dark brown or black. They spoke their own language and had a complex, rigidly enforced code of living, which we commonly refer to as lore or culture. In my opinion, to qualify as a true aboriginal you would need to fulfill one of two criteria. You either meet the physical criteria, or you have been raised in the culture. I know some fair skinned people I classify as indigenous because they have grown up in remote communities speaking language and participating in ceremonies and suffering the same disadvantage as their darker skinned relatives.
    Cuture is a very ambiguous term in some circles. Fair skinned urban dwelling people identifying as indigenous claim it is because they were raised in the culture, or "raised black". When I ask for specific examples of urban indigenous culture or anything that would differentiate them from their european neighbours, I am met with a wall of silence.
    Culture is NOT listening to stories of gran living in the mission. That is family history. We all have one. We all (mostly all) grow up with tales of our grandparents struggles, either in Australia or overseas. We hear the sad stories and the funny ones. Sometimes even the shameful ones. These tales give us our place in the family tree and consolidate our feeling of belonging in our family. But they do not constitute culture.
    Culture is the way we live. The language we speak, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the ceremonies we attend. I am still waiting for someone to enlighten me on urban indigenous culture, and even if someone does come up with some unique practise, it still would not be an aboriginal cultural thing, it would be a mixed race one.
    I hope anyone with an aboriginal ancestor takes pride in that, just as they should take pride in their other ancestors. But unless they are black with aboriginal features, or have truly lived traditional culture, then they are part aboriginal. Or, as my daughter says "us mixed race mob"

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  13. Dallas, I don't even know where to start other than to congratulate you for your perspectives. I too am of Aboriginal ancestry on one side of my family, but to add to the mix, I also have Jewish and Irish ancestry. I am whiter than white and DO NOT claim to be Aboriginal. I have always drawn a major line between the concept of ancestry and racial identification. I happen to work a lot in the course of my profession as a health researcher and more recently in the mining sector with Aboriginal groups. I do this because of a sense of wanting to make a contribution to the betterment of Aboriginal people through mainly mainstream economic participation. I detest the victim culture of many Aboriginal people and the parasitic industry that has mushroomed around Aboriginal people. I actually had a terrible childhood and part of that is because of extremely dysfunctional family issues on my Aboriginal side. But at the end of the day, I have prospered, I have a doctorate, and an I am well known in my chosen professional areas. Keep up the good work

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  14. Dallas if you are writing a book I will buy it

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  15. "I want them to have pride in the ancestors, but not selective pride. My kids have a white history and family that is just as large as their black family and black history. To pretend they don't, that they are only a singular racial background or identity, is not appreciating all of what contributes to making them who they are, and in turn, insults good people who have always loved them unashamedly (as do my children them) - whose only 'sin' worthy of such treatment is apparently being white."
    Fantastic Dallas. This is more of the excellent writing that you do better than anybody else.

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  18. Buddyhi5 has deleted comments. It appears to Buddyhi5 that on an average most of the bloggers who agree with Dallas Scott write on this blog. It seems like a waste of my time and energy for me to continue adding my comments. My time and energy can be used helping and supporting my fellow humans in other ways, instead of discussing who is white, who is black, who is coffee, who is cream and who should get money and who shouldn't. We should all stop the bickering and back stabbing and support each other. I say to the amazing people who have gained scholarships and the like go forth and multiply and change the world. And to all those who haven't gained scholarships do the same. That includes you too Dallas Scott.

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    1. I think that's Dallas' point. We address need, not colour.

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  19. Buddyhi5 - That is such a shame. I have an inbox full of notifications and read all your comments this morning. What a read...Can I suggest that while you are off single-handedly saving the world in your spare time that perhaps you devote a little time to yourself and get some counselling - you won't regret it.

    I would like to clear up one of the more glaring inaccuracies from your multiple postings before I go though. The Emergency Accomodation that I live in is provided via mainstream services, not any Aboriginal services. The 'purse' remains untouched at my hand.

    The 'gravy train' I'm on by being here, as you so eloquently put it, is the same one you yourself rode whilst suffering from your own breakdown in circumstances. One based on need, not race.

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    1. Bugger. Just read this after having already submitted my previous response. Bang on again.

