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Race and Power 1

Race and Power

By (Students Name)

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Australia is made up of people from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. However,

despite the diversity in the racial ethnicity that exist among the people here, there are two major

divisions that are used to define or classify these differences that exist. A person may be

classified as either Indigenous or non-indigenous. This classification is made on the basis of

ones origin and physical attributes or origin. Despite the division that one belongs to, there are a

number of advantages and disadvantages that either of these group faces (Milness, 2001

p.44).Considering that the world has evolved and people in this century have adopted modern

civilization, there are silent voices among the two groups that claim that the two groups have

concerning their identity. These concerns are based on the claims that the non-indigenous people

define and identify the indigenous people basing on racial grounds.

According to (Williams 2014 p.987), racial discrimination in occurs when there is unfair

treatment of people basing on their color, nationality, race and descent among other means. From

the period the nonindigenous people settled in Australia, they have never understood the ways of

the indigenous people. Consequently, the nonindigenous people have attempted many cruel

activities aimed at undermining and subduing the indigenous through things such as the

assimilating their population and even trying to kill and eliminate them. Even today, this

ignorance of unfairly treating people basing on their background continues to be perpetuated and

reflected even by the ruling elite who are mostly made of nonindigenous people. These elite are

blamed for creating policies and rules that favor only the nonindigenous population thus giving

the nonindigenous an unfair advantage over the indigenous population.

Some of the sectors that have been affected by the racial discrimination include

enrollment to hire institutions of learning whereby the indigenous people find it difficult to
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access academic opportunities, employment and employment opportunity (Edwards 2004, p.2).

Consequently, the indigenous people find themselves unable to get the upper hand on aspects

that are important and necessary for their success thus most of them do not end up succeeding in

getting equal opportunities as their counterparts and this feeling leads them to believe that they

are treated unfairly just because of their descent, ethnic and other racial factors.

One of the ways that the non-indigenous state has come to define the indigenous people

is through identity and all the issues around it. For instance, the cultural tradition is not presented

in the education system. Instead, only the non-indigenous culture is used in the education system.

This usage of one culture shows that the indigenous traditions and heritage are considered

inferior by the non-indigenous tradition (Dodson 2001 p.28). This is one way the aboriginal

tradition feels undermined by the non-indigenous state. As a consequence, the aboriginal

community feels like they are forced to consume the literature and the ideologies of the other

community. Therefore, this scenario has been contested by the indigenous people in form of

various arguments. For instance, the as an aboriginal, I feel that the various learning institutions

should facilitate us with the opportunity to also express our identities and instead of orienting us

to their system, culture and beliefs. By so doing, our identity will be maintained and we shall

have a great heritage thus making us feel as if we also matter and do have a voice within our

community. In addition to this, by allowing these aboriginal traditions and studies to be included

in the learning institutions, we will learn to appreciate our own identity and grow up holistically

psychologically, politically and spiritually.

The second way through which the aboriginal people feel like the non-indigenous people

define them differently is through the way the various governments have been treating the

citizens throughout the historical times. For example, ever since 1983, every government that has
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been in place has been controlled by the non-indigenous people as the majority and thus, it has

been passing laws and legislations that are totally meant to puni9sh the aboriginal people and

give them the most unfair conditions of living and survival ever. A good example is the 1909

protection act of the aboriginal whereby the New South Whales passed a legislation which were

meant to control the activities of the indigenous people in Australia. Even so, the real intention

behind such laws were to ensure that the aboriginal people loss their cultural practices, loss of

language and cessation and also the dispersion of their families which led to the dispersing of the

different members of the families of the aboriginal people just to mention but a few (Jaburura

2007 p.1). In addition to these unbelievable evils, certain always were quite punitive against the

aboriginal people and this was mainly based on racial grounds especially against the aboriginal

people. For instance, in 1905, a law was put in place to guard, separate and control the free

movements of the indigenous people and their interaction with others members from the rest of

the state mainly basing on the color or racial differences. Among such punitive laws, the one that

screamed out the most is the one regulating aboriginal children and families from cohabiting.

According to some of the laws of that time, this was made against the law.

Some of the main reasons for such separation and prevention of association between the

two ethnicities or races is based on the fact that the non-indigenous people consider the

indigenous people to be fools and lacking in good qualities which they desired for their

families and the rest of the country. This thinking was most especially fuelled through the

misconstrued qualities of Darwin which seemed to suggest that the non-indigenous people were

at an advanced stage of evolution whereas the aboriginal people were yet to evolve and as such,

they did not have improved mental capacity and were considered to possess less capabilities

when compared to their counterparts. Sadly, this ruthless and cruel control kept going for over
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62 years until the time when this law was abolished from the constitution. Even so, the

consequences of such actions were way too gross and the damage could not be reversed. This

laws which were obviously set by the nonindigenous members of the state were just but a true

reflection of how they defined the aboriginal people and how they thought they deserve to be

treated. It simply showed that they felt they were more superior and dominant over them. This

aspect was even highly propagated by the theories such as post Darwinism which proposed that

the two classifications of the Australian population were at different stages of evolution and as

such, they lacked capacity to be act and enjoy the privileges that the other population was

enjoying (Milroy 2008, p.414). Such cases resulted to the formation of the parties and groups

that fought for the rights of the indigenous people since the early 1920s.

