Countering Indigenous disadvantage

Australia’s politicians talk frequently about ‘bridging the gap.’ This gap refers to the relative socio-economic status of the First Nation People of Australia. They represent the underclass of society. There are, however, quite a few achievers of note within this community, mainly through personal effort.

One Prime Minister said “Sorry” on behalf of the nation. Other politicians come across as sincere in their wish to reduce indigenous disadvantage. Against that, a State Government was once accused of deflecting federal funds to other policy objectives. And there was a lot of talk once of fly-in and fly-out consultants.

Remarkably, an African-American established 8 years ago an organisation in Australia involving the private sector, “Career Trackers,” which “mentors indigenous university students into professional jobs.” Its success has attracted the attention of Maori and Pacifika leaders.

Here are extracts from an article by Caitlin Fitzsimmons in the Sydney Morning Herald of 7 Feb. 2018.

Modelled on the INROADS program for African-Americans, Career Trackers provides support for participants during their studies and matches them with paid internships during university holidays.

Despite being 2.8% of the population, Indigenous Australians compose 1.7% of the workforce. Career Trackers is trying to change that – and it’s reporting amazing results. There are 1354 students in the program and 108 corporate partners. A number of companies have committed to take paid interns from the program for at least 10 years, including major law and engineering firms.

Less than half of Indigenous university students make it to graduation, according to the Australian Council for Educational Research, but Career Trackers says nearly 9 out of 10 of its participants do.

Career Trackers says a whopping 95% of its alumni are in full-time employment within three months of graduating.

 The median weekly income for all Australians is $662 and for Indigenous Australians only $441 – but for Career Trackers alumni it is $1192.

It would be naive to think Indigenous disadvantage will be solved by a few corporate internships.

(Comment: Some real progress – at last. This comment is based on 70 years of observation of Australian society.)

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The Alexander mythos (3)

“Another myth is propagated by the Western historians that Alexander was noble and kind king, he had great respects for brave and courageous men, and so on. The truth is other-wise. He was neither a noble man nor did he have a heart of gold. He had meted out very cruel and harsh treatment to his earlier enemies.

Basus of Bactria fought tooth and nail with Alexander to defend the freedom of his motherland. When he was brought before Alexander as a prisoner, Alexander ordered his servants to whip him and then cut off his nose and ears. He then killed him. Many Persian generals were killed by him.

The murder of Kalasthenese, nephew of Aristotle, was committed by Alexander because he criticised Alexander for foolishly imitating the Persian emperors. Alexander also murdered his friend Clytus in anger. His father’s trusted lieutenant Parmenian was also murdered by Alexander. The Indian soldiers who were returning from Masanga were most atrociously murdered by Alexander in the dead of night. These exploits do not prove Alexander’s kindness and greatness, but only an ordinary emperor driven by the zeal of expanding his empire.”

(source: Alexander, the Ordinary – By Prof. Dinesh Agarwal).
Alexander’s raid of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, finally turned out to be a overthrow of the Achaemenid dynasty, usurpers of the Assyrian Empire. Unable to make headway into India, as the Indian Brahmins had helped and influenced Indian princes to organize and support the Indian war against Alexander. Greek sources cite, after this realization, at ‘The City of Brahmans’, Alexander massacred an estimated 8000-10,000 of these non-combatant Brahmans.

Alexander’s massacres in India, a colonial historian informs us (without naming a source), earned him an “epithet … assigned (to) him by the Brahmins of India, The Mighty Murderer.” This Indian Brahmanic characterization of Alexander, commonly taught to English schoolchildren and present in English college texts, as The Mighty Murderer, curiously disappeared from Western-English texts soon after 1860 – and instead now “a positive rose-tinted aura surrounds Alexander” … !

Since Indian texts were completely silent about the very existence of Alexander, colonial Western historians had a free run. Using hagiographic Greek texts as the base, Alexander became the conqueror of the world.

(source: The Alexander mythos – 2ndlook.wordpress.com).

