Everyone can stand up and choose to be a good person. To shake off the weight of their circumstances and do better, be better. This is true.
But what is also true, I think, is that there is a gross difference between any weight I, or the majority of non indigenous Australians, might have to shake off and that of any indigenous person.
I might have one rock that weighs 100 grams. An indigenous child has 10 – 100 – 1,000 rocks, each weighing 100 grams. So they have to shake off 100,000 grams to my 100. Think on that a moment.
So yes. They too can make the choice to shake off that weight. But it takes so much more effort and strength and time and pain. It’s a miracle any of them ever get up.
I don’t want to pity indigenous people. That won’t help. What I think we need to do – all of us, as Australians – is begin to move forward together. Instead of arguing and denying and disagreeing…let’s acknowledge, empathise, work towards healing and improving the lives of these people who are our countrymen and women. Stop seeing us and them…we are all just humans, all Australians.
We should respect their history as we respect the history of Romans, Greeks, Zulu, Incas – we should embrace and celebrate their culture as part of the fabric of this beautiful nation of ours.
To move forward will take effort and allowance and change from all of us – it’s not going to happen without the dedication and cooperation of many. It won’t be easy. But the first step is to simply see each other. Be open. Accept the realities and stop the blame. Stop seeing a white Australia and a black Australia and just see a whole Australia.
And then, as one people, work towards a nation where no child starts their life with 1,000 rocks.