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  20. Dallas, the first words that spring to mind when I read your blog are: jealous, hard done by, victim mindset, whinger!
    It is sad to see a fellow Aboriginal person attack those amazing young people who have achieved something that should be celebrated not accused of doing something wrong.
    Since colonisation, we as a group have not made significant gains statistically speaking BUT something like gaining enrolment in Masters and Honours courses in overseas universities are HUGE ACHIEVEMENTS!!! I congratulate those young people as I know how rigorous the application process is and how the courses are no easy walk in the park, let alone the sacrifices they’re all making to be away from family, culture and country to pursue their educational goals!!!! Woohoo !!! These are our bright, resilient future leaders who will come back to Australia and help make a difference for all Australians particularly ATSI people!!!! As a taxpayer I would happily give my hard earned money to these fantastic role models than to bludgers who refuse to make an effort. God helps those who help themselves!!


    I say to all my family members when they complain about being discriminated against because of their Aboriginality “Be the change you wish to see in the world” This quote by Gandhi is my family’s mantra. I tell my kids to strive to be the best they can be and to do everything within their power to change what they don’t like by doing and not by complaining! I also have taught them to educate people along the way in their journey through school, uni and life in general. That is to break down the negative stereotyping of our people by being those living positive examples. I have hope for our young people to have an impact on our poor statistics in health, education, and employment. But we all know it will take time! It’s only been a relative short time since ATSI people were granted citizenship rights and educational opportunities, but at last I can see the tide turning. I see these amazing young scholarship holders as key people in positive change! I just feel a bit disappointed that some people continue to bring us down and put ‘bricks on our heads’. Sometimes unfortunately it’s our own mob who do that!!!

    Why are you one of those people Dallas? Why do you harbour strong envy of ATSI people who are doing well?? Why do you judge people on their skin colour or their achievements? You shouldn’t assume that anybody has a privileged existence or are not in need of financial support based on skin colour. How can you tell anything about a person’s circumstances or background by a photo??? Gee something must have happened in your upbringing for you to have that negative attitude and such a huge chip on your shoulder.

    I feel your blog is inciting racism by exposing that chip. The people who have written in to support, praise and applaud you are just encouraging you to become more negative and racist. They sprout off ways to approach ATSI issues with deficit thinking instead of a strengths based approach. I have watched you fluff your feathers up with each ignorant comment. You’re playing to their tune!!! …but hey this is your site you do what you want! You probably even block people who hold opposing views to you.
    Anyway, most rational people like myself are going to:
    1. take one look at your site
    2. make a contribution hoping it plants a seed in your mind to reflect and turn your thinking around
    3. and move on!!

    From what I can gather from reading some of the things on this site, you are blatantly perpetuating all the stereotypical /negative views about ATSI people. It is an insidious form of racism. A treacherous, sly, crafty, way of spreading the plague of racism! It makes me wonder whether you really are an Aboriginal person or whether (Cont.)

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    1. 'Deadly' Sprinter - you can call yourself rational all you like, but, there is a different R word for people like you.

      You know, the ones who think All Aboriginal people think and act the same way and hold the exact same opinions on everything...I think they call a person who holds a view like that a 'racist'. Your view that I don't act, think and behave like other Aboriginal people you know so therefore I must not be an Aboriginal person - help me on this one, is that lateral violence or racism? I get so confused these days with all the different terms and their apparently interchangeable meanings that I don't try to keep up anymore.

      Please, if you believe that I am not Aboriginal, sue me. Surely there is a precedent for it, and on this one you're in luck - in a previous blog post, you'll be able to find barristers who I've taken a poke at that will probably be chomping at the bit to do it for you free of charge. And I urge anyone else who reads this and feels the same as good ol Deadly here to do the same. Just make sure that your evidence to substantiate my non-Aboriginality comes from more than just 'he can't be a blackfella, he can read and write!'. Cause that, my friends, is racist.

      You're always free to jump for joy that priviliged Aboriginal identifying people are off to study at Oxford or Harvard, but, I have to wonder if you ever feel equally outraged that a whole bunch of Aboriginal people don't get anywhere close to the opportunities these privileged few have been given? You've gone to great pains to outline how hard these people have worked to deserve their spot, but fail to address the argument that not all Aboriginal children get the same access or opportunities to the basics that would enable them to compete against these 'success stories' for such opportunities. To pretend the playing field is equal just so you don't hurt the feelings of someone who is already on the winning team is a sick, twisted game and I won't play it.

