- An introduction discussing the relevance of prejudice to contemporary society.
- Examples of Australia or worldwide
- Examples from book
- Under representation of aboriginal australians in higher and secondary education
- A historical background of indigenous inequality in Australia
- Looking at government policies
- Protection Policy
- Assimilation Policy
- Integration Policy
- Self-determination Policy
- Legal cases regarding aboriginal rights and freedoms
- Evidence of similar struggles faced by other groups in literature
- The ideas Lee presents in the in the novel about prejudice, and how relevant they are to today’s world
- Focus on the impact of the treatment of Indigenous Australians historically on education in regards to Indigenous wellbeing
- Methods we will use in order to help promote our campaign
Relevance of Prejudice to ContemporarY Society
Prejudice is a main and prevalent feature within the book Harper Lee’s to Kill a mockingbird. The meaning behind prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience, this meaning is discussing that without any knowledge of the particular person they will make a judgement this can be towards Aboriginals but quite frankly towards anyone with an ethnic background, colour and race.
A very big example of this will be the underrepresentation of aboriginal australians in higher and secondary education. Many studies have tied it to prejudice among social classes and groups responsible for providing higher education services, this in turn clearly has a negative chain effect within the native Aboriginal community.
A literary example of such prejudice would be “Atticus said Calpurnia had more education than most coloured folks” This quote explicitly implies that coloured individuals often got little to no education at the time that the book takes place.
Another real world example of prejudice is best demonstrated by the police treatment of African Americans in the United States, with many studies showing that the race of the suspect informs police action rather than the merit or the lack-there-of regarding the individual in question.
In other words, police is more likely to suspect an African American of a crime, than a white American.
Historical background of indigenous inequality
1770 -The arrival of Lt James Cook marked the beginning of the end for this ancient way of life. 29 April: Captain James Cook claims possession of the whole east coast of Australia for the British Crown.
1788 -Cook was followed soon enough by the arrival of the First Fleet, in January 1788, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, whose mission was to establish a penal colony and take control of Terra Australia for settlement. Australia becomes a colony of England.
1789 April: A smallpox epidemic decimates the Eora Aboriginal people of Port Jackson, Botany Bay and Broken Bay.
1790-1829- A series of killings, mistreatments, imprisonments and slavery occurs along with disease and war.
1829 Foundation of Western Australia.
1830 Aborigines are not considered people but are regarded as fauna and come under the Fisheries and Wildlife Act.
1838- The ‘Myall creek massacre’ occurs. Killing up to 28 Aboriginal men women and children.
1839 Rottnest Island becomes a prison for Aboriginal people (no offence needs to be committed to be sent there).
1840-An entire community of Aboriginal people perishes in a massacre at Long Lagoon, a newly settled station in inland Queensland.
1841-27 August: 30 Aboriginal people massacred at Rufus River in New South Wales, close to the boundaries with Victoria and South Australia.
1865 Influenza sweeps through Aboriginal communities, wiping out vast numbers of people, particularly the elderly and young.
1869-Victorian Board for the Protection of Aborigines is established.
The Governor can order the removal of any child to a reformatory or industrial school. The Protection Board can remove children from station families to be housed in dormitories.
Later similar legislation is passed in other colonies: New South Wales (1883), Queensland (1897), Western Australia (1905) and South Australia (1911). The Northern Territory Aboriginals Ordinance makes the Chief Protector the legal guardian of every Aboriginal and ‘half-caste’ person under 18. Boards are progressively empowered to remove children from their families.
10 to 33% of the Aboriginal children were removed from their families between 1910 and 1970.
1882 The Reverend Gribble produces an article called “Black deeds in a sunny land”. The article details the massacres and claims widespread genocide in WA. The report is damning of the Australian and English governments.
1886 The Aboriginal Protection Act is made law, it controls every area of Aboriginal people’s lives. All decisions for every Aboriginal person in Australia are now made by the government. These decisions include; rations, shelter, service/unpaid employment, marriages, medical attention and location.
1890 WA is given self-government but Britain takes control of Aboriginal Affairs because of the disastrous decisions made by colonists in relation to the Aboriginal people in WA.
1967 Referendum – 131 years after Australia was settled, Aboriginal people are granted Australian Citizenship. The Referendum was unanimous and remains the highest ever yes vote in history.
1972 Federal government grants Aborigines the right to receive unemployment benefits.
1973 Aboriginal Medical Service opens in WA (the first time Aboriginal people can access their own medical service with culturally sensitive staff)
1986 Aboriginal Advancement Council Inc. established in WA.
1990 ATSIC established. – the first government body that gave the right to vote for Aboriginal representatives to the Aboriginal community.
