Why I have a serious question about racism - Amanda Foy

Why I have a serious question about racism

It is highly likely that you would be unaware that I am of Aboriginal decent.  

An avid history buff, lover of genetics and eldest of my generation I took it upon myself to get the family history together. Trying to get the stories to fit some years ago, opened up the proverbial can of worms that delving into pasts do, and I discovered that my father’s side of the family tree had a historically significant lie grafted into a new genus that was brought into the truth sphere albeit three generations after the lie was told.

Anyway, also in my family tree I have English, Irish, Norwegian, French and Chinese.  So much history and all aspects of why I just describe myself as Australian.

I am the epitome of what it means to be Australian…all of me…not just parts of me.
All of me. 

Just before Australia Day I read a blog making a statement of what Australia Day meant to a lady with whom I grew up in the same neighbourhood. I never knew her family where Aboriginal until my Dad went to Uni and the eldest child was a lecturer in Aboriginal studies.

This got my ranty pants out of the cupboard.

Then with Anthony Mundine and his fight with Daniel Geale and how race was brought into the limelight again; well, that got the ranty pants ready to be put on.  Just to be clear here on Anthony Mundine; a dickhead is a dickhead no matter which way you turn it; Aboriginality does not factor into his equation. Ever. 

Like they say though, don’t write anything when you are angry. Ha! 

I’m about to ask a question that I want you to know that this is a serious question and I seriously want some serious discussion about this to fully understand why this seems to happen.

Q.1. Why do people with a genetic pool of various races, hold onto one and forget all the rest?

Next questions:

Q.2 If your father is Aboriginal and your mother is non-Aboriginal or white Australian; do you foist your hatred towards the flag and what you believe Australia Day symbolises towards your mother or grandmother because she is of English or European Heritage?

Q.3. Is it her fault that Aboriginal people suffered horrendously for generations?

Q.4. What is it going to take to move on from passed wrongs and make them right?  I alluded to this in my blog on Australia Day.

To conclude, I am not up for an argument, I want to hear from anyone that has chosen the path of hanging onto one part of your family tree and clinging to it for all it’s worth while ignoring the rest of your genetic make-up.  

Thank you to movingforwardtogether.com.au for the graphic





7 Comments

  1. No Comments yet, and it’s been up for 3 hours, Woah.

    OK, I’ll go first with a few thoughts of my own.

    regarding question 1: I am Kailoma, child of love to Fijians, which means I have one Full Blooded Fijian Parent and one that is foreigner. In my case, my father is Fijian from the province of Rewa, of which I am immensely proud. And my mother, is of european descent, namely French and South African English.

    In my heart, I am Fijian to the core, I did not grow up there, I do not speak my national language, let alone my native dialect. I don’t even look like my cousins, I do not share their religion, I do not share the same passion for Rugby that most Fijians do.

    And I most certainly do not think and act like most Fijians. Even my wife describes me as her Aussie Boy.

    But when I lay in my bed at night, it is my father and my grandfather and his father before him that come to me in my dreams. It is them that urge me forward to lead my people back to their true selves. Back to the great position of power they once held.

    I didn’t deliberately set aside my European side as being some part of my soul that is handicapped in some way. I just don’t relate to it. Even as I sit here, if i emotionally try to identify my self as part european, it just feels wrong. I don’t hate it, it just feels like a part of me that is out of place with who I am as a son of Rewa.

    In fact some days when I think about the fact that I am part european, I feel a deep sense of shame and guilt. I feel anger at the destruction that The English, French, Spanish and Portugese spread around the world in search of new worlds to settle (or plunder). I feel anger, that our cultures and histories were destroyed by a people so morally bankrupt that they chose to invade our homelands with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

    And they had the hide to call us heathens.

    And that leads us into question 2: While I am angry that the world got smaller and my people now buy fish in cans instead of catching them from the once healthy river that meanders past my village, I am not angry at my mother for these acts.

    It was not her or any of the other members of this generation that perpetuated these acts. These were the acts of people from a less enlightened era, people from a time 200 years ago. I can be angry that great crimes (IMO) have been enacted upon my people but it serves no purpose to blame the descendants of people who have been dead so long, that those descendants no longer visit their graves (a purely white issue btw. my forefathers are buried 5 deep in a line, that I visit every time i’m at home.)

    All I can do, is seek relationships with other Fijian thought leaders and look for ways to add value to our people.

    What I don’t do, is look for a scratch on my shoulder that I can gnaw into until it becomes a massive chip that I use to guide my life of resentment by.

    My sincerest hope for the indigenous people of this land is that they look to the Daniel Geale’s and Cathy Freemans of this world as their role model. Jessica Mauboy, Tony Mundine (Sr), Lionel Rose, Arthur Beetson, Evonne Goolagong. The line of aboriginal people who are wonderful examples in each their own way is as long as the mighty Murray River.

    Anthony “Choc” Mundine and the equally brain dead John Steffensen should be thrown down a very deep hole and forgotten about.

    • Ok Rodders…. here we go. The feeling you have about your European ancestry. When I was younger doing my history studies, I got really angry. As I got older it made sense when I started to travel and live in other parts of the world. The attitudes and how in our present day there is still a mindset that I go back to with how they tried to “Anglicize the world”. To be fair to them, and knowing how people are with God, they thought they were doing the right thing. The guns were because they had no allowance for the ‘heathens’ to be who they were in their every day and a level of intelligence (the Anglo’s) that didn’t equate to an understanding of how the ‘heathens’ lived. What unfolded as a result has been documented and analysed etc for all time.

