Blackfellas Whitefellas The Aborigines In Australia

936 words - 4 pages

In this day and time the word "diversity" has become such a widely used term in the workplace, schools, and now in the political arena

The book Blackfellas, Whitefellas and the Hidden Injuries of Race is an exploration of the racial outlook of Bourke Australia. The author Gillian Cowlishaw gives a recount of her interviews with the people of Bourke and tries to piece the many ideas and thoughts together. The reasons why some people are treated one way or another and why discriminatory ways are considered the norm even though the residents do not want to be viewed as racists for their treatment or ideas. The title of the book comes from the predominant cultures in the area; the Blackfellas are the Aborigines, and the Whitefellas are the non-Aboriginal people in the community. Cowlishaw talks about the "culture of complaint" between both groups and the common feelings and actions that have bred the racism and discrimination. The Blackfellas feel targeted by the "white whinge" or the references to the burdens the store owners and townspeople feel they have suffered due to their historically ingrained mindset of the Aborigines. The stereotypes against the Aboriginal people are explained as visual perceptions of their lifestyle which is separate from the mainstream rather than real interactive experiences. The non-Aboriginals or Whitefellas complain about the disorder and violence, in some cases imagined, destroying their town which they believe is brought upon by the Aborigines. The frustration from the Whitefellas along with the anger from the Blackfellas and their competing versions of history stirs the ground for the violent activities and rage that was demonstrated in the riots in Bourke in 1997.

The author explains the violence in Bourke and makes note that some proclamations of violence may be imagined although very important in understanding the governing role in how the society functions. There are hidden forms of violence against the Aborigines which are quite often ignored and treated as acceptable. Cowlishaw points out the different categories of violence to include physical, direct hurt, verbal hurt, and psychological vehement expression and painful derogation. The violence in Bourke has manifested in many ways. People have been intentionally and unintentionally hurtful to each other however the punishments tend to be one-sided. The Blackfellas are constantly blamed by the Whitefellas out of the assumptions that these people of dissimilar appearance have violent tendencies. The actions against the Blackfellas are usually looked over or accepted...

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