I’m becoming more and more certain as I engage in my second degree that Australia, the white side of the society, is deeply ashamed of itself and rightly so. This would explain the way many Australians are assimilating into American culture: by divesting themselves of their brutal and hypocritical past and aligning themselves with the ‘winners’, they may avoid addressing their shame.
In Grade 11, way back in 1990, I was excited to choose modern history as an elective. Finally I was going to learn about Australia! However, on the first day whilst the teacher was blabbing, I flicked through the slim text looking for the section on my country, on our country, on who we are and what we did.
ANZAC was mentioned a few times but that was it.
In a lull whilst the teacher seemed to have reached an anticlimax in her intro, I put my hand up and waited: ‘Are we going to study Australian history? There’s nothing in here about Australia.’
In this second degree, which is at an Australian university populated with mostly Australian lecturers, with a course titled Australian Voices, the vast majority of content is American. Does this mean we have no-one in this country with an expertise in collaboration? Who produces good movies? Why are Aboriginal artists siloed into their own section? Why are Australian artists conspicuously noted, rather than non-Australian?
The default is clear.
The Nazis persecuted the Jews, Gays and Gypsies for a few years. The white Christian colonising British seem intent on persecuting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for a few centuries. No surprise at all that we white people do not teach our children Australia’s history in schools or even at universities, unless you happen to get one with an excellent program such as at USQ.
‘We acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands.’
More token white washing.
The absolute cowardice white Australia demonstrates is reflected in this country’s headlong dive into identification with the Americans. The absolute brutality of colonial Australia continues unaddressed with the subversive and social violence perpetrated on Aboriginal peoples still.
Australians are terrified of their white heritage as it indicates just how horrific human nature is, especially when it is cloaked with religious pretensions, especially when those pretensions depend upon the funding of the rich white ruling class.
What a disgusting society.
Meanwhile, I go back to my studies gaining knowledge from American hegemony, the ‘winners’, who actually did sign treaties with First Nations peoples but repeatedly ignore such whenever it doesn’t make their government lose votes. I continue reading a language from a foreign country, ‘American English’. One of my professors wasn’t even sure Australian Standard English existed or was relevant. In a class for creative writing. In Australia. For Australians.
So not much has changed since 1990: white Australia, with the help of the Liberal Party, has moved even closer to creating an authoritarian state which identifies with Americans and self-monitors anyone who differs.
I get the same death stares in 2022.
I’m ashamed to be Australian.
I’d like there to be some changes around here if no one minds terribly.