      The rest of your efforts, Vaughan has far more intelligently summed up better than I, so I won't rehash old ground. I will point out one more thing though - I don't moderate comments to this blog and don't censor any postings made. I don't have the time to censor anyone and to be perfectly frank, don't mind people having their say, even the ones like yourself who get accused of having 'racist' views.

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    2. I had a strange dream the other night. Greg Lehman was King and Deadly Sprinter and I were among a throng of his subjects at his court. King Lehman was prancing about stark naked and Deadly Sprinter turned to me and said, "What glorious clothes the King has!"

      I also have a recurrent dream where I discover that I have a distant Chinese relative on my mother's side who came to Australia during the Gold Rush. At first I pronounce myself 1/64 Chinese (63/64 European). After further reflection I realize I'm Chinese. I apply myself to study and I'm granted a scholarship to study abroad as a Chinaman. I long to break down stereotypes about what it is to be Chinese. On my return to Australia I appear at a Chinese Writers' Festival in Melbourne where an angry and confused yellow Chinaman contributes to a heated discussion on Chinese identity by pointing at me and shouting, "As for you, you aren't a Chinaman at all. You are a f***ing white man!" I wake up in a cold sweat.

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  21. in fact you are not and you have set up this site to get your kicks from seeing others use your site as an outlet to vent/ confirm/ reinforce their racist, ignorant views and beliefs.

    I feel sorry for you either way….and all I can do is laugh and shake this off and hope that you come to your senses and find something more positive to do in your spare time with your internet. Remember it’s a luxury for you SO USE IT WISELY. Hopefully you will find a constructive way to get yourself out of emergency housing, to raise your disabled son to be an independent citizen …etc etc without the aid of some sort of gravy train whether it’s black gravy or white gravy!!!!

    Have you thought about getting some type of healing support for the baggage you carry and the negativity you perpetuate? I would suggest you ask your Aboriginal community for permission to participate in a smoking ceremony to clear your hate and open your eyes, ears and heart.

    Good luck. I’m off to help (on a volunteer basis) in a project to improve the educational and social outcomes for Aboriginal children. There’s a range of skin colours in the group of Aboriginal kids I work with…and thankfully we don’t ignore the fairer skinned children in favour of the darker ones…..they all get the same level of support and mentoring and access to services!!! I hope that they will ALL take as much as they can from the project, work hard to overcome their various challenges and have high expectations of themselves and their potential, and will be strong enough to deal with racism and ignorance. Frederick Douglass’ work resonates with me and this quote “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men!” is one that drives me in my personal life, employment and volunteer work to help young ATSI people to have a positive outlook, to be resilient and resourceful. Not to cry over what they haven’t got.

    I would like to leave this bit of advice and this quote for some of your writers whose ignorance about ATSI issues is obvious “Definition of stupid: knowing the truth, seeing the truth but still believing the lies”! Why don’t you all put your ‘money where your mouths are’ and go and volunteer in a school with a high ATSI enrolment, volunteer to help kids in an after school sport program, volunteer to help on building and repair /maintenance programs in remote Australian communities etc etc Throwing more money at something that isn’t doing so well isn’t necessarily the best solution. We have to think of different ways to do things. From my experience working with people, developing positive relationships, improving school attendance and engagement, and involving young people in constructive leisure activities are some of the things that have the greatest positive impact and don’t really require funding because people who give their free time and in-kind support to a cause is far better than people getting paid to work on ATSI issues who often just go through the motions of ‘helping’.

    Lastly Dallas, why don’t you put your energy and passion towards bringing up your kids as healthy, open minded young Australians without hate in their hearts. Don’t let history repeat itself. Be a positive role model for your kids…don’t let them see you attacking every person who tries to give you some helpful advice and insight!! I leave a quote for you too Dallas, another one from Fredrick Douglass “You’re the only one who can free you from mental slavery”.

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    1. Psychological projection (projecting unpalatable personally held emotional traits/motives onto perceived opponents) is stock in trade for the collectivist Left. For it is the only way that behavior that stands wholly antithetical to their stated cause can be rationalized. Think of any Left wing protest against war, free speech, economic inequality etc., and the hypocritical violence that always accompanies such, and you will have a perfect example.

