How do we stop Australia’s biggest cultural problem? 356



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Australia is a unique country. We are only country that is also a continent. We have some of the most unique flora and fauna in the entire world. We have a story that isn’t like anyone else’s. We also have a very unique problem. A big problem, and it’s called racism.

Australia is known for it’s “R” word. Racism is a legacy that Australia has and as Toni Hassan wrote for The Age, it isn’t easily erased. AFL icon, Indigenous Australian and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes performed a war cry that had ties to his Aboriginal heritage during a match last weekend. It proved too confronting for some and so followed the racist slurs.

Speaking on Q&A earlier in the week an Indigenous panellist, Uncle Jack Charles, said, “Australia is uniquely racist against Aboriginal Australians”, and his statement has some merit.

In New Zealand, they have pride in their indigenous people, the Maoris. They teach all children about Maori history. The Maori culture is respected and they are given support in all ways that helps them to retain their unique culture yet be a part of modern day society. There’s so much respect for the culture and heritage.

But here in Australia we have a different approach. Indigenous history and culture is taught in only a small capacity in schools. They receive different punishments for crimes with a TV host earlier in the week claiming that Indigenous Australians make up 80 per cent of people in the Australian prison system. They haven’t been allowed to look after their lands; they haven’t been allowed to celebrate their own culture while becoming socially integrated with modern society.

It’s a sad reality, but Australia is racist towards our own people and towards our heritage. We claim we’re lucky for living in this country yet we show such little real respect to those who were here first.

There was the invasion, then the Stolen Generation, but because of the way non-Indigenous people treated Indigenous people and the reactions to what non-Indigenous people did, the stereotypes have perpetuated and filtered down to younger generations.

It’s heartbreaking but statistics show that there are incredibly low rates of education and employment amongst Indigenous people and incredibly high rates of substance abuse and health problems. Amnesty International reported this week that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders 24 times more likely to be in detention than other Australians. They turn away from the services they’re provided often because it’s non-indigenous people providing them. Because just like non-indigenous people are raised with negative perceptions of them, they’re raised with negative perceptions of us – the legacy of our past that is not easily forgotten.

Unless something changes dramatically, the cycle sadly doesn’t have an end. There will still be a race divide between two groups of people who really should be one. We’ll still have racism embedded in our culture and there won’t be a future without it.

But what if there can be a change made. What if both groups of Australians can find mutual ground? Perhaps it comes down to starting with respect.

How about non-indigenous people show respect to the indigenous by learning their history and culture throughout the schools? How about non-indigenous people help to get more indigenous people in the workforce by employing them to teach their culture?

How about indigenous people respect non-indigenous people by valuing the many opportunities they have like education, welfare and employment support? How about the government support their productive contributions to society that they’re so often not motivated to give?

How about we work together and change the “R” word Australia is most known for, from racism to respect.

We’re a unique country, but this is one unique part of Australia that really needs to change.

So tell us, how do you think Australia should go about changing this? How can we move forward and change the “R” word we’re known for? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. The racist card gets thrown around far to much these days…..I say I don’t like what Adam Goodes did with his dance, I am racist. I am not happy with Halal labels, I am racist….no I am not I just have an opinion on these subjects. This is the problem….Adam Goodes says things about us, he’s not racist….Muslims say things about us,their not racist….how is it fair….

    26 REPLY
    • I agree with you, Judith Forbes. From all the comments I read about Adam Goodes, they were derogatory about the man, not his aboriginality!!! and what you say is true. Apparently racism only goes one way!!!

    • This is so true. Point a finger at anything Muslim your a racist….they come here and say we want this changed, we want Halal, we don’t want this, we go crook we are racist. We are only sticking up for what we have always done and want to keep doing for generations to come, it does not make me racist it makes me someone who love my country and all the things that I have always had.

    • Muslims have been in Australia for over 100 years and Halal certification has been here since the 1960’s.
      So why didn’t you complain back then?????
      It’s just the “in” thing at the moment. .

    • It’s not what you say it’s how you say it and yes why is everyone so worried about halal certification, what difference does it make to your lives??!! None just like mine. For goodness sake grow up Australia

    • Ruth Hourigan No one knew about it, Thousands of people are just finding out about it now, It used to be on Meat, now its on 99% of everything we buy, Why would torch batteries, Nike shoes, Medications etc need to be Halal, I had a friend who married a Pakistani, in late 1990s she used to drive miles to one of 3 Halal butchers . we discussed this at length , and it was the only Halal product then. Must make a good profit as I saw Yesterday, they paid Coles $1million dollars recently under some agreement.

