From as early as the early 18th century to date, Australia has had to deal with numerous cases of racism especially with regards to the aboriginal people. What once started as a simple way to describe the rather “absurd” behavior of the aboriginal people has radically evolved into a monster that constantly preys on the societal cohesion in Australia (Anderson and Perrin, 2007, p.19).
We will write a custom Essay on The Impact Of Racial Thought On The Aboriginal People In Relation To Australian History specifically for you
301 certified writers online
As of today, there are countless cases of murder, rape, social injustices, maiming in Australia (especially from Aboriginal people towards the whites) in retaliation to their ostensibly unsolved maltreatments of that dates back to the 1800 (Lehmann, 2006). So how did Australia end up with the sky-rocketing numbers of racial-based killings and injustices to the point of such atrocities being regarded as “normal” by its residents?
According to Anderson and Perrin (2007, p.19), Human beings were primarily considered as being a united entity with the term race being used to refer to nations or tribes. Consequently, race was representative of human beings in general or a subdivision of humans in different places.
However, in the early 18th century, different people began exhibited different patterns of behavior. As a result, the bond that was perceived to be holding human beings, which in fact accorded them the title of ‘race’—started weakening with people beginning to reclassify themselves into groups based on their skin color, tribal and ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic activities and even political groupings. By the second half of the 19th century, race was no longer a term reserved for the human beings as a whole entity as it used to be, it became a word that was used for segregation purposes by one group of people who felt superior to the others (p. 19-p.20).
Preliminary overview of racial thought on the aboriginal people in relations to Australian history
It is also around this time that different researchers, colonialists and political scientists began to take notice of the Aboriginal people in Australia. Apart from their multicolored skin that made them stand out above the native white people of Australia, the Aboriginals had a rather absurd way of life which had never been witnessed before.
Right from their shanty living conditions, non participation in crop and animal farming(which were the main economic activity in Australia), shying away from mingling with the general public and unwillingness to embrace civilization and modernization (in spite of several pleas from the Australian government); the aboriginals made it very difficult for others not to look at them differently. To this effect, Anderson and Perrin (2007, p.21) vocalize the concerns of most researchers at that time by saying that:
The Aborigines’ utter lack of development posed a fundamental challenge to the assumption of human unity. “In so far as the Aborigine could not be assimilated to the conception of race as a subdivision, or mere variety of the human, the elaboration of polygenism in the mid nineteenth century can be understood as a reaction to this crisis”.(Lehmann, 2006).
Additionally, even from the philosophical and biblical perspective, being human meant the capacity to improve your environment and the noteworthy efforts that a person makes towards improving his/her environment while also having a sense of religious belief.
This, however, was not the case of the Aboriginals who arguably did nothing to better their environment. It is based on these precepts that the whites in Australia, together with many other people from other countries, started looking down upon the Aboriginals and in turn, the abstract concept Racism got life in the heart of Australia (Anderson and Perrin, 2007, p.19-25).
Impact of the Racial thought of Aboriginal people in Australia
Once the whites began viewing the aboriginal people on racial lines, the once relatively peaceful Australia turned into a chaotic nation with constant cases of face-offs between the two opposing sides. In addition, the general public also began to feel the heat as it was no longer safe just to mingle with anybody—especially the whites and the multicolored people (Anderson and Perrin, 2007, p.19-24).
Moreover, the concept of racism further moved into other countries and translated into general viewing of multi-colored people (especially blacks) as being inferior to the white people.
As a results, the whites were able to get a lion’s share of anything that was under contention; be it leadership positions, economic privileges, better housing and education systems, better healthcare and even being able to easily win court cases(Anderson and Perrin, 2007, p.21-23). It is also from here that terms like “negro” (which is used to offensively refer to blacks) came into existence.
There were also more pronounced cases of the aboriginals being branded abusive and derogative names which greatly affected their self esteem thus overall well being. Anderson and Perrin (2007, p.21) explicate this by saying that “The miserable condition of Australia’s Aborigines led the evolutionists to consider them as representative of the earliest stage of human evolution.”
This is probably the reason why Lord Monbodo is quoted insultingly referring to them as “Man in his original form” as he mockingly describes their poor living conditions (p.22).
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Additionally, the racial thoughts hindered or, rather, slowed down the colonial conquests that were aimed at Australia since the Aboriginals greatly opposed any form of white-man leadership. This resistance was also witnessed by the white missionaries who tried to convert them into Christianity. Moreover, most of the aboriginals had Indian origin thus believed in polytheism rather than Christianity. It was only until the 20th century that the missionaries began to get a hearing from the multicolored people.
A more devastating impact witnessed because of the racial thoughts was untimely deaths. At some point during the duel, the aboriginals were said being in the verge of extinction. This was mainly because most of them died due to poor health facilities, malnutrition, and deaths resulting from sporadic gang wars with the whites (Anderson and Perrin, 2007, p.33). This is probably the reason why, to date, the aboriginals are still seeking revenge.
Additionally, the racial thoughts slowed down the pace of development and industrialization in Australia since most people wasted most of their time fighting rather than spending it in bettering their lives and building the country. This was further accentuated by the fact that during the conflict, a lot of valuable resources got destroyed by the opposing sides.
By the time the Whites and the multicolored groups woke up to the reality that their conflict was just a mere waste of time, most of the countries were already way ahead of them in terms of technological advancements and economic strength. On a positive note though, it is inherent to note that the Australian government has been on the forefront of trying to mitigate the racial thoughts. However, there is still more that needs to be done if this issue is to be circumspectly finished.
In spite of the aboriginal racialism having been greatly stemmed out radically over the recent past (as partly aforementioned); its meandering roots are still strongly intertwined in the social fabric of Australia. This is the reason why Lehmann (2006), in his report “Racist attacks increase” talks of Aboriginals and whites still fighting each other. So if a lasting solution is to be found for this problem, then, elementarily, then a cumulative effort from the government and people is direly required.
Correcting the racial ills done in the past would be a good start for here. Of course this might take a while, but it will eventually pay off invaluably to all of us. An apt example here is South Africa that currently enjoys a relatively peaceful environment after having made reconciliatory talks between the blacks and whites.
This came about as a collective effort of South Africans so as to do away with the haunting ghosts of the pronounced era of apartheid. From that time onwards, many others countries and regions have been able to follow in those footsteps; and bountifully reaped from the peace found thereof.
Finally, let us all remember that real change begins with you and me; So however little positive effort we make, it will all be to our own betterment and to the best interest of those around us. More aptly put in the word of the famous philosopher Goethe, “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door and the whole world will be clean!”
Anderson, K and Perrin, C (2007) The Miserablest People in the World’: Race, Humanism and the Australian Aborigine. Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney.
Lehmann, M. (2006) Racist attacks on the increase: Aboriginal gangs terrorize whites. Australian News.com. Web.