      Such sets the stage for a clinical dissection of the bile offered up by Deadly Sprinter, a coward, who, unlike Dallas, refuses to give his/her real name. This rebuttal will be long, so you have been warned:

      "Dallas, the first words that spring to mind when I read your blog are: jealous, hard done by, victim mindset, whinger!"

      First, we see the effortless claim of supreme moral superiority. Based upon what you may ask? Why only Deadly Sprinter's (DS from this point forward) own assertion! For you see, DS is NOT jealous. NOR is DS possessed of a victim mindset. NOR, is DS a whinger! DS must be all these amazing things, for how else can he (pronoun chosen as you give a genderless name) readily identify the opposite traits in Dallas? Let's now look further into DS's reply to see how these amazing traits present themselves:

      "It is sad to see a fellow Aboriginal person attack those amazing young people who have achieved something that should be celebrated not accused of doing something wrong.
      Since colonisation, we as a group have not made significant gains statistically speaking BUT something like gaining enrolment in Masters and Honours courses in overseas universities are HUGE ACHIEVEMENTS!!!"

      Now the above sounds an awful lot like whining to me. Which is a puzzle given that this is the crime that Dallas is supposed to be guilty of. It is also a statement that completely ignores the call for individual need, that Dallas champions. Does an Aboriginal child living in absolute poverty have far greater INDIVIDUAL NEED of the monies given to those Aboriginals so that they can gain "enrolment in Masters and Honours courses in overseas universities"? The answer is obvious. At least it is to one making such a determination upon INDIVIDUAL NEED. But for one who champions Collective Identification? Now the question changes. Is the person a representative of the ethnic Aboriginal Collective? Yes. Are all members of this collective victims, and as such, entitled to monies? Yes. As victims, is anyone who takes issue with the collective by logical extension a victimizer/racist? Absolutely! It is in this way that one who would rather see assistance/money go to an individual Aboriginal child living in destitution, over one who would attend an overseas university, can be called racist.

      "I say to all my family members when they complain about being discriminated against because of their Aboriginality"

      This again presents as a victim mindset and whinging. And shows again the Leftwing adoption of the victim/victimizer breakdown of society. Those who are members of, or champion the collective, are victims. Those who champion the individual? Victimizers. Bizarrely DS continues with:

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    2. "I tell my kids to strive to be the best they can be and to do everything within their power to change what they don’t like by doing and not by complaining! I also have taught them to educate people along the way in their journey through school, uni and life in general. That is to break down the negative stereotyping of our people by being those living positive examples."

      Now I have to wonder, by inculcating in children that they are NOT individuals, but rather, members of a victimized collective, one they were born into, just as those not of the collective were born into their roll of victimizers (sarcasm: of which Dallas' mum and dad are a prime example), how on Earth can such children be their best? And as to what DS means when she talks about teaching her children to "educate" others? Do you think that means that said children will demand to be judged upon individual actions, or, as members of an ethnic collective?

      "I feel sorry for you either way….and all I can do is laugh and shake this off and hope that you come to your senses and find something more positive to do in your spare time with your internet."

      Remember, this is directed at a man who believes the INDIVIDUAL NEED of an Aboriginal child living in poverty, is greater than one who identifies as Aboriginal who wants others to pay so that they can attend an overseas university. But still, you have to love DS's condescension, laid down so thick you could cut it with a knife.

      Finally, contrast the following two statements"

      "I feel your blog is inciting racism by exposing that chip. The people who have written in to support, praise and applaud you are just encouraging you to become more negative and racist. They sprout off ways to approach ATSI issues with deficit thinking instead of a strengths based approach. I have watched you fluff your feathers up with each ignorant comment. You’re playing to their tune!!! …but hey this is your site you do what you want! You probably even block people who hold opposing views to you."

      And:

      "Lastly Dallas, why don’t you put your energy and passion towards bringing up your kids as healthy, open minded young Australians without hate in their hearts."

      Wow! So DS commands Dallas to raise his kids to be healthy, open minded people, not possessed of any hate in their hearts, wholly unlike their father. After stating that Dallas himself encourages racism and hatred! And, that he too, censors free speech! So DS, you speak with hatred and condescension, and then lambast Dallas as not being open minded and possessed of a hate filled heart? How the hell does that work? Too, on the whole censoring of free speech thing, were you cheering when Andrew Bolt was threatened with men with guns (police) dragging him off to a cage if he dared speak freely about his views on Aboriginal issues? I'm sure you were. Just as I am sure you have very, very definite views on what what people should be allowed to say when it comes to Aboriginal issues, you utterly despicable hypocrite!

