The real challenge for black-white relations in Australia
Deep in our hearts, Australians know that our nation was built on land that does not belong to us. Some of us now assert that Aboriginal people should simply take advantage of opportunities offered by white society. But many others feel guilt, often turning this guilt inwards, feeling helpless in the face of the appalling conditions in which many of the original inhabitants of this country now live. Successive government policies of obliteration, assimilation, cultural maintenance and intervention have manifestly failed to bridge the gulf between black and white Australians, and to improve the lives of many Aboriginal Australians. Efforts at reconciliation have stalled. In many ways, we are stuck.
Sarah Maddison argues that there is no point in looking again to governments for a solution to these challenges. Rather, it is up to us, all of us. We need to acknowledge our collective responsibility, change at a deep level, and develop a revitalised view of our national self. Only then will we develop policies and practical solutions that work.