The religious scripture of ancient Iranians was the Avesta. The Avesta available today is only a fraction of what existed thousands of years ago. When Alexander captured Iran (Persia) in 326 B. C. after a bloody war, he destroyed each copy of the Avesta available. After return of political stability Persian priests tried to salvage the Avesta and much had to be written from memory. Another cruel legacy of Alexander.
(Source: Hindu Wisdom)

 

(Comment:  Fake news, or the truth?  I am not an Indian, and have no connection with India)

 

Revolt

“The Negro revolt is not aimed at winning friends, but at winning freedom, not interpersonal warmth, but institutional justice.”   Harvey Cox, US educator, 1966

“In order to get rid of the gun, it is necessary to take up the gun.”  Mao Tse Tung, 1966

“Riots are the voices of the unheard.”   Martin Luther King, 1968

 

Perspectives of colour

The majority of black people are grateful for what the government is doing to uplift them.” James Kruger, South African police and justice minister 1978

Coloured people only want three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit,” Earl Butz. Forced to resign. 1976

“I wanted to know how women reacted under various circumstances. It was like cutting through red tape. I was very concerned to see how deep the rejection of blacks by whites would go.” Eldridge Cleaver, former Black Panther leader. Jailed. 1980

Former British territories

Territories excluding Dominions

Country Date Year of Independence
 Afghanistan August 19 1919 Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 The treaty granted complete independence from Britain; although Afghanistan was never a part of the British Empire.
 Antigua and Barbuda 1 November 1982
 Australia 1 January 1901 Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900
Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia on 16 September 1975.
 The Bahamas 10 July 1973
 Bahrain 15 August 1971
 Barbados 30 November 1966 Barbados Independence Act 1966
 Belize 22 September 1981 September Celebrations of Belize
 Botswana 30 September 1966
 Brunei 1 January 1984
 Canada 1 July 1867 British North America Act 1867
 Cyprus 1 October 1960 16 August 1960, but Cyprus Independence Day is commonly celebrated on 1 October.[1]
 Dominica 3 November 1978
 Egypt 28 February 1922
 Fiji 10 October 1970
 The Gambia 18 February 1965
 Ghana 6 March 1957
 Grenada 7 February 1974 Independence Day (Grenada)
 Guyana 26 May 1966
 India 15 August 1947 Independence Day (India)
 Israel 14 May 1948 Yom Ha’atzmaut
 Iraq 3 October 1932
 Jamaica 6 August 1962 Independence Day (August 6)
 Jordan 25 May 1946
 Kenya 12 December 1963
 Kiribati 12 July 1979
 Kuwait 25 February 1961
 Lesotho 4 October 1966
 Malawi 6 July 1964
 Malaysia 31 August 1957 Hari Merdeka
Singapore gained independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.
 Maldives 26 July 1965
 Malta 21 September 1964
 Mauritius 12 March 1968
 Myanmar 4 January 1948 Gained independence as Burma. Renamed Myanmar in 1989, but still officially known by the United Kingdom government as Burma.
 Nauru 31 January 1968 Independence from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand on 31 January 1968.
 New Zealand 26 September 1907 Dominion Day
Samoa gained independence from New Zealand on 1 January 1962.
New Zealand has responsibilities for two freely associated states:
Cook Islands (from 4 August 1965)
Niue (from 19 October 1974)
 Nigeria 1 October 1960
 Pakistan 14 August 1947 Independence Day (Pakistan)
Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971 (recognized in 1974).
 Qatar 3 September 1971 Qatar National Day
 Saint Lucia 22 February 1979
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 19 September 1983
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 27 October 1979
 Seychelles 29 June 1976
 Sierra Leone 27 April 1961
 Solomon Islands 7 July 1978
 South Africa 11 December 1910 1931 adoption of Statute of Westminster. Not a public holiday. Union of South Africa formed on 31 May 1910 and Republic declared on 31 May 1961 and left the British Commonwealth on the same day.
Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990.
 Sri Lanka 4 February 1948 Gained independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. Renamed Sri Lanka in 1972.
 Sudan 1 January 1956  South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011.
 Swaziland 6 September 1968
 Tanzania 9 December 1961
 Tonga 4 June 1970
 Trinidad and Tobago 31 August 1962
 Tuvalu 1 October 1978
 Uganda 9 October 1962
 United Arab Emirates 2 December 1971 National Day (United Arab Emirates)
 United States 3 September 1783 Fourth of July. Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776. Independence achieved de facto 1781, and de jure 1783.
 Vanuatu 30 July 1980 Independence from United Kingdom and France in 1980
 Yemen 30 November 1967 South Yemen 1967
 Zambia 24 October 1964
 Zimbabwe 18 April 1980 {Responsible self-government 1923. de facto independence 11 November 1965.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Comment: It is simply amazing how a small nation could acquire such a vast empire. Then, there was that great reluctance to deny independence.  Compare that with the current emphasis on sovereignty through what is known as Brexit!   

No black ‘tall poppies’ allowed

Traditionally, (at least, in the 1950s and thereabouts) Australians (about 85% were deemed to be of the working class) tended to cut down ‘tall poppies.’ So I was told. Why should this have been so? Here are possible explanations.