      “You’re the only one who can free you from mental slavery”

      I Googled this direct quote you put forward and came up with nothing relating to Frederick Douglass. The closest Google offered was this quote by the pot head Bob Marely:

      "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!"

      But lets assume for the sake of argument that Douglass did say what you quote. Does one arrive at freedom by demanding they be viewed as an individual first and foremost, or do they find freedom in being told they are born into a victimized ethnic collective, and should judged as representatives of such, and not as individuals? I know what Frederick Douglass' answer would be:

      "As colored men, we only ask to be allowed to do with ourselves, subject only to the same great laws for the welfare of human society which apply to other men."

      And DS, it is completely different to yours.

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    3. Vaughan Starr - This blog is a better place for your presence. 'DS' might not have planted the seed in my mind he was hoping would provoke further thought, but your posts repeatedly seem to have that effect on me.

      Thank you.

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    5. Bloody hell mate, you'll have me blushing like a schoolgirl in a moment! But seriously, and without this turning into a mutual appreciation society, it's very easy for me to post some comments. For ultimately, who cares? There are no repercussions one way or the other. You on the other hand? There are a hell of a lot of repercussions for you in taking the stand that you have. Vitriol, demonization, you have made yourself a prime target for both. And I am in no doubt that you have received ample already. And you are intelligent enough to know that more is in store for you. Just as you are principled enough not break from what you know is right. I don't say this to put you up on a pedestal mate, you are as fallible as the rest of us. I'm just calling it as I see it. For whatever it is worth though, you have my admiration, and my sincere best wishes for the battles you will face in the future. Never show the bastards weakness mate, one whiff of it, and they'll rip you to shreds.

      (RE myself removing a few comments, I bollocksed up the posting)

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  22. What an interesting read.

    Continue Dallas, with your writing.

    Your words have helped me overcome an injustice done to me, and a friend who has an Aboriginal parent and a Torres Strait Islander parent. You see we both applied for 2 govt jobs in a state that shall remain nameless. A panel of people who were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders recommended each of us for the 2 jobs. The Managing Director, Regional Executive Director and Deputy Director General, all Aboriginal men, refused to endorse the panel's selection of us for the roles. After being told numerous lies, I was finally told the truth - they knew someone who didn't get an interview but, according to them, should have. (The theory is that you don't get an interview unless your application meets specific official dept standards.) My friend was told something different.

    Moving along.. the truth was that one of those senior public servants wanted a relative to get one of the roles and the only way that could happen was to re-advertise and make sure the new selection panel interviewed and recommended the "right" people.

    To cut a long story short, the person in charge of the roles went on sick leave and my friend went on sick leave because of what happened (they both have substantive positions in the public service) and the senior public servant's family member got one of the re-advertised roles. Although I sang like a canary, not one person in the unit stood up and challenged what happened.

    I've been unemployed and literally homeless since but for the grace of good friends allowing me to couch surf.

    Dallas, I voluntarily mentored people who were Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in that department to support them to achieve personally and professionally. What happened felt like a real kick in the guts.

    At the time I started reading your blog, I was very angry. I don't feel angry anymore - your words are powerful, Dallas; they are the uncommon common-sense that unites human beings and places priority on need.

    What my experience proved to me was that the behaviour of some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is just like that of any other of the human race, it can be good or bad!

    We get to choose our behaviour even if we don't get to choose our colour. You keep writing, Dallas.

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    1. Ann, nepotism oils the wheels of all indigenous organisations, and any government ones where indigenous people hold any power. It is one of the causes of apathy amongst indigenous people. After all, why apply for a job when only certain families get butts on those seats. It is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed but first it has to be acknowledged.
      I can understand your anger and pain. I too spent many, many years helping indigenous people, only to be abused by some when they were looking to vent. The solution is to realise it is not personal. They didn't specifically reject you, they simply followed culture, and put their family first. If you can understand that, you will then be able to see all the wonderful, genuine indigenous people around you. They won't be the noisy ones, or the attention getters, but they'll be the good ones.

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    3. Ann, I'm sorry to hear what happened to you, but sadly - like Big Nana, not surprised at any of it.

