Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Howard you come up with such a Ruddiculous Perspective

Damn those alternative views!

Damn those minority cultures sucking off our British-built land!

If they are going to be here, let it be in the shadows! But damned if they can actually integrate. Because then they might actually influence us!

Apparently, that is what is what the old government, run by John Howard, reckoned. And still does.

Every South African loves to fight back against any Oz argument with “Ja well, let’s look at your Aboriginal situation and that little past of Stolen Generations and Shoot to Kill the First Citizens”.

The scary thing that I am realising is, is that quite a few Aussies might not have a clue what such crude South Africans are talking about.

In the same non-educating way that most white South Africans who were schooled between 1948 to 1994 were not taught any historical perspective but Die Volk’s, many Aussies were not taught during their school days that the past held some severe racist violent policies and laws.

In terms of SA - I even got into a conversation with an ex-pat here who couldn’t understand what really was so bad about Apartheid.

It was during this conversation that I had a lightbulb moment of “Oh!” This middle-aged guy had only learnt that “Apartheid is segregating the races equally for their own good”, as opposed to what I was taught, that “Apartheid is racial segregation for the benefit of one race through the subjugation of other races…and this is how it was done…and this is what the opposition said to it….”

Or how he was taught that “the Dutch arrived to chaos of “the natives” in South Africa, created order, were bullied by the arrogant British and had no choice but to “Voortrek”, and as a result created order across The Land. But then those damn Brits caught up, so the now-Afrikaans nation was made to fight wars against the evil-intentioned British. Nonetheless, by the mid 1900s the Afrikaans nation was eventually able to get into power & start creating “The Volk” through Apartheid. He was taught the good side (only) of the Afrikaans nation and its history.

Not exactly what I was taught. Having gone to a British-based private school – the private nature of it meaning it could slot in a few sneaky other perspectives, around the very British outlook. I learnt that it was the Brits that brought order to the land…. And then I had a post-Modern English teacher who demanded we all started reading post-colonial literature and I became “slightly” lost in 1000 perspectives and options, never having found my way out since.

So. Here I now sit in Australia; a country that once ignored all perspectives but the British history. A mate of mine even said she was taught that Australia’s history went back 200 years. Even the Portuguese & Dutch histories were excluded. An Australia whose “core set of values flowed from its Anglo-Saxon identity”.

Since her school days the country has a very different face. Aboriginal groups have found their voices and are demanding their “space” in history. 1000 new cultures have landed, settled in, reproduced a few generations and now these 10000 cultures are dominating the learner landscape. The identity has changed.

And with it, has moved the voting of the people and so the current government of Kevin Rudd seems to not only acknowledge the new and the original identities also existing in Australia but he is trying to go about rectifying it all.

In 2008, he apologised to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who had their children taken from them, who were taken away as children, and who suffered through the laws and policies of successive governments.

This past Sunday, headlines said that the government had decided the new school curriculum would include more Asian and Aboriginal perspectives. I chuckled when I saw this and thought “Gud un y’ mate”

Only to read an article yesterday about how not everybody was too chuffed about such an insane idea!

Other perspectives!! No no! We’ll have none of that here!!!

So, it was disbelieving laughter that made up my reaction to such paragraphs as:

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said the [proposed new “added perspectives”] curriculum was ''unbalanced'' and seemed to push ''a black armband view of history''.

This was a term coined by historian Geoffrey Blainey to describe a gloomy view of Australian history focused on the treatment of minorities, especially indigenous people.

''While there are 118 references in the document to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people and culture, there is one reference to Parliament, none to 'Westminster' and none to the 'Magna Carta','' he said. ''Grade 9s will consider the personal stories of Aboriginal people and examine massacres and 'indigenous displacement', without any reference to the benefit to our country of our European heritage and the sacrifice of our forebears to build a nation.

…would be better for students to have the curriculum that they have now under the states than for them to have an unbalanced curriculum that will do them more harm than good,'' he said.''

DAMMIT! Do NOT let those Grade 9s think anything BAD went down in this country! No gloooooom here! Not on such a sunny island where we try to only be stressed about sport!

No no! Then they might actually…! What? What might a new perspective do to the brain of a Grade 9? Create love, respect and appreciation for other cultures? Realise the world is vast & history is positively overwhelming and complex? Create a love of learning and reading and exploring? Actually critically analyse what one reads and is told? Stop Indian Bashing?

It is good to see that my Australian mates are as perplexed by this reaction to adding in new perspectives. Perplexed because they thought their country had moved beyond this archaic colonial way of thinking. That the “Howard Days” were long since past. And how it is recently, with the developments in past years, that in retrospect just how biased the world view they were taught was, and have now been able to learn that there was so much more to their history.

All I know is, if the Opposition does get into power next election and change the curriculum back to “One Imperial perspective”, then this immigrant is gonna be out of here on her arse! They won’t want “my type” stirring up things here with talk of “African perspectives” as well!


Cam said...

I saw John Howard was as exciting as seeing John Howard twice! :)

po said...

Yeah, I think I told you before about the Aussie girl I met who said soemthing along the lines of "I hate those aboriginals, they behave so badly, you think you would try to live according to the rules in someone elses country..."

I was so floored I didn't know what to say,

Champagne Heathen said...

Cam - was he trying to tell you to be less South African and more colonial!?

Po - Now you can just pat her on the head & tell her where the closest library is... reminding her about how these have history sections filled with fascinating stories! So stories might even be true!

All makes me wonder what I was taught, and more importantly, what I wasn't taught!