Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Black Steam Train: Success - we like it white

The Black Steam Train: Success - we like it white

Success - we like it white

Why are these people smiling?


The two on the left are smiling because they've not long returned from
Harvard.  The two on the right are smiling because they're about to
depart for Oxford.

The 2012 Charlie Perkins Trust Scholars

These three (excluding of course, the not-for-much-longer PM) are smiling because they're off to Oxford & Cambridge.

And yes, they're all Aboriginal.  All helped to achieve their dreams and
more success than they imagined by the generous people at the Roberta
Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation & The Charlie Perkins
Scholarship Trust, with help from the faithful taxpayers of course. 

Both organisations make some pretty high aims.  Some of them I even
agree with, like needing more positive Aboriginal role models and
mentors out there, however, I disagree with having an overwhelming
majority of white faces cast to play those roles.  That is not to say
that each of those people in the photo above won't be a great role model
due to their achievements and efforts for their own family, or their
friends, but a nationwide beacon of hope to all Aboriginal people? You
can't even hope to claim such a thing is true.

What these opportunities have done is help these specific people.  Not
all Aboriginal people .  We have no end of Doctors, Lawyers, Academics,
Artists and Authors who identify as Aboriginal, however - it seems a
smaller and smaller number of those are easily identifiable as
Aboriginal - and therein lies the difference.  Whilst someone of a
similarly fair complexion who identifies as Aboriginal may be able to
look up to the group above and see one or more of them as someone whose
achievements they can aspire to, that is just not the case for me. 

Perhaps, what is most disappointing, is the fact that when we question
this lack of black faces among those receiving assistance in the name of
Aboriginal Equality, we're called racist, or perpetrators of Lateral
Violence.   Whilst taking part in the 'Aboriginal or Not' SBS program,
Greg Lehmann stressed the point that those of us questioning the motives
of those like him were guilty of Lateral Violence and responsible for
much of the infighting amongst Aboriginal people.

A pretty comfortable position to take when you're on the blackfella dollar at Oxford, bruz

Similarly, Kyle Turner, recipient of a scholarship in excess of $50,000
for Aboriginal students, wrote a piece denouncing any questioning of
heritage in a piece in The Global Mail in
August last year, using the tired line of 'Bolt is a neo-con', rather
than address the questions people like Bolt have even raised. It is just
easier to keep labelling people I guess, as engaging in a dialogue on
the issues may just bring to the surface some uncomfortable truths that
cast some of us in an unfavourable light.

But who is that helping to succeed?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...