      I also agree with her to please not take any of what you experienced personally, or a reflection on the help you gave - putting your hand up to help is something you should not have to regret, be proud instead!

      I truly hope that some good luck comes your way and your own situation improves - it's great to have good friends to call on, but even better not to have the threat of homelessness lurking always in the background.

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    4. Thanks Big Nana and Black Steam Train (in honour of your brother).

      Aboriginal people are among my friends (and African people and people of other cultures) so I'm constantly reminded of the good, too.

      I wanted to share my story in response to some comments that were sent in, and make the point that behaviour matters, not race, nor creed nor colour.

      Your blog is not encouraging racism, it is encouraging assistance based on need. It is exposing that some people who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are accepting services when they are well-placed financially with jobs, houses etc which means others with greater needs, miss out. I know people who have done this... they earn over $60k per year in full-time secure employment and accepted $4000 of free dental work. Why? Because the government offered it to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and it wasn't means tested.

      To those who question your motives, please stop and think - could that $4000 have been better spent if those services were means tested? Multiply the $4000 by however many people were able to pay and still accepted the free service. Is it the government's fault that they offer this? Is it the people's fault if they accept this? Who wins? Who misses out?

      The point which has been made very clearly throughout these blogs, is that where a person has the means to pay let them so that funding may go to those most in need.

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  23. Hey Dallas,

    I just watched the SBS show and looked u up and found this blog.

    I will ask the question all Kooris ask each other. Where are you from?

    You said you have a relative from Wallaga Lake. That means you are Yuin, like me (I'm Northern Yuin, Shoalhaven/La Perouse). Also you mentioned Lake Tyers. Are you Kurnai? Or another mob shuffled around from Victoria?

    I'm a bit uncomfortable with the whole 'Aboriginal' thing. The problem is that it compares Yuin to Kurnai to Walpiri to Peerapper. My nation, Yuin, faced the absolute brunt of the invasion (South coast NSW) and many of us have fair skin. But we have fought as much as any for our rights. I identify as 'Koori' (an Eora word meaning 'man') because of where I am from. People from the desert or whatever are completely foreign to us and have a different language, history, etc.

    Do you know your language? There are a lot of resources now for our South Coast Dhurga language. Wallawani! (That means 'GDay' in Wallaga talk.)

    You should talk to Uncle Max and walk up Gullaga mountain my Yuin brother. Get in touch with me... I'm sure we are related somehow, lol.

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  24. the Herald Sun sent me here on Monday when I discovered your face on Andrew Bolt's page. I'm so glad I found you! would love to reconnect with you and K, and get advice. love to you all xx

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  25. Wow, Dallas Scott, I connect with how you see the world. You're a man of heart, and are wise beyond your years. But then, I only say that because I was so slow to wisen up, and to fully acknowledge that the truth of the heart trumps what we think we think. Dallas, I'm cheering for you because of your commitment, your incredible bravery, and your love for fellow man. Thank you for your work to make this a better world.

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  26. Dallas and readers,

    Thankyou for the opportunity to be part of this discussion.

    I always been puzzled that someone can be proud to be 1/16 Aboriginal but totally not mention the other 15/16. What am I,,, nothing? Or is being 1/16 Aboriginal a handicap that people have to be proud of as in "look at me I am doing well inspite of being 1/16 Aboriginal"

    I have to let people know that I am hearing impaired. I just cannot get my head around the need for someone to let me know that they are Aboriginal for no particular reason.

    Brotha_B says, "They are still entitled to be proud of their heritage"

    I say, people too often, are only proud of part of their heritage. Or as I have asked a couple of people, "what's the other half"?


    I have read the replies and hope to learn from them also.

    Frederick Douglass and the White Negro http://www.blogger.com/profile/09917539288437804011

    Not an Aboriginal story but I'll have to give it a look.

    Dallas if you are writing a book I will buy it http://www.blogger.com/profile/12149459800890533947

    Me too.

    “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men!” http://www.blogger.com/profile/13501937871066544249

    Very true. I am currently trying to repair myself.

    Lastly Dallas, why don’t you put your energy and passion towards bringing up your kids as healthy, open minded young Australians without hate in their hearts. Don’t let history repeat itself. Be a positive role model for your kids…don’t let them see you attacking every person who tries to give you some helpful advice and insight!! I leave a quote for you too Dallas, another one from Fredrick Douglass “You’re the only one who can free you from mental slavery http://www.blogger.com/profile/13501937871066544249

    Read this fellah's stuff also. I think that you are ranting a bit mate. Good on you for your volunteer work. Volunteers are great people. I give blood each fortnight and am looking for another community service thing.

