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Archive for the ‘racism in australia’ Category

The Virus. An Australian Story.

Posted by carolom on March 13, 2017

The Virus is a representative story and although the names and some of the details have been changed for narrative purpose, it is a true story.

The Virus. An Australian Story

I was 5 or 6 years old a migrant child of parents who were swept away from the sooty chimney towns of Britain’s working class north by the promises of a bright new life in a young country.
A country brimming, spilling and erupting with extraordinary  opportunities for people, white people, who dreamt of owning their very own land. Australia.

We were the ten pound package , government assisted, chance of a life time Brits who flocked in their thousands to these shores and landed like sparkling white seagulls

Noisy chattering seagulls, filling the migrant hostels with stories and speculations, big plans on low bank accounts. New arrivals on  the look out for the best morsels of the promised opportunities.

Poms they called us, the latest flock of new arrivals following in the footsteps of the exiled convicts and our sea faring ancestors who came to seize new territory in a land that was not young at all.

Big skies, wide streets, pupil dazzling light. Brand new asbestos houses far removed from the tall sooty terrace flats cramped side by side back Home.

We staggered wearily, eagerly into government issue houses that nestled expectantly in the middle of tiny little paddocks. Neatly sliced quarter acre blocks that beckoned the new arrivals to seed a brand new life and sow a future far removed from the misty grey land where the sun rarely shines.

This was The Lucky Country and we thought that we were very lucky indeed! There was much to learn and many new things to see and for awhile my migrant child’s world was consumed with more space,  new friends, big school, new sounds, interesting sights and beach time delights!

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In fact we were so immersed in our new life we were utterly, completely, mind numbingly oblivious to the Land where we were living.

That is when the virus struck.

I remember the day it happened.

Unlike those silent viruses that sit invisibly on taps waiting to hitch a ride on fingertips that brush past lips, this insidious, relentless, sickening parasite travelled effortlessly upon the breath transmitted upon invisible sound waves, elusive in their source, the destination always the same.

It was very hard for young children to escape a germ such as that!

I was standing by the milk shed when the virus struck.

The current host was a plump red freckly boy called George. He was no doubt named after a king, an uncle or grandfather back Home .

The kids called George names like dot-face and carrot top.
Giggling and laughing, George entertained us by pulling faces and joining in the fun. His best friend stood with us. Peter Green, an Australian boy who was fond of saying “we go back 6 generations”, even though he didn’t really know what it meant. His father said it all the time so it must have been important.

Peter was teaching George the real Australian way!

We were standing in the cool shade, a rare find across the sweltering expanse of the asphalt playground when the virus emerged and the first cross infection occurred.

In a loud voice that announced his cockney origins wherever he went, George sang out four words in the mocking tone of a confident child: Dirty coon, rotten baboon.

Four words that speared my consciousness and left a tender wound, a vulnerable space to host a virus that I was too young to fight.

Georges words invoked contempt.  A voracious contempt that swept through the crowded school yard as quickly as it took to catch one another’s breath. I followed Georges eyes and saw the object of his loathing.
Curly haired Lindy and her little brother Jimmy the Aboriginal kids.

The Blacks. 

Lindy and Jimmy stood out from the sea of white faces. Shiny black birds surrounded by vicious seagulls. They stood holding the eyes of their attacker whilst holding tightly onto one another’s hand.

Jimmy leaned towards his big sister terrified that the big kid with the flaming red hair was about to lunge and squash him then and there.

They were the outcast kids. The Abo’s who were never ever invited to play our games.

Peter smiled at George approvingly and one or two others snickered our way as the virus twisted itself across children’s faces annihilating the anti-bodies of innocence, feasting upon the collective enjoyment of someone else being teased.

This particularly robust virus had its own language.

After coon followed different words boong-boong –that’s the noise they make when the bull bar hits them.

Before long other children joined in the heckling until a bubonic plague of racist torment swamped us all in its vitriolic grip.

That was the day I learnt a new A, B C. The uniquely Australian alphabet.

A. B. C.

Abo
Boong
Coon.

This was the Australian alphabet I was infected with as a child.

In the Lucky Country, a  magnificent land older than the mountains,  with Secrets winding back through time, something terrible occurred.