1992 Mabo Case (Eddie Mabo fought the federal government for the right to own and control his own country through his traditional customs and laws and the rights of his people to continue to have custody of their lands in the future. This was the first ever native title c).
2007 Federal government intervention program into Aboriginal Communities.
13 February 2008 : The Australian Parliament apologises to the Stolen Generations. Both the government and the opposition support the apology and say ‘sorry’ to Aboriginal people who were taken away from their families from
1900 to the 1970s. (this is the first time that the practice of the removal of children is recognised by government. It was also the acknowledgement of the stolen generation in our history).
The Protection Act was enacted in 1869. This policy was aimed at trying to help the Aboriginal people avoid extinction. This led to white Australians forcing the Aboriginals to become wards of the state. This means that the government or the state controls the Aboriginal peoples. This meant that Aboriginal people were subject to policies that gave the government power to determine where Indigenous people could live, who they could marry and where they could work.
This policy had lasting effect on the Aboriginal peoples. It forced a sense of helplessness and suppression. Some major effects on the Aboriginal peoples included segregation, isolation and instead of preventing their culture from being saved from extinction, which the policy was aimed at doing, it brought them closer to it. This policy set the stage for the future policies in regards to the Indigenous peoples. It set a stage of control and division. The Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 was renamed in 1909 to the Aborigines Protection Act. The Protection Act ended in 1940.
The Assimilation Act was mentioned in 1937 at the initial conference of Commonwealth and State Aboriginal Authorities. The Assimilation Act was enacted in the 1950’s. Some main features of this Act included giving up one's culture for another one or in other words being assimilated, the education of white culture to Aboriginal youth so when they grow up they teach their children, the loss of identity and the forced denial of one’s own culture for white culture.
This policy had a heavy toll on the Aboriginal culture. It had an even heavier toll than the Protection policy 1869 because it forced Aboriginals to forget their culture and accept white culture. One of the main events that happened while the Assimilation policy was in place was the stolen generation. The stolen generation are Aboriginal children who were taken from their homes and taught white culture. This had a long lasting effect on both the Aboriginal culture and individuals in that culture.
The Integration Act/Policy was introduced in 1965. Some main features of the Integration Act included separation from loved ones, relocation and integration into white culture. Although the Integration Act promoted handing control over the Aboriginal peoples to the Aboriginals themselves. It also brought in a lot of segregation and isolation. Unlike Assimilation which is leaving one’s culture for another's integration is where one integrates or combines with another culture but keeps their own. This policy ended due to the 1967 referendum where 90 percent of people voted yes to counting Aboriginal people in the census. This means that they are recognised as Australian citizens.
The Self-Determination policy started in 1972. Some main features of the Self-Determination policy included Aboriginals freely determining their own political status and to freely pursue economic, social and cultural development. Some other main features included striving for equality and equal rights, Aboriginals to freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice. Some effects that it had on the Aboriginal peoples included free will, rights, equality and freedom from prejudice. It was this policy that helped relieve prejudice, segregation and isolation from the Aboriginal peoples.
Legal cases: aboriginal rights and freedoms
Two major cases in the Aborigines fight for their rights and freedoms consist of the Mabo v Queensland case, both 1 and 2, as well as the Wik Peoples v Queensland case.
The Mabo v Queensland No.2 case was held in 1992 and was led by Eddie Mabo, James Rice and David Passi, all of whom are natives to the Meriam people from Murray islands in the Torres Strait.
The reason behind the case was an attempt at gaining legal land rights and recognition of native title and an overturning of the English colonial doctrine of Terra Nullius that declared, as the name suggest “no one's land” on the Murray Islands, making them free land to the pioneers that arrived to colonise the land.
The argument used by the prosecution was that this land was clearly inhabited prior to British arrival, and that the British failure the recognise the native landowners was an attempt at disenfranchisement of the native people in the area.
The Wik peoples v Queensland, also known as the Wik decision.
A lot of the arguments used in the first Mabo v Queensland case of 1988 have inspired this second case of land rights disputes.
The arguments used by the prosecution was that pastoral leases approved by the state government infringe on the native title of the Wik people to their land. This case spawned a great debate in Australian politics and led to the Howard government to formulate the “10 point plan” that was a knee-jerk response to what Howard saw as a case “that swung the pendulum to far to the Aborigines, and needs to be put back into the middle.”
Similar struggles faced by other groups in literature
The aboriginal peoples experience oppression at a high degree in Australian society even today. Oppression and discrimination are common topics and themes for literature in the modern day, hence there are many examples of literature that deal with such themes in the form of books, movies and novels.
