This documentary on Ten, about Adam Goodes, has made me very reflective – The Final Quarter.
Firstly, it highlighted for me how minorities (whether Aboriginals, other races or religions, and women) are able to rise in their chosen field, so long as they stay under the radar, and don’t call out their differences. When they establish a platform, and then start using that platform to call out discrimination against their minority status, they are slammed for it.
This documentary did not have any new interviews or voice overs – it was all just snippets from the press and media at the time. Edited, obviously, but was it edited fairly …?
Adam Goodes, a two-times winner of the Brown Lowe medal, and a multi-premiership played in the AFL, called out a racist punter of an opposing team he was playing. The media around this went crazy. Early the next year, he was awarded Australian of the Year at an Australia Day ceremony. The racism escalated from there – mostly driven by old, white, male commentators in the media.
Secondly, the documentary highlighted how little I knew about the Aboriginal culture, except for generalist concepts. I learnt very little in school, and mostly incorrect information apparently. Otherwise, I had a child’s picture book of Aboriginal legends or dreamtime stories.
Other than some fiction written in recent years by award-winning Aboriginal authors, I haven’t educated myself much, so I took it upon myself to read Dark Emu. This is a brilliant book, and it’s unveiled a lot of gaps in my knowledge. And awakened a love for the Aboriginal culture.
I am so proud to live in a country where the first people have had a continuous culture for over 60,000 years. This is a longer living culture than any of the other human empires. It has been the most stable culture, and a very complex one at that.
I am ashamed to be a descendant of British settlers, which have actively massacred Aboriginals, but also inadvertently destroyed their culture in much more subtle ways. I had previously told myself that many Aboriginals died of the diseases brought to the country by the British, but the reality is far more violent. We burnt their villages, people who wanted the land lied about the settlements, and we destroyed their ways of propagating food, storing food and feeding large groups of settled people.
With this mixture of pride and shame, I don’t know what to do … expect continuing to read, research and appreciate. Maybe I can help educate some others, to remove more ignorance …