Essentialism in this context refers to shared beliefs that people have a specific set of

characteristics that identify them into a certain group. According to the beliefs of the non-

indigenous, since time in memorial, there has been a need for controlling and directing the

population, movement and socialization of the Indigenous population. Consequently, the

indigenous community has created and developed ways through which we debate, argue and

come up with new strategies that will help us deal with the with the nature of the political

landscape . This effort has resulted in the creation of a strong awareness about the indigenous

people through the advocating for long term pan-indigenous by stressing on the need for the

aboriginal community to continue championing for their rights in political representation among

other aspects. Despite these steps, essentialism theory dictates that we take care of the way we

approach the whole idea otherwise we might find ourselves forming imges of our own identity

and risk ourselves from becoming stereotypes of our own identity. This acknowledgement of the

elements of essentialism is necessary to for the purposes of appreciating our diversity and
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differences when compare d with the non-indigenous populations so as to appreciate the true

healing and reconciliation of both the populations.

In this particular context, othering refers to a manner in which a given group chooses to

treat the other group in a directly opposite manner in which it treats itself or its members. As

such, the one group ends up withdrawing the privileges it offers the members of the other team

while at the same time increasing the benefits it offers the other members. More specifically, in

the Australian example, the aboriginal population feels that the non-indigenous population has

been treating it indifferently in terms of the privileges and benefits that it offers its people.

Therefore, both the two groups started knitting themselves into their own in the bid to amass

the strength to face each other in terms of scrambling for the resources and rights and freedoms

(Williams 2014 p.987). More specifically, the aboriginal population started associations which

sought to defend its rights and freedoms that the non-indigenous population had taken away.

According to the above discussion, the definitions that non-indigenous people of

Australia give the aboriginal people are problematic because they lead to the erosion of their

cultural values. The other problem such definitions cause is the fact that Aboriginal population is

forced to live up to the expectations or standards of the non-indigenous population.

Consequently, the aboriginal population was forced to learn the culture of the other community

at the expense of its own. These ideals led to the general thought that those indigenous people

who were unable to cope or live up to the standards of the white man were to be blamed and for

failing to live up to the ideal standards. This thinking led to the creation of racist ideologies and

notions and attitudes concerning the aboriginal people. This ideologies end up becoming

problematic since they lead both people from the two divides to believe that identity is only

identified basing on their racial capability (Williams 2014 p.987). According to Franz Fanon, the
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aboriginal man is essential zed by the images of the western culture up to a point whereby his life

becomes prescribed.

The discipline of Anthropology in Australia has been very significant in determining the

manner in which the rest of the Australian population has been understanding and treating the

aboriginal population as other. The anthropologists defined the aboriginals using the notions and

ideas based on their homogeneity and cultural identity and integrity. However, despite the

anthropology studies examining the two groups, there is no single study that was done which

could adequately address the relationships between the indigenous populations and that of the

non-indigenous. Nevertheless, the anthropology studies relied on the concept of classifying the

two populations using race a as a factor. Consequently, the aboriginals were classified by the

anthropologists using racial qualities such as the size of their bones, height and related

characteristics (Williams 2014 p.988). These characteristics which were applied by the

anthropologists ended up leading the aboriginals to be classified as other.

Characterizing the indigenous population of Australia as other by the using their physical,

cultural and heritage characteristics is problematic because of various reasons. The first reason

for this assertion is because, by classifying themselves as other is similar to accepting that there

is a difference which makes them to be unique on the basis of racial grounds. This issue is the

same issue that the aboriginal people have been fighting for several years to deal with. Therefore,

by adopting this strategy, it will be ironical to fight the same fight that has been placed against

them for years. Besides this, classifying the indigenous people as other could simply mean

implies that they indigenous people are practicing racialization since they are using physical and

genetic features to categorize themselves (Williams 2014 p.987). This structuring of the social

relations among them would simply mean that they are using race as means of advancing their
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political and social agenda which is more or less the same as what the non-indigenous population

are did.

A. P. Elkins anthropological writings present the best evidence and information that

That is relevant and would help anyone interested in understanding the aboriginals have a clear

view. If his suggestions are put to use by the real aboriginal people, then they would develop a

stronger culture and unity which would enable them to face the limitations and the oppression

that has been imposed in them by the non-indigenous population. By so doing, the aboriginal

people will stand more chances of regaining their cultural identity and a place for their rightfully

earned land.

Failure to recognize the aboriginal people as individuals within the society who deserve the and

instead classifying them as just mere racial and cultural essence has gradual but enormous

political implications. To begin with, the most likely group to be affected by this move is the

children of such individuals. Such children would grow up with low self-esteem and such would

not be able to make good economic contribution to the country. In addition, they will not get to

take advantage of the schooling system and they may end up becoming criminals and

troublesome to the government. The second political implication that would be would be

experienced is that majority of the members of the aboriginal people will not put a lot of trust in

their intuitions. By so doing, the country will be at risk of loss of life or experience lawlessness.

For example, if the people feel the justice system is not fair for them, then the next time these

people are wronged, they will be tempted to take the law into their own hands.
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Milnes, P. D. (2001). From myths to policy: Aboriginal legislation in Western Australia. Perth:

Metamorphic Media. Milroy, H. (2008). Restoring life and spirit: Recovery from trauma. In

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. (2008). Social Justice Report 2007

(p. 414). Sydney: Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,


Williams, George; Brennan, Sean; Lynch, Andrew (2014). Blackshield and Williams Australian

Constitutional Law and Theory(6 ed.). Annandale, NSW: Federation Press. pp. 986

987. "Aboriginality and Identity: Perspectives, Practices and Policies" (PDF). New South

Wales AECG Inc. 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2017.

Edwards, W H (2004). An introduction to Aboriginal societies(2nd ed.). Social Science Press.

p. 2.

AusAnthrop Australian Aboriginal tribal database Jaburara AusAnthrop. Archived from the

original on 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2017-06-12.

Dodson, J.R. (September 2001). "Holocene vegetation change in the mediterranean-type climate

regions of Australia". The Holocene. 11 (6): 673680. doi:10.1191/09596830195690