It is strange that I want to write something about a documentary about the thirteen amendment of the USA constitution. Watching this doco, made me realise the mentality of today’s politics and everyday people, and how it is related to Australia. Being not only of Australian Aboriginal descent, but I am also, English, Scottish and Irish. I don’t see myself as Aboriginal or Caucasian, but an Australian who is proud of all the bloodlines of my family history.
I meant to watch this documentary when it came out but it was only today that I thought why the heck not. It goes back to the Civil War in America and how that lead to the loophole of criminals as slaves. With this part of the amendment, it shows the evolution of the mentality of people of colour. Then looking at how Aboriginals were treated at the same time.
My people fought a war against their invaders, Black Wars of Tasmania which went for twenty-seven years. Six hundred Tasmanian Aborigines lost their life defending their homes, but that could be in the thousands as there was no accurate census of the population at that time. Once eradicated, the survivors moved to Flinders Island in the Bass Strait. More live were lost here, due to the horrible conditions of their forced ‘settlement’. And this doesn’t even stop here, brutality since the First Fleet came here, still shocks me to my core.
Am I proud what happened during these years, and the fact that my family was born from this situation. No, but blaming the past doesn’t help the future. My mum doesn’t see herself as Aboriginal but as an Australian, unlike the rest of her siblings. My mother raised in an Aboriginal community and her white father; my grandfather saw himself as a ‘black fella’ as he was married to one.
Our discussion of this re-imagining of the same ideology of all ethnic people are criminals, and how Australians today view ‘boat people’. My mother recounts her mother, an Aboriginal who brought two Vietnamese children into her home as they were fleeing the outcome of the Vietnam War. She didn’t see them as outsiders, but Family and treated them as such. There are no two buts about it. I too have this idealism when it comes to my friends, once you achieve a certain point I see you as Family, not just friend. As Family doesn’t need a blood relation is about the care and acceptance of that person. My Family is HUGE, blood relations and adopted, all are Family to me.
We need to break out of this hatred of differences, of the past, of assuming stereotypes of people. On Facebook, I had an acquaintance who was a friend to one of my Family. He put up about his belief of ‘boat people’ should be deported, harsher things should happen and that forcing multiculturalism upon us. That if you are not one of us, being white, then go home and that this should be a land for just Australians. Does he just mean white Australians? I was about to turn to him and say “If you think that, you go home as you are not indigenous to Australia. As you are a descendant of a ‘Boat Person’.” As he is a white guy, isn’t he forcing multiculturalism on Aborigines? This is our land, not his but I guess that is different.
In the end, it, like the Michael Jackson song says ‘Black or White’, it doesn’t matter if you are black or white, you are human, and you deserve respect and the right to be heard. Even racist people have the right to be heard because they show us the past. From this, we can learn from our mistakes and, together, forge a new future of a united human race.