In black and white: Australians all at the crossroads


Today I was invited to a book launch of In black and white : Australians all at the crossroads, held at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University.

One of the editors, Anthony Dillon, spoke about the timeliness of the book, given the recent media controversy around racism in the AFL .  He pointed out that this collection of essays brings together many different viewpoints and perspectives on indigenous issues, and stressed the importance of being able to express our different opinions, but to do so respectfully.

Curtin University academics Brian Steel and Dot Goulding also spoke about their contribution to the book, which looks at the over-representation of indigenous Australians within the WA criminal justice system.

Overall, the book demonstrates that while a lot has changed,  many things remain the same and there have been some dramatic failures in many areas of Aboriginal affairs.  It considers how we can find common ground to help realise Australia’s Indigenous talent, eradicate disadvantage, and grow Aboriginal success.

If you have the opportunity to recommend this title to your library, it would be great if you did so – it is an important contribution to the growing body of research literature in Australian Indigenous studies.

Black and White : Australians all at the crossroads, edited by Rhonda Craven, Anthony Dillon, and Nigel Parbury,  Connor Court, 2013.

For anyone interested, here are some quotes from the book:

Peter Shergold, Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney

This volume sets out to illuminate the diverse and at times diametrically opposed viewpoints – and to find the common ground that is prerequisite for effective solutions. Some of the essays raised my spirits. Others raised my ire. All engaged me and, together, made me reflect anew on the public policy of Indigenous Affairs.

Rhonda Craven & Nigel Parbury

… as a nation we need a new intellectual mindset and new and dynamic focus upon ensuring Australia flourishes by explicating what seeds success.

Mick Gooda

… let’s not mince words here: it’s going to take a lot of work to overcome the hurt and to fix the relationships that have broken down …

Kerryn Pholi

… we need to stop talking in terms of ‘closing the gap’. There are Aboriginal people whose social and material circumstances are virtually indistinguishable from those of other middle-class Australians.

Patricia Shadforth

[My husband’s] mantra was that Aboriginal people would never be equal until they were treated equally, and whilst they had been granted equal rights, no one had imposed equal responsibility.

Dave and Bess Price

The voices of the dispossessed, the most marginalised, those who suffer most are routinely ignored in the clamour – in fact, often deliberately and systematically excluded by those who have appointed themselves as spokespeople.

Paddy Cavanagh

History matters. It is crucial to understanding and developing the relationship between ALL Aboriginal and ALL non-Aboriginal Australians.

Sara Hudson

Expecting Aboriginal people to adapt and participate in Australian society should not be equated with assimilation.

Seán Kerins

… when Indigenous peoples’ aspirations, knowledge, cultures, and skills are given priority in project development they often succeed.

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