Looking at the healthy and happy Aborigine children in my small township makes me wonder sadly about the future that these innocent children can look forward to. Looking back more than 50 years, I remembered my lecturer on child development saying that bright (as in clever) Aborigine children were dropping out of high school, saying ‘What’s the use?’ There would be no jobs for them to aspire to. This was a time when the government was spending scarce taxpayer money in attracting able-bodied immigrants from Europe.
About 30 years later, in a small but fast-growing township, I met Aborigines who said that there were no jobs available to them, except with Aboriginal Land Councils, even when they possessed degrees in law, accounting, etc. This reminded me about the ABC, the Australia-born Chinese, who had told me a similar story; there had been no jobs for them in white enterprises or even in the public services. Yet, coloured immigrants were, by the end of the millennium, becoming visible in offices, on the trams, etc.
I found the statements by these educated Aborigines credible, in the light of local ‘whitefella’ comments about the ‘black people’! The latter, by then, were relatively light in colour, reflecting their predominantly European (ie.‘white’) genes. Today, if there are many fully-employed well-paid Aborigines in non-Aboriginal organisations and enterprises, where are they? What are the prospects for a secure lifestyle for today’s Aborigine children? What can one say about their life-chances? Indeed, what is the position of the indigenes of the USA, Canada, and New Zealand, who too were displaced by the settlement in their lands by Europeans, including, of course, the British?
For the record, I point out that settlement in these lands was preceded by invasion, killing, and despoliation of indigenous cultures. No amount of Derrida-derived literary deconstruction can mitigate the brutal reality of these events, and its societal consequences for today’s indigenes.