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.
-- Feb. 7, 2007
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