A virus was unleashed but it was in circulation long before our little family travelled to the down under shores.

What became of Lindy and Jimmy? Innocent children who were called half castes, treated as out casts. Removed from their Mother, kidnapped before her very eyes.She grieved until she died only a few years later.
Thanks to the power of forgiveness and decency and common sense, strong medicines for curing the malaise of toxic tongues and the virus that leaves many deaf and mute and blind, Lindy and Jimmy and I became friends.
Precious friends and together we are all in recovery from the virus that strikes so many innocent children down.

Unity updated
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Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Australia's abuse of human rights, Carol Omer, Racism, racism in australia, Reconciliation, Relationships, Sorry | Leave a Comment »

The “N” word and the A,B,C of racism here in Australia.

Posted by carolom on June 21, 2016

*Dedicating this updated post to Nova Peris today after the man who sent her messages with these words in them, pleaded guilty:

 

The Intergenerational Impact of Australia’s Racist History

I have often thought that those divisive, racist terms, Australia’s equivalent to the word,  the ABC of racism, have not been publicly outed here in Australia.

It’s as if those derisive names and derogatory terms have gone underground yet still live and perpetuate in the collective psyche today, erupting occasionally but generally not aired or brought to the light of public discussion and transformation.

I pre-empt the following with an apology to those who are offended.  In the context of the word discussion it is important that we acknowledge the toxic, pervasive impact of the words abo, boong & coon and the inference of the superiority of one group by the demonising of another.   Dehumanising words that  were instilled in the post European settlement consciousness  of  this country.

As a migrant child in the  60’s hearing the adults use the terms in a derisive, mocking, disdainful manner transmitted their racist origins down through the generations and their legacies are alive and breathing long after the first people who uttered them have gone.

That old adage that you can’t heal it until you claim it is as relevant when discussing collective language and divisive stereotyping as it is when discussing personal  mental, emotional and spiritual wounds.

It is the very early days of recovery from the violence of colonisation in this country and naming and accepting responsibility for the impact of the language of Australia’s history of apartheid that was linguistically coded into our schoolyards and policies in very recent times, is another step in the healing process and journey of restorative justice.

An Aboriginal Woman said to me recently: Unless you have experienced it, a person could never know what it feels like to have your culture, your tribe and community demonised to the point where just the word “Aborigine” triggers fear, distrust and loathing in people who have never even sat down with us and had a yarn.

Australia’s history of colonisation, which was an invasion into an occupied country whose inhabitants had   highly sophisticated systems of governance & environmental practices, is the story of many first nations people right across the globe. Domination, theft, rape, genocide, kidnapping of children and loss of language and identity and the slow and painful inter-generational recovery for a nation of people living in the post traumatic state.

I sometimes wonder if people outside of Australia are aware that there are uniquely Australian counterparts to that loathesome and highly political word “nigger’

They are words that imprison the innocent and are not discussed openly  in Australia or made accountable for the role that they have played in demonising one race in order to serve the agenda of another.

Deep within the psyche and at the fore front of many people’s thinking & belief systems, the ABC – abo, boong and coonof Australia’s shameful & very recent past is still very much alive and breathing  a fresh generation of racism despite progress being made in some areas of Reconciliation and healing.

This is what the women in our Aboriginal Women’s Healing groups have told me over and over and when an Aboriginal grandmother is standing at the bus stop with her three grandchildren and a car full of teenagers drives by and calls out boongs, it is evidence that the virus of racism is still beng transmitted in Austraia today.

Click here to read “The Virus” – a story of how racism is ‘caught’ in the schoolyard…

Definition of boong in the Urban Dictionary reveals the derogatory intent of the term:Urban dictionary Definition of ‘boong’

Many Warriors are still in chains.

For more on this topic, I highly recommend the following book “Blood on the Wattle” which details the history of some of the massacres across Australia. It is a hard book to read but one that should be read by every Australian.
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Posted in Abo, Aboriginal, Aborigines in Chains, Apartheid in Australia, Australia, Australia's abuse of human rights, Boong, Coon, Human Rights, Indigenous, Nigger, Racism, racism in australia, Reconciliation, Slavery in Australia, What Oprah should know, What the Australian Tourism Commission won't tell you | Tagged: | 19 Comments »