    • Yes Ruth and those moslems didn’t behave as the current ones do demanding we change to suit them & insist on a tax on everything including feminine hygiene products & cat food. It is NOT “just the ‘in’ thing at the moment”, it is way more dangerous for the whole of civilisation. Have fun living under sharia, because that is their sworn intention.

    • I have been complaining about things for years, still get labeled. Still things keep changing. I do not need to grow up at all, we Australians should have a say in what we want and what happens to things that impact on us…..Bronwen Bannister you are so right, it is the under minding of our ways, our traditions, our likes and dislikes. We get no say in what happens….I do not want to buy any halal certified products to support their way of life, sorry that is how I feel. If they want things halal certified then have all their own things and leave ours as is. Have their own factories, shops etc but do not touch my things, I should have a choice, they do so why can’t I?

    • Judith and Bronwen

      Yes, you do have a right to support your beliefs. But in saying that you should be fully aware of the facts and support it completely.
      Do you know that CSR sugar and Saxa salt and White Wings flour are ALL Halal certified.
      They are also the three main suppliers to all the tinned,and packaged food factories in Australia . So that means your bread, biscuits, ice cream, tinned fruit, breakfast cereals, tinned fish, sauces, pickles, cheese, yoghurt, sandwich meats, gravies, etc, etc, etc, are all Halal certified.
      These companies also supply the sugar for the coles and woolies and IGA and Foodland brands of sugar, flour and salt.
      So, if you are really fair dinkum about this then you wouldn’t eat anything containing these ingredients.
      As for non halal butchers, they may advertise that. What they don’t tell you is that the abbatoirs they get their meat from are Halal certified and have been for 50 years. There are only three abbatoirs in Australia which are not certified and they are also banned from exporting their meat. I’ll leave you to find out where they are and what butchers use them.

      1 REPLY
    • well said Judith. The Chinese have stores that only sell chinese type groceries so why cant Muslims or they could pay for a section in the big grocey stores but why should we all have to eat halal.

    • Judith , Ruth avoided my comment ,I did say it was on everything now, This is why we complain .

    • Ruth this is why I am saying what I am, they get to tell us what they want and get it, we say we don’t want it and get ignored, not right…let them gave their own abattoirs, own butchers, own supermarkets, their own lolly and chocolate shops etc etc etc. let us have our own abattoirs, Butches, supermarkets, lolly and chocolate shops….but no we just have to put up with they get what they won’t we just have to shut up and except it, not fair, sorry, we should have a choice…..

    • I don’t give a flying crap what anyone calls me, but don’t call me racist just because I don’t want my country under Sharia law or in any way changed to suit the wants of 0.2% of the population, without thinking about the consequences.
      A lot of brave Aussies died for the freedoms and Aussie lifestyle (envy of the world), so we should fight just as hard to keep it, along with our Christian-based values, including our justice and electoral systems. If you want to lose ALL of that, by all means placate modern day Islam.
      But – before you do, take a good hard look at every single country they have colonised, and you will see plainly what is their true intent – Italy, Holland, England, Germany, France and pretty much most of Europe and Africa.
      Everywhere Muslims have immigrated, their behaviour is the same – total insistence on establishment of a Sharia law and rejection of that country’s laws, customs, political system and history.
      The Quran commands all Muslims to convert all others to Islam, and if they can’t, to kill them. They’re allowed to pretty much transgress all their own laws to accomplish this, the end justifying the means.
      Look at the way they treat females – like animals. Would you brutally excise the genitalia from your daughters at age 5? And then sew it closed?
      Would you copulate with an animal? Stone somebody to death?
      And please don’t now say none of this happens in midst day Islam – this is precisely what is happening right now in Islam!
      If Islamic countries are so great, and Islam is such a great religion, why is it that every single Islamic country worldwide is war-torn or experiencing major upheaval? And why do so many Muslims leave those countries?
      Because they realise they’re living in the 13th century! So they see what a great life Australia offers and here they are, but what do they want as soon as they settle in? To change a 21st century wonderful country into the same 13th century hell hole they just came from!
      My objections to Muslims have nothing to do with their race, I am not a racist. I am simply speaking in defence of the very lifestyle and culture they want to revert to the Stone Age.