Australia was initially populated by the ‘lower orders’ of Britain. When North America was no longer available for taking the output of Britain’s program of cultural cleansing, Australia was the next best alternative depository. Then there evolved a policy that Australia would be ‘a white man’s paradise,’ in which no man would ‘reject any kind of work’ (so I read). The White Australia policy necessarily followed. The associated ethos of a ‘fair-go’ approach – equal opportunity, at least for white men – was in evidence when I entered the country in the late 1940s. Employees claimed equal status with their bosses.

I noted, with approbation, the stand-tall stance of the Australian worker. This was confirmed when I was a tram conductor, and worked in factories, for short periods. He would make an excellent role model in those rich Asian nations exploiting the lower orders. Strangely, as I was told by a veteran of the trenches of World War 1, it was the immigrant British communist union leaders who had achieved the rights of the Australian workers.

In the resulting relatively classless society which offers social mobility, any tall poppies may tend to keep a low profile. If anyone is attacked publicly, it would most likely be by the fog-horn using media which would be responsible. Its notables are paid richly to (apparently) stir up the lower ranks of the hoi polloi. I am not sure whether anyone else cares.

But, let a coloured (sorry, ‘black’) person become a notable, he will be torn down by many. A socially-integrated and exceptionally-gifted Aboriginal football player, and a multi-skilled Australian Muslim (broadcaster, academic, writer and musician) have drawn the ire of obviously supremacist whites.

What I hear is this. ‘Why should a ‘black,’ especially a Muslim, dare to be prominent in our society?’ ‘Be like us, but not above us!’ There may be other learned explanations (eg. the lack of ethnic diversity in the media; or an increasing tendency for some ‘commoners’ to be ‘outraged’ all the time); but these are not convincing.

Colour or religious prejudice, laid upon ignorance, provide a persuasive explanation for cutting down black ‘tall poppies.’  An additional explanation may be this: a shallow morality!

Becoming colour blind

“No dogs and Chinamen” said the sign outside the prestigious Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of British Malaya. Today, a multicultural and integrated Malaysian people (including the powerful Malay Muslims ruling the nation) utilise the Club.

For me, a visiting ex-Malayan Australian, it was the sight of a few dark-brown men wearing sandals and Malaysian shirts which impressed. They were (as I was told) local lawyers, indicating the extent to which the caste and class distinctions of the past had become irrelevant. In this context, I recall, with disgust, a Christian Ceylonese doctor who had his teenage Hindu servant sit on the floor in the back of his car.

Rubber-tapper Indian families used to send a teenager to work as a servant for families like us. I assumed that this practice was to enable these youngsters to look forward to a better life. I remember Francis (with fondness) who slept in the servant room. Whenever he minded my sister and I in our early childhood, he would spin a long tale, which entranced us, while often frightening us. He was a born story-teller. He should have progressed to a better life than that of his parents, who were indentured labourers (like the labourers sent by the British to Fiji to work on the sugarcane plantations).

“No dogs and Indians allowed” said the sign outside the Simla Club in India during the days of British rule. Yet, officials of the East India Company have been described as not as sensitive to skin colour as were the British Government officials who replaced them. The former were presumably responsible for the large Anglo-Indian population, but also for their privileged position above that of the Indians.

I got to know quite a few Anglo-Indians in Australia. They were not any different from my Eurasian friends in Malaya. In Australia we were all equal; because of our skin colour, we were (guess what?) ‘black.’ I did wonder whether Christian Indians and Euro-Asians in Australia had expected to be accepted as socially equal to the Anglo-Australian peoples.

While I remain averse to eating beetroot because of its colour, I do prefer Australians to become colour-blind. This does not mean officialdom claiming that we are more diverse ethnically than any other nation (not credible); that about 150 non-Aboriginal languages are spoken in the nation (only 15% of the people speak a foreign language at home); and selecting black or brown Christian refugees as humanitarian entrants – not while our rulers are ‘white bread’ in colour and texture (and stick together)!

Just as the oldest generation of the Australian people had to die before the virulent prejudice and discrimination faced by Asians in the immediate post-war years began to fade (the ignorant yobbo excepted), perhaps another generation or two of the Anglo-Celts here have to wander off into the Afterlife before their descendants become as colour-blind as are the peer groups of my children and grandchildren.

Mixed skin colours are the norm in most part of the world. Is it not time for nations like Australia to join the Family of Man? Refer my book ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity’ (ebook available at amazon kindle at $US 2.99 and $A3.99).