Lost to view: the resilience of Indigenous Australians in the face of systematic racism

Graham, Deborah G. (2015) Lost to view: the resilience of Indigenous Australians in the face of systematic racism. In: Pulla, Venkat, and Mamidi, Bharath Bhushan, (eds.) Some Aspects of Community Empowerment and Resilience. Allied Publishers, Mumbai, India, pp. 49-62.

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Indigenous Australians are extraordinarily resilient to have survived at all. They have been massacred, disenfranchised, marginalised and discriminated against since colonisation. Consequently, ongoing physical, emotional, psychological and social harm is evident resulting in too many original Australians feeling rudderless and hopeless. Initiatives to improve the plight of Indigenous Australians have shown mixed results. Self-determination and empowerment have been recommended as positive strategies to improve coping and resilience, while also fostering hope. How achievable is this though in a society like Australia? Automaticity of thought, as evidenced in stereotyping, is linked to deep-seated beliefs derived from social interaction and the society that an individual lives in and absorbs values and beliefs from. As Frith (2012) noted, introspection of our actions can be fragile and erroneous. We need to think about what we think. We need to examine thinking and actively promote the need to self regulate thinking in all members of society. How we think about other people affects them. How people see themselves is largely made up of reflected appraisal. This paper provides examples of racism linked to automatic thinking (and the harm that it can do) along with some strategies aimed at increasing equity and social justice for Indigenous Australians. No matter how resilient Indigenous Australians are, unless the environment fosters equality while valuing the uniqueness of Australia's first people, long-term positive gains will be difficult to obtain. It is time for all Australians to join with Aboriginal Australians in understanding and celebrating their pivotal place in Australian society.

Item ID: 37010
Item Type: Book Chapter (Other)
ISBN: 978-81-8424-962-0
Keywords: Indigenous Australians; racism; education; strength; stereotypes; resilience
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2015 07:03
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance @ 20%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920413 Social Structure and Health @ 100%
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