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Injustices Towards Aboriginals


In this paper I will discuss some of the injustices directed towards Aboriginals from racism on how being racist can disrupt communities and then from taking the Aboriginal children from their families this was called the stolen generation. With education how Aboriginals were not allowed to go to school and then employment on how difficult it is to get a job and how in earlier years wages were with held and Aboriginals were used as slave labour.

Jaime Beddoni

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Racism Racism is something all Aboriginal people are familiar with. It has caused problems for indigenous people since the beginning of white settlement. Racism is an external factor that has permeated all aspects of Indigenous society. It has caused great disadvantage in employment, housing, health, education and training, and this in turn puts an incredible strain on Aboriginal family life. Racism affects everyone. It damages communities by limiting the contributions of its members and disrupts peaceful co-existence and co-operation between groups. It damages individuals by destroying self-confidence and preventing them from achieving their potential. It is particularly damaging for children as it hampers social development and limits educational opportunities. On 11th August 1958., the state's first chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was formed in Charleston and began boycotts of the Woolworth, Kresge, and Newberry five-and-ten-cent stores which refused to serve African Americans at their lunch counters. The following month, the five-and-ten-cent stores integrated. CORE targeted other cities, including Bluefield and Huntington. Boycotts led to the integration of restaurants, department stores, and movie theaters, although some businesses remained segregated until the late 1960s. Source: Johnson, "Integration in West Virginia Since 1954". In 1961 the West Virginia Human Rights Commission was created by the legislature to fight racism, 50 percent of restaurants, 70 percent of hotels and motels, and 85 percent of pools in the state still discriminated against African Americans. Source: "First Annual Report of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission." A way of countering racism is in the raising of public awareness about Aboriginal society and culture, through the media. According to Langton, M Film, video and television are powerful media: it is from these that most Australians know about Aboriginal people. (I heard it on the radio and I saw it on the televisionPg33).
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A form of racism is stereotyping this is often perpetuated through the media. These are the attitudes that Indigenous people are lazy, drunks, un-educated no hopers, involved in too much crime; that they receive too much from welfare, get treated too leniently by police and courts, and that do not want to work. But its not true for all.

The Stolen Generation The stolen generation began with children taken from their mothers after birth, others were taken once they became toddlers. .As written by Pilkington, D.B Ive come to take molly, Gracie and Daisy, the three half-caste girls, with me to go to school at the Moore River Native Settlement, he informed the family. (Follow The Rabbit-Proof Fence Pg44). Children were taken from Aboriginal parents so they could be brought up white and taught to reject their Aboriginality. Children were placed with institutions and from the 1950s began also being placed with white families Aboriginal children were expected to become labourers or servants, so in general the education they were provided was very poor. Aboriginal girls in particular were sent to homes established by the Board to be trained in domestic service but most became pregnant and then they lost their children. Many Aboriginal families were denied the right to rear and educate and to see their children grow up. They lost these children, and the children became lost themselves, often these children had been taught to hate everything Aboriginal, and this hatred could extend to themselves once they realised their skin was not white but black. Where as with the African American people, they were stolen from their homeland Africa and transported to America and made slaves. They led a life similar to the Australian Aboriginals, they were sold, forced to live in appalling conditions, abused, murdered and had no rights.

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Education Education in Aboriginal Australia was community-based and incorporated into daily life from birth to death, these practices and Indigenous cultures more generally were considered inferior and Indigenous peoples were considered in need of civilising. As stated by Brook, J and Kohen, J.L.The aborigines of this country were insusceptible to any mental improvement which could adapt them to the purpose of civilised association. (The Parramatta Native Institute and the Blacktown : A History Pg 251) In 1848, the Board of National Education reported that it was impracticable to attempt to provide any form of education for the children of the blacks and from 1883, Indigenous children could be barred from public schools if white parents objected to their presence. In 1915, 78 African Americans from West Virginia were attending colleges outside the state because no West Virginia college would admit them. In 1929, the West Virginia Collegiate Institute and the Bluefield Colored Institute conferred the state's first college degrees to African Americans. With the adoption of a national policy of Assimilation, from 1937. Education became a way for governments to achieve assimilation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into white society and so breaking connections with their culture and history. This policy was heavily intertwined with the removal of Indigenous children from their families, known as the Stolen Generations. However even with these policies, Aboriginal children did not have regular mainstream access to primary schooling until the 1950s, and secondary schooling until the 1960s, but this only happened if other white parents agreed. The principal had the power to keep Aboriginals out of school up until the 1970. From the 1970s, Aboriginal people working in the education system have campaigned for improvements to ensure better outcomes for Aboriginal students. Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups (AECGs) began to lobby for appropriate education for Aboriginal people.

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In 1982, the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) developed the first NSW Aboriginal Education Policy (AEP) in partnership with the NSW AECG. The policy was about educating Aboriginal students, involving Aboriginal communities and promoting culturally appropriate teaching. The policy was rewritten in 1995 by the AECG and DET to focus on Aboriginal student outcomes, educating all students about Indigenous Australian history and culture, and implementing mandatory annual school reporting of progress. The new policy is for all students, all staff, and all schools. On 4 September 1957, the Hampshire County Board of Education became one of the last in the state with black students to integrate its schools, when it admitted four African Americans to Romney High School and Capon Bridge Elementary School. At approximately the same time, Jefferson County and Hardy County also integrated. Source: Johnson, "Integration in West Virginia Since 1954," Many young Aboriginal people start school at a great disadvantage. This leads to loss of motivation and they leave school without the necessary education to compete in the wider community.

Employment. Earlier employment for Aboriginal people was a form of slavery most were not paid any money for their work or were paid a very small amount. As written bySykes, R Some adult workers were paid as little as six pence per week, the price of three cigarettes. (Black Majority Pg 64). Others had their money placed in trust and years later had to fight to try and get it back. Wages in later years was never equal to non-indigenous people it equated to less than half of the normal weekly wage. Now Indigenous people are entitled to the same wage as non-indigenous people or else they could sue for discrimination. Its hard to get jobs as there is the racism and discrimination to content with. On March 311959, a study by the West Virginia Advisory Committee on behalf of the United States Commission on Civil Rights reported little progress in the state since
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1954 in regards to employment of African Americans. Only one black engineer was employed in the Kanawha County chemical industry, despite the large number graduated in that field from West Virginia State College.

Kinship Despite the disadvantages in terms of employment and education family bonds remain strong. Aboriginal family life has many positive aspects, which in most cases prevail over the hardships and the pain. A main characteristic of the family is the sense of kinship - the feeling of togetherness, the ability to rely on each other, and the creation of spiritual bonding which helps to give hope and strength to Aboriginal people despite being torn apart since the British invaded. But the whites call it nepotism.

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Brook, J and Kohen, J.L 1991,The Parramatta Native Institute and the Blacktown : A History, NSW University Press Kensington, NSW Australia.

Sykes, R 1989, Black Majority, Hudson Publishing, Victoria Australia. P64

Langton, M 1993, Well, I heard it on the radio and I saw it on the television, Australian film Commission Mick Broderick, North Sydney NSW.

Pilkington, D.B 1996, Follow The Rabbit-Proof Fence, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia Queensland. African Americans.

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