    Another bit from Deadly Sprinter,

    It’s only been a relative short time since ATSI people were granted citizenship rights and educational opportunities

    The constitution was changed in 1967, thats 46 years ago. (section 127 removed) Commonwealht of Australia formed in 1901 112 years ago. That means the The "relative short time" is about 40% of the time that the constitution has been in existence.

    The previous paragraph is not meant to ignore the fact that "Terra Nullius" should never have been declared. I mean it to suggest a basis for moving on together. recently I heard a young lady on Radio JJJ say that the clause is still in existence. Not so.

    Not enough people realise the significance of the removal of Section 127. It was removed by referendum, a vote of the people, not the government. The white people wanted recognition of Aboriginals. I believe it was 96%, a significant number.

    As for the comments about living in emergency accomodation, I have just come through a two year period of employment issues. Registered for the dole, and now getting back on my feet. That is part of the ups and downs of life for some of us.

    Hoping that I can be a positive part of these discusions.

    Yours Sinserely,
    David Pickersgill

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    1. I have been thinking over my comments over the past week and wondering if I have been clear.

      I want to say that I like Dallas' comments and have said them myself (but not as well) on another site.

      Basicaly I said; that I am not my ancestors but I am myself and the environment that I grew up in.

      I am not Yorkshire, Irish or Scotish.

      My first ancestor to Australia was a 17yr old Lady who came as a single girl because of lack of oportuntities in 18th century England. 5th generation on my Mum's side. Dad is the only Australian born sibling in his Family.

      My Dad was proud "British", my Mum proud Australian (white). Me I have always considered myself Australian. (I am not British)

      My references to people calling themselves Aboriginal happened. I still cannot work out why these people felt that they had to say so except to gain some status from being "more Australian" than me.

      I hope that this helps to explain why I am interested in Dallas' post.

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  28. oosy,

    Just reading my post. I have been unclear when quoting a few readers.

    I'll rewrite or explain if anyone wants.

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  29. Where have you gone Dallas??
    You have such a talent and I miss reading your thoughts.
    You are able to cut through and talk about the real issue affecting indigenous Australians today.
    Please start writing again, I believe your voice is so important. You have so much to offer Australia through your words.

    Kindest regards,
    Emily Fenton

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  30. Dallas, let me echo Emily's question. Mate, you are an awesome writer, so I hope in some way you are continuing with this. I know that to date you have restricted your posts to Aboriginal issues, but it would be great if you opened yourself to cover a whole range of matters. Still, easy for me to say, you're the one who has to put in the hard yakka.
    Mate, from time to time I will check in here to see if you are posting, but if you never come back let me say that the following: ""With the first group, those often branded as 'racists'... They seem to believe that I am unaware of how the modern world works, or worse, believe I need some of their do-gooderness to overcome a disadvantage that I clearly don't have. I'm a cause, not a person to them."
    I have saved, and will share with my own children when they are of an age to understand. So on their behalf, thank you.
    Safe travels for you and your family brother.

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  31. Having read this posting I must say I am extremely impressed by your writing and the way you express your beliefs.
    It takes a lot of courage to swim against the tide and be true to yourself. I hope you continue to write, and in so doing make such a positive contribution to this debate. I will be back to read more of your articles.

