Letters to the Museum

Hello and Thank You From Darwin, Australia

I won't waste your time with babble, but I just wanted to thank you. I came across your story on Jack Johnson and continued reading much more throughout your Jim Crow Museum website and was simply taken aback by what you presented. I felt so very sad, yet compelled to read more and learn more -- the feeling of sadness in my heart was so undeniable. It was such a powerful feeling. I knew of the Jim Crow era but I failed to realise the impact it had on people that are still alive today.

I would consider myself to be the brother of man, and have often referred to myself in that manner in racially charged situations -- it's something I believe to be the truth and reading the writings on your website only strengthened these feelings. I grew up in a place called Darwin, Australia, a place I still live and call home. Darwin is, in my opinion, the best representation modern Australia has of the "Real Australia." Darwin and the Northern Territory are what most people from overseas refer to as "the outback" and we are without a doubt the most culturally diverse part of Australia and have a very high indigenous population. I went to primary school with kids of all races, then moved onto Kormilda College for my secondary education where white kids were the minority. Kormilda was originally an indigenous-only school designed to help the kids from outback communities and so forth with their education, but it was eventually opened up to the public due to funding shortages. Whilst the early goings at high school were understandably rough for all us kids, not just the white fellas, by the time we had all finished our first year we were like brothers and sisters and we had learnt so much from each other, things that kids at other schools just weren't learning. One thing you will find if you ever make it to Darwin is how many of us speak using indigenous words from many of the local languages, it's not a slang but more of an integration of languages, it's just so unique, and when I go down south to see family in Victoria or Sydney they always remark at how I speak and sometimes they'll even ask "why" I speak like that, but to me it's just natural, it's me, it's the language of my people, my brothers and sisters, white, black, asian, moari, it doesn't matter to me.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I feel blessed to have been raised in a place like Darwin where I was exposed to people of all races, aboriginal people and their culture, their art and their amazing dreamtime stories -- I don't think I would be the same person had I not grown up in Darwin. My very best friends, the ones I call brother and sister today, shared that formative experience with me and for that I will always be a blessed man.

I wish our Prime Minister John Howard would say sorry to the indigenous people of Australia. The crimes perpetrated by white Australia against the aboriginal people here was nothing short of mass genocide. The White Australia policy for one is a disgusting part of our history. Every last aboriginal man, woman and child was slaughtered in Tasmania. No doubt you have heard the sad story of Truganini, the last aboriginal left in Tasmania. White Australia stole the children of aboriginal families, scarring them for life and in the process denying them their history and culture. There is so much more to say. I am sorry, please forgive me.

Thanks for listening and please keep up your amazing work. I will be letting my friends know about your great website and hopefully one day I can visit your museum.

Respectfully yours,

Zac Watt
Darwin, Australia

-- Feb. 7, 2007


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