Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders

From episode 115

56:05 Kenan Malik has visited Australia and is not afraid to tackle some difficult ideas regarding indigenous Australians.

Equally troubling is the romanticization. It has become the accepted truth that Indigenous peoples have a culture stretching back 65,000 years. Humans have been on the continent for that long, but no culture extends over such a time span. Today’s Indigenous Australians no more have the same relationship to the spiritual tradition of Dreamtime stories as did those first inhabitants than modern Greeks relate to “The Iliad” in the way their ancient forebears did.

The idea of an unbroken, unchanged culture has a flip side that has always animated racists. It was once used to portray Indigenous Australians, and other nonwhite races, as primitive and incapable of development. Likewise with another common claim: that Indigenous people have a special attachment to the land and a unique form of ecological wisdom. This, too, draws on an old racist trope, a reworking of the “noble savage” myth. The fact that in contemporary debates such ideas are deployed in support, rather than denial, of Indigenous rights does not make them more palatable.

When I raised these issues with Australian academics and activists, many suggested that as someone with a European perspective, I did not grasp the nuances of the Australian debate. That may be true. But many of the issues are global, not local. From America to South Africa, from India to France, questions about the legacies of colonialism, the authenticity of cultural traditions and the meaning of democracy in pluralist societies dominate public debate.

From episode 113

01:43 In this episode, the Iron Fist admits to an error regarding trans-generational trauma.

10:40 An indigenous Alice Springs councillor says there is no need to change Australia day and people should not feel guilty.

1:02:57 An art exhibition in South Australia is shut down because of the cultural appropriation of a sacred indigenous figure. This is a worrying trend. It leads to a conversation about copyright.

From episode 111

01:02 We discuss:

  • What is the best date for Australia Day,
  • 10:51 Stan Grant and Cook’s statue,
  • 15:30 Trans-generational trauma,
  • Aborigines who elect to identify with part of their ancestry and after dividing their own identity complain about inclusion of that identity in society.

22:13 We look at the removal of racist place names in Queensland such as Nigger Creek, Nigger bounce, Mount Nigger and seven instances of Nigger Creek. The Fist gives reasons why these should be changed but not our historical statues. The 12 Man disagrees.

From episode 110

51:50 The Uluru Bark Petition is an outrageous document purporting to speak on behalf of the entire Aboriginal people of Australia.

 


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Great listen

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Ep 81, one of the best and most enjoyable

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Episode 68 right on the mark

This episode was just the right length, but more importantly, was a little more measured in addressing the topics. I admire the Iron Fist in the way he can craft rational statements about appalling behaviour in the topics discussed, and I found the 12th Man to be a good balance to the Iron Fist. I wish the Velvet Glove wouldn’t giggle at important topics or when religious thinking is described – we already find them ridiculous, but laughing every time is a bit much after hours of listening to episodes. This is a fun but semi-serious podcast that everyone should listen to, and I thank them for making the time to produce it.

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Making baby Jesus cry

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Presenting the Inconvenient Truth

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Christmas Special

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