    Regards
    Dennis N. O'Brien

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  32. Hi Dallas,
    I'm probably not as Aboriginal as I should be or claim to be according to you.
    However, raised solely by my Aboriginal father traveling around Australia, he was working alot and always stayed with other blackfellas on our travels, so I learnt to see Australia from this perspective from day dot.
    My country is Minjerribah (north Stradbroke Island) and has been occupied since the early 1800's. He always said we are from there and belong there.
    Whenever I go back I connect with family, the first time I went I couldn't believe how welcome I was, it made me feel proud and strong that we've survived. Great Aunties have told me about during WWI & WWII if they (the women) didn't marry a whitefella they would be removed from the island and sent away to work elsewhere. Naturally they wanted to stay on the island and be close to family, and so did as they were told under The Act.
    My great gran and pop were both Aboriginal and upstanding members of the community.
    As I said before, our Island has changed alot since 1800, naturally people have to survive, our family always has a strong work ethic even as Aborigines.
    As an artist I like to acknowledge this aspect of my identity, and make work that discusses issues of history, identity and environment (social and geographical)
    I do not have a connection to my white mother...but I have a certificate of Aboriginality. I'm still perplexed about authenticity.
    I want my work to be Aboriginal, and I want to be successful as an Aboriginal person so that my family are proud and that these achievements transgress assumptions that Aboriginal people are only true, happy and successful when they are living in the bush, eating bush tucker with family and having ceremony.
    Like any artist making work about their life and perspective I can only speak my truth.
    Aren't we assimilated enough?
    Why can't we achieve success and access services that are made for mobs in our own regions?
    If we are 3% of the population then the relative government assistance and output for these services cannot possibly be more than the remaining 97% of the populations social services.
    I enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to your next post, these conversations are important for people are interested in this debate.
    many thanks

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  33. You seem to be a nice, kind man.
    Thank you.
    Uncle Ron.

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  34. Hi There
    I have only recently found out that the man i always though of as my grandfather was not, and another man was. The gentleman who is my biological grandfather was 'part' Aboriginal. (I believe his mother was 'half')...

    What does this mean for me? Well... it means i have Aboriginal heritage that i knew nothing about, and that my son has the same heritage. Where i get shitty is that i would have liked to have known. Whilst i have had connections with Aboriginal people through association, i have never been part of the community.
    I know plenty about my Irish/English/American heritage, but was denied the opportunity to know the rest!
    Don't get me wrong... i know WHY it was done. My Grandmother put a white man down on the Birth Cert (the father of my Uncle)... because she feared for the safety of her child. We're talking 1949 here... not a good time to have a mixed race child. Yet at the same time, i wish...even if only in secret.... i had been told sooner.

    Now... I am setting myself the task of getting to know the truth about this side of my heritage. My son will know the truth, and hopefully, belong to country and community. I will not deny ANY part of my heritage, and i will teach my son to be the same.

    Your post here has been an interesting an enlightening read.

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  35. An enormous round of applause, continue the great work.
    steam wallet generator

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  36. “If you ask me what being Aboriginal means to me, I would say it means that I am always identified by others as Aboriginal” -Other Aboriginals or everyone Dallas?.

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  37. To answer that question is to assume all Aboriginal communities are the same, same belief systems, same dreaming or same ideologys which is un realistic. Aboriginal people are still treated as museum pieces that can only be Aboriginal in a stagnant state. ie a spear caring half dressed lap lap wearing person who can only speak Aboriginal language. Thats how racism works. To deny Aboriginality due to modern influence is to deny human evolution. Personally all the drink drugs and crime in remote communities show a true lack of Aboriginality. Its sad our own people apply eurocentric standards upon others. Especially if you look at European history. I dont want to be anything like them

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  38. To answer that question is to assume all Aboriginal communities are the same, same belief systems, same dreaming or same ideologys which is un realistic. Aboriginal people are still treated as museum pieces that can only be Aboriginal in a stagnant state. ie a spear caring half dressed lap lap wearing person who can only speak Aboriginal language. Thats how racism works. To deny Aboriginality due to modern influence is to deny human evolution. Personally all the drink drugs and crime in remote communities show a true lack of Aboriginality. Its sad our own people apply eurocentric standards upon others. Especially if you look at European history. I dont want to be anything like them

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  39. "Racial politics are difficult." I've been reading a lot about racism, racial politics, racial identity lately, trying to get get my head around it (as well as gender politics, gender identities, and sexism), and reading your words has been a very interesting experience. I was born and raised in Australia, but I've kinda never really identified as culturally "Australian"... so much of what people around me seem to do is perplexing and alien to me, and always has been. Reading about your experience of 'Aboriginality' and how its definition varies from person has really resonated. I think all of us are wondering "where do I fit?", we're all trying to define ourselves. I'm thinking now that we are all unique. Every one of us is a unique intersection of culture, gender, race, ancestry, lifestyle-choices, interests, obstacles, skills, education, belief-systems, oppressions, etc... we're all unique. None of us is exactly like the other... and in that aspect, we are all united. We are all the same, because we're all different. Thanks for writing from the heart.

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