Throughout Australian history a racist attitude towards Aboriginals has been a significant issue. The instant the early settlers arrived on our shores and colonised, the Aboriginals have been fighting for the survival of their culture. The Aboriginals haven been assimilated, subjugated and marginalized to bring them in line with an idealistic European society. These themes have been put forward by Jack Davis in his stage play, No Sugar, the story of an Aboriginal family’s fight for survival during the Great Depression years. In communicating the racist and hostile attitudes of the dominant white ideology towards, for example, discrimination and assimilation, Davis constructs characters, which are continuously under fire and in opposition to the oppressing dominant white society. Admittedly Davis utilizes his characters to confront the audience and take them out of their comfort zone, thus showing them the reality of Aboriginal treatment. Furthermore this influences the audience to see that discrimination and assimilation are compelling elements in the ongoing cultural survival of Aboriginals within a Western society.
Throughout the Great Depression discrimination and racism were both major issues relating to Aboriginals. Jimmy Munday, one of the more outspoken characters in No Sugar is characterised as the activist and lone Aboriginal voice that is constantly challenging dominant white ideology. Jimmy is a character shown to constantly rebel against the discriminatory attitude towards Aboriginals. He is seen as giving an outlook on life that he would rather suffer by going to jail then yield to an authority he does not recognise. When the officials plan to relocate the Government Well Aboriginals, it reveals the racism in white authority, as the town wants to be devoid of all things Aboriginal, for the sole purpose of a politician winning an election.
Realising he is relatively powerless against the oppressing white society Jimmy continues to treat the white authority with contempt, voicing the discrimination he feels:
“You reckon blackfellas are bloody mugs. Whole town knows why we’re goin. ‘Coz
Wetjalas in this town don’t want us’ ere, don’t want our kids at the school, with their kids, and old Jimmy Mitchell’s tight’ coz they reckon Bert ‘Awke’s gonna give him a hidin’ in the election.”
This illustrates the animosity towards Aboriginals throughout white society, through Jimmy actively resisting dominant white ideology from his marginalized position. Furthermore it shows the strong discriminatory and racist attitude towards Aboriginals. Through Davis’ construction of Jimmy as the activist and lone Aboriginal voice the audience is influenced to see that the white dominant value system showed no remorse in their demoralising actions against Aboriginals.
Assimilation was seen as a major historical practice to attempt to destroy the Aboriginal culture. Aboriginals in No Sugar are able to challenge dominant white ideology, but ultimately they...