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Australia: The Withstanding History Between The Aboriginals and White Australians

Let me take you to a country down under in the southern hemisphere, Australia. The earliest known history of Australia saw the lands inhabited by migrants from Southern Asia. They became known as Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islander. When European migrants, specifically Great Britain, colonized Australia the Aboriginal Australians were weakened and diminished.


Moving forward the European colonizers, referred to as white Australians, believe that their aboriginal problem would "die out". When the population instead started increasing with what they referred to as half-cast (a term that refers to someone born to one indigenous and one White Australian parent) they switchgear from allowing them protection to live in reserves and Assimilation policies were created.


The Initial Conference of Commonwealth and State Aboriginal Authorities in 1937 created policies that the indigenous people abandoned their culture to adopt European customs and belief they could be absorbed into society. During the Assimilation era if the indigenous people did not abandon their reserve the government would seize it for housing and mining purposes. They would displace them into the cities and towns where they were not accepted by the White Australian communities leading to little job opportunities, denied access to community venues/services (such as Hospitals and swimming pools), and housing on the fringe.


However, one part of the policy of Assimilation created what is known as the Stolen Generations. This is the generation of indigenous children between 1910-1970 that were taken from their families and raised in White Society with the hope they would adapt to white culture. It was not until 1997 that the parliament concluded that these policies were a violation of basic human rights. The trauma experience is still affecting members of the stolen generation is longstanding.


The end of the era of assimilation just left a wake of displacement for the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders. Even with the acknowledgement of the action inflicted by the government and the removal of assimilation policies the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders face bias from the White Australian Society. A study was published in 2019 in the BMC public health that showed that Indigenous Australians are 4 times more likely to experience racism in a 12-month timeframe than their White Australian counterpart.


Member of Australias Law Enforcement treats them with disrespect in the form of harsh treatment, racism, and inappropriate behaviour. Police have even arrested aboriginals for the trivial action of swearing. The Australia Bureau of Statistic in 2020 published a report showing in New South Wales that Indigenous people are 10 times more likely to be incarcerated than the general public. A case in 2011 is that of Phillip Charles Bugmy, an aboriginal male, who was arrested for wielding a knife, resisting arrest, and intimidating police. After complying to hand over his knife, getting on his knee, and putting his hand on his head he was tasered by police. Bugmy was held in custody for 7 months and he was found not guilty of all charges. The local court rules that a "reasonable officer" would not have utilized a taser in the situation. Below is a video that showcases footage from Bugmy's encounter with the police.






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