Friday, 22 January 2016

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's a powerful speech by Stan Grant, the SBS newsreader. Listening to him gave me a lump in throat and renewed the shame I feel deep in my heart, toward our dominant white culture.

Our white culture- the conquering, western, patriarchal, Australian, capitalist, consumerist, corporate run culture, that even on its best days is only slightly challenged by our democratic processes - is cruel and sexist.

The cruelty and sexism in our culture is almost too much... too insidiously and overwhelmingly evil... to discuss.

Stan Grant legitimately speaks to us about the suffering of his people. He tells us that his success did not come from being an Australian but rather, it came to him despite being an Australian of aboriginal heritage. He had the strength and support to succeed while battling the awful pressures of our white, racist society... but... the fact remains that Stan Grant, no matter his race or societal status, is a man in a man's world. Men dominate. Men rule. Men...especially middle class men and even those with darker skin...have all the power, authority and privilege in our patriarchal culture. 

Women and children are down the ladder and black women are even further down. 

Someone said that South Africa learnt apartheid from Australia.

We need an un-compromised and unrestricted Government, who will change our laws so that all Australian women  receive equal, fair work opportunities and easy access to education and health. The level of domestic violence in Australian society is indicative of the way our culture perceives women. All Australians need to grow in awareness, so that we can change the hearts and minds of our people. Look at the great strides we've made in cultural attitudes toward same sex attraction. And I've been told that attitudes are beginning to change toward all LGBT people. About time Australia!

I believe the first step toward social justice and healing in Australia, is to help as many people as possible become aware of these dysfunctions and attitudes within our culture and then to become self aware, in order to create behavioral changes in our own lives. Are we strong enough to raise these issues with the people in our communities, in work places and with our families? Are we prepared to become examples of a better way of living and to be unafraid to speak up when we experience or become aware of injustice?

 I believe that cultural change will only take place when people finally develop such courage and then it will simply be a matter of critical mass. If we, as a human race, can rise up with one voice, we can create a new world where not only are we all equal but also treated justly and fairly.

As Martin Luther King Jr so famously said ' Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

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