The situation of traditional Aboriginals in Australia in particular and the Aboriginal issue in general has come up in a couple of conversations lately and I, like many Australians, just feel at a loss as to how it can be resolved.
The level of lies, propaganda, delusion and distortion which is presented by the extreme elements of the aboriginal industry beggar belief, but the troubling thing is that no-one seems have any sort of answers.
Raging and ranting about wrongs done decades and centuries ago, both real and imagined, achieves nothing but greater frustration in the broader Australian community and an entrenched sense of victimhood in Aborigines – which never helps anyone.
As an individual, a culture, nation, community, race, gender or whatever, who has suffered or been oppressed and wronged, it is a clear truth, that facing one’s wounds and then moving on is required for psychological and emotional health. Continuing to rage and rant about wrongs is unhealthy and ultimately destructive for anyone and merely entrenches a belief in victimhood and powerlessness. If such an approach worked Aborigines would not be suffering as they are today. They would have come to terms with their ‘bad childhood,’ forgiven even if never forgetting, healed and moved on. They have not and this is partly due to the obsession with a past which cannot be changed at the cost of focus on a present which can be.
What is the answer to the problems that Aborigines face – the same problems indigenous people in Canada and the United States face – how is it solved?
Taking into account that Australia in 2013 spent $24billion on Aborigines, that’s right, $24billion to the billions spent over decades and centuries trying to improve the quality of life for our indigenous people who, in 2001 were 2.4% of the population and in 2013 were 3% of the population which is 690,000 people for whom $24billion is allocated – crunch the numbers per head – and we still have not solved the problems. Clearly money is not the answer or how money is spent is not the answer.
Let’s also bear in mind that the allocation would not go to all who call themselves Aboriginal because the label is fairly flexible and you can have a tenuous Aboriginal connection with no more than one great, great, great grandparent etc., and still be Aboriginal and eligible for the benefits which come from positive discrimination. One presumes those who are as Aboriginal as any of us, in any real sense, do not apply for the benefits so the number who actually ‘benefit’ from the $24billion per year and the countless billions over just the past 50 years, would be substantially smaller.
It is no consolation but it is worth knowing that some $3trillion has been poured into Africa in aid in the past 50 years and the average African is worse off than they were 30 years ago, so money as aid clearly does not work well anywhere.
So, what can be done? For all of those gasping in horror at the distortions and often outright lies posted on extremist sites about genocide, massacres, apartheid etc., in Australia, I can only ask – what do you suggest? How can this be fixed?
As a digression, one interesting statistic for those who claim Australia is more racist than others – the rate of intermarriage between Australians and immigrants is the fastest and amongst the highest in the world. Even more interesting is that intermarriage between Aborigines, or those who call themselves Aboriginal and other Australians, whatever their race, is even higher. Which rather puts paid to the raging racism theory applied to Australia in recent times. Racists do not marry out of race!
Aborigines have full rights as citizens and more rights in fact than non-Aboriginal Australians. They have been given land back in many instances. They have been supported in their efforts to maintain a semblance of so-called traditional life. They have been treated more leniently than non-Aboriginal parents in regard to child neglect and child abuse and not sending children to school. Domestic abuse in Aboriginal communities has been treated more leniently than it is for non-Aboriginal Australians. And yet here we are!
So if none of that has worked what can we try next? What has not been tried?
It will not surprise you to learn that the way Australia has treated its indigenous people and approached their problems is little different to Canada – a country with a similar size geographically and a similar size population and the Canadians have the same sorts of problems with their indigenes.
So we can’t look to the Canadians. The Americans are in a similar situation so we can’t look to the Americans. The New Zealanders also have high levels of social dysfunction in Maoris so we can’t look to them.
Perhaps it is time to take into account that every single one of these immigrant and colonising nations, at least in recent historical terms, has a core factor in common – none of them have sought assimilation and all of them have followed a policy of allowing their indigenous people to remain ‘separate’ as they seem to wish and to limit assimilation. All of them have given ‘positive discrimination’ benefits; all of them have tried to take into account so-called cultural sensitivities – all of them have failed!
Not only have they all failed, the level of dysfunction and suffering has continued to grow to higher and higher levels.
So, my question remains, if not increased assimilation and forced education and accountability to social standards then what? I, like most Australians would be delighted, relieved and enormously grateful for a functional solution. I am perfectly happy for that solution to not be assimilative – I don’t care, as long as it is a solution!