Usher has exposed Australia’s resentment towards Aboriginal culture after his recent Australian tour.
The media is renowned around the world for sniffing out stories (sometimes months in advance). That is no different here in Australia. However, when it comes to stories about Aboriginal culture, we find this strange reluctance to promote our cultures in a positive light. I feel this continued silence and reluctance comes from a resentment towards the existence and survival of our culture and people.
Now that’s a pretty big statement, but let’s take a closer look at some examples.
First of all let’s look back at Usher’s recent trip to visit the Quandamooka people on North Stradbroke Island. Images of Usher in traditional dress went viral after he posted to millions of his followers. We picked up this story and we thought it wouldn’t take long for the mainstream media to pick up on it either. We know the media doesn’t have the best track record here in Australia, but we thought Usher would have been too big of a name to ignore. It has now been 2 weeks and there is not a single mention of it happening in the mainstream media. The only mentions were a write-up by a local radio station and some small local media outlets. The same thing happened when Ed Sheeran first wore an Aboriginal flag shirt at a Sydney concert in 2015.
What a wasted opportunity. The Australian government know that millions of dollars is made by the tourism industry each year. They spend millions on campaigns but when an opportunity to promote Usher’s visit comes along, they completely ignore it. They didn’t even need to collaborate with him, all they needed to do was highlight what happened and encourage more people to do the same. On that note, if you’re looking for an Indigenous owned and operated tour company and travel experiences, then head over to iwaratravel.com.au.
For a nation that has a strong focus on building a strong economy why would they let opportunities like this slip by?
Do you think it’s possible there is an agenda and a feeling of resentment from those in power towards our culture and people? The power of imagery and symbolism is very strong and that is why I believe they are doing their best to hide this imagery as much as possible. If your still not convinced, then a quick (or long) look at Tourism Australia’s website might change your mind. Scroll through their homepage, click on the links to various cities around Australia, scroll down, can you see any imagery of Aboriginal culture? I’m sure if you dig around enough you will find something but you can’t say they are actively promoting these experiences. We just finished scrolling through more than 2 years worth of photos on their Facebook page and guess what; we found one Didgeridoo, one Coolamon and zero Blackfulla’s. A similar experience can also be found with Qantas, Australia’s national airline’s website. The lack of culture is also evident when entering any one of Australia’s International airports.
So why is this happening?
I believe these examples are a clear indication of an agenda to remove us from the international spotlight. Perhaps there is pressure from existing non-Indigenous tour operators to leave us out of the picture. Perhaps some of the examples above are an oversight by those working in the organisations. However in terms of the media and at a government level, I believe there is a clear resentment towards the continued survival of our people and culture. I also think they fear what impact promoting and uplifting our people might have on their economy too. What will it lead to? More pressure from the International community about Australia’s failures to uphold and respect our basic human rights? Actual Land Rights? Self Determination?
If this fear is true, then we have a very serious problem. It would mean assimilation policies still exist. In case assimilation doesn’t sound that bad, it means, “breeding our race out of existence” and is a form of genocide.
I hope I can be proven wrong.
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