Racism is no laughing matter
Missionaries, mercenaries, misfits and 'blackfellas'
An eye to an eye
There was a scene in the 8MM Aboriginal Radio that stayed with me.
Lola siting on an oily rag proudly wearing the pink T-shirt of the 8MM,
she was given and her priced possession of the jar with plain biscuits in her lap.
She was told in a loving way that she is like 'furniture to the 8MM',
someone who is not paid to be there but never left.
Among so many non-Aboriginal people working there to give Aboriginal people
a voice, she is something like 'cultural Aboriginal attache'.
Jake the non-aboriginal manager is trying hard to make it work but he has no clue how. She likes him and she knows he means well. He is just young and so unaccustomed to Aboriginal ways. He is the boss because that was what 'whitefella' always been to 'blackfella' and nothing has changed.
She has no water in her house as the non Aboriginal agency responsible for maintenance do not talk to Aboriginals. Her house is falling apart and it is not even her house. Aboriginals do not own anything out there where she lives. Jake talks about reconciliation among their two nations so eloquently but all she thinks of is how to make her water in her house to run again.
'Give me an answer Lola,' he commands suddenly in frustration: "How can we achieve this reconciliation?"
"Do you have a running water in your house Jake?" She asks him instead.
"Of course, what a silly question, my house is just fine!"
"It is an important issue, can't you see?" Jake sputters in frustration.
"An eye to an eye," Lola smiles: "Not an eye for an eye, I can see, but still it is 40 degrees out there and I can live without air-conditioning but no running water that bothers me."
I remember settling in Australia twenty years ago I have been naive just like Koala and armed with my facts I thought I can teach Aboriginal children because I have to save them. I have not understood a thing. Looking at 'Koala' character in the series makes me remember those time and cringe.
But the watching of 'Dave' character in the series makes me cringe even more because I have seen him just yesterday in the remarks of my close friends when we passed some Aboriginals in the city park when we walked towards the National Gallery.
"They should camp somewhere else, tourists will think we all live like this here in Australia, they give us bad name." My two ladies said, strolling leisury in their Sunday finery and rolling their eyes.
"Why can they live like us?" They remarked.
"You come from the Eastern Europe and still stick to your culture after twenty years in Australia," I responded back. "They never been to Eastern Europe I assume so how they could and why they should?"
Later on my two elderly ladies have been admiring the Aboriginal dot paintings and wishing to own one to display in their neat and sparkling new homes.
"Probably one of the Aboriginals we just passed painted those," I whispered in their ears.
"Not them!" They protested vehemently.
"Not them? Then who?"