One famous example studied by thousands of schoolkids world wide and boasting over 33,000,000 sales is Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. This book follows the story of two children, Jem Finch and Scout Finch as they navigate adolescence in the prejudice ridden Deep South of the 1930s. The themes of this book range from things as inane as health to as specific and related as social inequality among racial lines, racism and prejudice, things some say are the reason why the aborigines don't perform so well in the employment market.
The next famous example of literature was written hundreds year ago as a play, however its themes of prejudice and hatred are still just as relevant as before.
I am referring to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. A play that gives valuable insight into the ideas and thought processes of prejudiced individuals.
Another very useful source is John Pilger's Utopia, a full feature documentary set in rural Aboriginal communities that explores the daily struggles of native peoples in Australia.
It touches on many subjects, socio-economics, inequality and lack of education as well as healthcare.
Another famous example of this kind of prejudice based conflict can be found in Hitler's Mein Kampf. It is a book that promotes hatred along ethnic lines. It can act as a useful point of reference in an attempt to understand prejudice and discrimination from the perspective of the agitator rather than just the victim, very similar to how one can use Shakespeare's “Merchant of Venice”
Ideas Lee presents about prejudice - relevAnce to today's society
Prejudice was a major theme in Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and it was presented in many ways.
One way that prejudice was presented in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was stereotypes. On many occasions throughout the novel stereotypes about African-Americans were presented. One example was when Scout Said’”To Maycomb, Tom's death was typical. Typical of a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger's mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind first chance he saw...You know how they are. Easy come, easy go. Just shows, that Robinson boy was legally married, they say he kept himself clean, went to church and all that, but when it comes down to the line the veneer's mighty thin. Nigger always comes out in 'em.”’. This is one of the many incidents were stereotypes about African-Americans are presented.
Another way prejudice is presented is through biases. When in court, Tom Robinson and Atticus Finch, are burdened with the task of fighting a white man's word with a coloured man’s word. Atticus Finch sums up the idea of biases in the court by saying ‘“There's something in our world that makes men lose their heads—they couldn't be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins. They're ugly, but those are the facts of life. […]’”. This quote demonstrates the biases present in society at that time.
The idea of prejudice and racism is still present in our society today. We as a society need to compare what we are doing to certain people today to what happened to African-Americans in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and see how different it really is. We still judge people up front on their looks and culture which is immoral and wrong. Cases in court are even bias due to the fact that the media are demonising a certain race. This is against everything that we as a society have put in place to prevent this. We need to look to the wisdom of Scout Finch in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ when she says’” Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks”’. This quote reveals how simple the situation is and how complicated we as humans have made it. If we looked at each other equally there would be little to no problems in our society today.
Impacts of treatments for education on wellbeing of indigenous australians
The Indigenous community, for many generations, has lacked in its education towards everyday life in Australia. The unequal rights Indigenous people have received has drastically affected their day to day activities and questioned their personal well-being. These effects and outcomes all surround the issue of poor treatment in education and the extremely drastic impacts it is creating.
The poor treatments influencing the lack of education throughout the historical course of the Indigenous community in Australia has revolved around similar issues of role modelling, teaching, observing, following and recognising. These poor treatments of education include teachers, parents, friends, coaches, Television, films/movies, doctors, advertisements and events.
Teachers have not had the sufficient amount of proper education, therefore not being able to teach properly. Parents are lacking in role modelling, due to their poor education standards. Because of lack of education, there are very few Indigenous people who have had relationships with people who have knowledge about health and well-being. Coaches have had to rely upon what little knowledge they have regarding health and well-being, which is next to none, as their knowledge on indigenous health and well-being is limited to what they were given at school, which was very minimal. TV has provided a poor guidance for Australia overall in regards to health and well-being, through their use of poor advertising of fast foods. The lack of medical support and services across the indigenous communities is widespread across Australia, thus providing little education in any shape or form. In the past, indigenous children were taken away from their parents, therefore not supporting that standard of a healthy well-being. The indigenous community for years were locked away from many facilities and places of education, therefore providing them with minimal resources.
These poor treatments have then created major effects on the well-being of the indigenous community. Their life expectancy of the indigenous community has remained lower in comparison to the rest of Australian society. Diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, and other major impacts continue to be higher among the indigenous community in comparison to the rest of Australian society. When you consider the treatment of education in regards to well-being of indigenous people, these are just some of the impacts that these underfunded, and poorly supported devices, such as education, medical treatment and community awareness, have created.
Methods of promoting caMpaign
Methods we used to help promote our campaign include:
- Social media (Twitter)