      1 REPLY
      • I particularly do not like your comments about female circumcision – that is a practice which is not condoned by Islam, nor is “copulating with animals” – it is a true bigot who zones in on the subjects most likely to offend and shock.

    • I couldn’t have sad it better . Many on here don’t see what goes on O/S. Sweden the most liberal country in the world has put an end to Muslims coming, the country was being taken over.

    • Since when we say anything against Muslim is racist? Islam/Muslims are NOT a race of people.
      So if you say anything against Christians or Jews or even against the Pope and Catholic church is that racist too?
      Religion comes in all colours.
      Oh and then there is politics, is it racist when we hate the Labor Party, or the Greens or communism or conservatism.
      It makes NO sense at all!
      Religion is the scourge of the Earth, and some are worse than others and some so evil when it’s a fundamental part of their politics and we, as a free nation should speak out and ostracise them with our loudest voice or we will lose our peace and freedom and way of life.
      How is that racist?

    • Goods seems to forget his white heritage and i do not like the way he carried on with his dance he is racist also the way he carried on over a thirteen year old girl , it was not a nice thing she did but there was no need to carry on the way he did- Muslims are the most racist people i know everything we do offends them –well they chose to come here for a better life so shut up and show some appreciation for a change

    • Oh I agree, so fed up with people saying we are racist,

    • The Muslims I have known for many years are beautiful people who live model lives. The Muslims that have come here in the last few years are different. They do want to change the world to their ways and I’m with Rod, Dawn, Marie,Joyce and others that want our country back. So do I!!!

    • Well said Judith and Rod! I think Goodes pushes the wrong buttons some times. People do dislike him, not because or his colour, but because they genuinely don’t like him. There are heaps of footballers that carry on like pork chops, and people dislike them because of their actions etc. that’s not racism, as it is with Goodes. Respect is earned, and Adam Goodes needs to change his ways, as others do to earn respect! I’m truly over his antics! And the antics of other footballers who are trumped up with their own importance!. Maria I don’t agree with you comment about Religion being the scourge of all evil. If the message of the Christian religions were carried out there would be no evil. Evil is when men hide behind a certain religion and use it to carry out their own particular form of violence! Beheading, murders, and sexual abuse. These type of acts are against their own particular religions! Peace, not hate, is what most religions teach. The different religions are made up of the people who worship quietly and try to live a good life. So please I beg of you do not paint all people with the same brush! All priests and ministers are basically good people, who abhor the sexual abuse cases which are coming forth theses days. As we the public do.

    • We seem to get forced at schools , shops etc , not to display certain products or display of our christian beliefs at christmas which is caused by our politician and media
      If they stop constantly putting everything on the news people might not react

    • I quote Molly Holland’s comment in part from above…just what I wanted to say, so no use repeating it…”Maria I don’t agree with your comment about Religion being the scourge of all evil. If the message of the Christian religions were carried out there would be no evil. Evil is when men hide behind a certain religion and use it to carry out their own particular form of violence! Beheading, murders, and sexual abuse. These type of acts are against their own particular religions! Peace, not hate, is what most religions teach. The different religions are made up of the people who worship quietly and try to live a good life. So please I beg of you do not paint all people with the same brush!”

  2. adam goodes is a hypercrite , where was he when the australian side to tour ireland was picked on race lines, was restricted to aborigines, every year the afl has an indiginous round, so where is the caucasian round, oh silly me that would be racist, racism cuts two ways not just the white population

    1 REPLY
  3. Racism is a 2 edged sword. Goodes performance was racist in that it was promoting his culture into the face of a different cultural context.
    It is so easy to brand the victim as a racist
    Goodes wants his cake and wants to eat it also
    Get a life…

  4. I found what the article said about NZ and how they treat their indigenous people appears to be true and you can see the results and seem to have more self esteem and happier than here in Australia.