      My question is, why would you allow yourself the weight of responsibility of guilt and shame, where these two emotions have been documented as the two emotions that have no greater purpose. They are just a burden, waste of time. Why would you allow these emotions to even exist in your being when you have no responsibility to take for what happened to your people? These are the things we cannot change.

      It’s the biggest point I want to scream at all the people who attack the flag, the history. Don’t ever forget it, but move on FFS. These people have the government running scared and they get money thrown at them hand and fist and it’s the section of government that has the least amount of outcomes. I must find the stat, but $3Billion will less than 10% successes in measured outcomes from the program.

      This is 2013. Connect with other Fijians. Celebrate the national days here, go on holidays there, cook and teach the history and the stories to your kids, my kids, everyone’s kids. It will make it a richer society with teachers like you. But forget the guilt and shame. Aboriginal culture and teachings need to be more ingrained in our society. The media needs to stop giving air time to dickhead’s that aim at a target market that are more inclined to brush a whole race with the same brush just because of what one dickhead does.

      Spiritually speaking – you chose your parents. I chose mine. This journey we are living in our every day is what we had planned when we made it earth side. I LOVE EVERY BIT OF WHO I AM. I am not Aboriginal, I am not Chinese, I am not Norwegian, I am not French, I am not English, I am not Irish. All my life I have had goosebumps at anything Aboriginal, and learning about the atrocities made me sick with anger, I love Asian food the most of every culinary delight there is, I have no reference to Norway other than I want to see the Northern Lights there, I picked up French easily and when I went there had no problem remembering my French language that I’d learned and never spoken again in eight years before, I fit into English life, except for the whinging like I’d lived there all my life, and my heart fell in love with Ireland so much when I was there, but I was too scared of the IRA to think about going back. All of that though, makes me Australian. I don’t notice colours; if I hear an accent I’ll start the barrage of questions. Getting to know you and Ana, when YOU talk about your Fijian heritage, that allows me then to start the barrage of questions. I didn’t look at you the first time and wonder where you came from.

      That’s just me though. I know I’m different. May King will explain to you one day, the day I realised she was Chinese. I NEVER REALISED. I want more people to be like me.

      Be proud of all of who you are, not just bits of it, because all of who you are, makes you awesome. xxx

  2. As someone who has lived in several different countries, I no longer feel I belong anywhere, this incudes the country and culture I was born in to. I feel I can not have been so lucky to have lived in and experienced each country without appreciating and acknowledging each culture. Although I am unsure of all the cultures in my blood, I embrace all the cultures I have experienced in my heart. Cultures develop and grow, where they originally came from is interesting and historically important but not an indicator of how and what they will grow in to. History has a number of wrongs but isn’t that how we learn? Through mistakes. It is time to embrace all elements of who we are as we become a mixed world. There is no future in blame, the future is in acceptance, growth and learning together.

    • Hope you like the graphic Kama ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. This should be made into a graphic : There is no future in blame, the future is in acceptance, growth and learning together. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Thank you for the graphic Amanda … wow that was a surprise to wake up to. So glad my words resinated ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. From my own mixed heritage, I’ve more or less embraced the Celtic / Scottish side more than the others… because, I suspect, Dad was very vocal about it and proud of it. Mum, being the English person, and knowing how much I enjoyed history, tried to interest me in that side of things (and that’s very interesting, actually).

    I haven’t really disowned any part of my heritage, and the more I learn about different aspects of it (did you know that “skin” and “leg” are actually Norse words? Vikings brought them to the Saxons… and we know what they did to the Anglos) the more interested I am in all the various cultures that have eventually melted into the ones which melted into me.

    Maybe that’s the key… all of us with mixed heritages need to learn as much as we can about our cultures, our heritages and embrace how they mix together into the wonderful people we are. That your parents obviously had enough love for each other to create the wonderful person you are is a good start. Forgive your ancestors for being human, and for having failures.

    I actually wrote a song about this subject – how we (as humans, no matter where we come from) teach our children to be just like us, to carry on our fights, our feuds, even if they’re wrong and will just perpetuate hatred. That’s one of the shameful things about Celtic history… they (we) have elevated feuding and clan warfare into a lifestyle, a hobby… Terry Pratchett actually wrote that there’s no-one a Celt would rather fight than a family member. It’s funny in that so sad you have to laugh about it sort of way. The song was about brothers going to war to avenge grandpa’s death in the previous war, which was to avenge… you get the point.

    I also like the idea of colour-blindness, as it relates to people. I used to think I hated Americans, however it turns out I actually intensely dislike stupid people, no matter what their nationality.

    My own battle, if it even warrants that term, is with the Christian wack-jobs. The ancestral ones who took it upon themselves to invade pretty much everywhere and take what they wanted and force their own opinions on everyone else, with a knife, a sword, a gun… and these days with politics and money. I dislike that aspect intensely, and feel quite sad and frustrated about that part of history. I’m probably more frustrated that these lessons don’t seem to be learned at all… the crusades are still regarded as some amazing and wonderful thing, when the truth was completely different.

    Anyway, I’m going to stop the rant I’m starting right now… ๐Ÿ™‚

    So I’d like to think that if we can each learn about ourselves, our own heritage, and to share that in a non-invasive way with others (gotta love cuisine, music and language as some really cool ways to share) and maybe we can all forgive and embrace each other as people, rather than as “white”, “pink”, “yellow”, “black” or “purple with green dots”…

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