    4 REPLY
    • I agree. I wish we had this culture of learning about the indigenous people as part of our curriculum as well. NZ get it so right & the Maori are not protective of their culture (meaning that they are happy if the non-Maori wish to celebrate their culture).
      Sometimes our indigenous people would be horrified if you wished to do their style of art for instance. We are not taught their culture and they do not teach it either even to their own. We knew an elder & she was mourning that her young people did not know their own language.
      We HAVE to move forward and maybe how NZ do it is a great start, get together with their elders and work out how it can be included in our curriculum so our young are taught something else other than what their parents say behind closed doors.
      Many non-indigenous have a problem with what is perceived special treatment, being lower interest rates for a mortgage, discrimination laws amended so jobs are targeted for indigenous only. Maybe if we did try to integrate them more there would be less resentment.
      I have seen many people who look down at them and this attitude is passed onto their children so it perpetuates. Many have said they are nomadic, but not all of them are, especially in the city. Someone’s suggestion that mining should pay to help is not as crazy as it sounds as the ones that do want to be traditional have had their land taken for mining. As so much money is made when you see the Gina Reinhardts, Clive Palmer who have an obscene amount of personal money surely they could help the displaced people.

    • The Australian aborigines compared to the New Zealand Maoris are chalk and cheese. Our Aborigines most do nothing what so ever to improve themselves with education, business , etc they just keep winging about what happened 200 years ago and they have progresses much from back then. The New Zealand Maori are proud to work to show the rest of the New Zealanders that they are moving forward they have businesses etc huge difference they have pride, they are a compassionate race family orientated they could teach Australian aborigines but they do not want to help themselves so why should anyone respect them they receive a tremendous financial help from the government just they are in a different mind set lazy with a chip on their shoulders they have done nothing to improve Australia just take take take

    • Kay Eller – aborigines get an obscene amount of money from the minning companys now, but the majoritity of it is paid to individuals not communities and is wasted. This is from a people who claim to be nomadic but want money from any area that has value and as for intergration – they dont want to work and live like everyone else and saying that there are many that are doing just that. Cant lump them all together (same as NZ), there are plenty working the National Parks etc as well who are showing their culture to visitors from all places(including Aust) but people like Adam Goodes do them no favours. He is racists and not even that black. He needs to shut up. Black when it suits him.

  5. Once the race card has been played there is no come back— labor & greens have played it so many times in saying Australia is the most racist country in the world that people have turned off listening !!!

  6. He Goodes never did that any other indigenous game. Why now cause he’s the Australia of the year. And I’m not racist cause I love my football no matter how plays

  7. I’m afraid it’s true , Australians are racist , it’s a hard fact to accept but it’s true , I recently watched a program about a Scottish doctor hired outside this continent to service an aboriginal community because they couldn’t find a doctor who would do this from within Australia . I have been shouted at by intoxicated aboriginals to go back to my own country!! , the pain they still feel won’t go away . I’m not a taken in by pathetic attempts to bring their culture into ours , it hasn’t worked and won’t work it’s to divisional . Their education , health care , child care and multitude of problems need addressing , personally I think mining should pay for it all , far too much wealth held by certain individuals while locals live like third world refugees . It’s a big issue and is Now viewed on a world wide stage .

    7 REPLY
    • Good point. Look how much Gina Reinhardt has, she & Clive Palmer could help more. They are making money from their lands,

    • I agree with this and have always said the wealth from mining should be helping the first Australians, they reap the rewards from the land whilst the first Australians live in humpys, with no hope for the future and then drink in despair.

    • Now wait a minute ladies, those people whose land is used for mining get royalties four times a year and it is not a pittance, it is quite substantial, they all get at least and if not more than $25000 per season four times a year, that is every man woman and child, in the families . On top of that if they are not working they get the dole fully paid, and all the benefits that they can tell me where they are not looked after.

    • Just reading the comments already posted here proves how racist Australians are! We have become a very selfish nation intent on keeping the good life that we live to ourselves and being unwilling to share it with others. Until the Government changes its attitude to both Aboriginals and asylum seekers, I don’t think there is much hope of a change of attitude in the people of this country.

    • Unfortunately, Cheryl, a lot of that wealth is being taken by greedy Aboriginals who are pocketing the profits while the rest live below poverty line. It is a sad fact of life that they are ripping off their own people.

    • Yes, Debra. That’s so true. Remember the Aboriginal leader who squandered a huge amount of money – perhaps over a decade ago. He deceived his own people. We’ve had this happen by both blacks and whites to their own races. Shameful behaviour, no matter what race or colour.

  8. Racism…the white mans burden.

    3 REPLY
    • White man’s burden? Have you ever read the back and forth between Indians and Pakistanis on this site? Words fail me!

    • Exactly. The more you travel the more you find that EVERY country has racism; it’s part of human nature. To say that white Australia has “a very unique problem” is garbage.

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