There’s a lot in a name in highlands Melpa
Lessons from a kiap in old Bougainville

White privilege era over; but it’s dying hard

Use white privilege to fight racism (Boston Globe)CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I am sorry that my comments on the pre-independence speculation that Papua New Guinea might become a state of Australia has been interpreted as reflecting a white supremacist outlook, or one of white privilege.

Although I freely admit to being both white and privileged, I certainly don't assume that this confers upon me some special intelligence, wisdom or insight.

In my comments I was merely trying to point out that another future was always entirely possible in 1975 and, in fact, still is.

Nevertheless, I think it is quite reasonable to argue that I am wrong for some of the reasons offered by Stephen Charteris in his comments on my article.

History is not especially encouraging, especially if read through the prism of ‘woke’ thinking that emphasises concern about issues of social and racial justice.

A great deal of historical injustice, cruelty and greed is in evidence, much of it perpetrated by European imperialists, although such behaviours are a common feature of humanity generally.

That said, the future doesn't have to be an action replay of the past.

It is perfectly feasible to create another future in which the evils of the past and present can be confronted and their harms minimised, if not entirely eradicated.

Australia is one of the comparatively few countries in the world that has succeeded in creating a large and growing multicultural society where citizenship is based upon a commitment to the nation, not exclusively on common ethnic or linguistic grounds alone.

Is it perfect? Certainly not. It is work in progress that, over my lifetime has created a better version of Australia than the one I was born into.

Large numbers of people of colour have now settled in Australia and most of them are grateful to have had the chance to do so.

The circumstances of indigenous Australians have changed for the better although much more work needs to be done to overcome the legacy of colonial dispossession and genocidal behaviour.

Importantly, there is a significant amount of public support for indigenous Australians, although this currently lacks focus, in part at least because of the inability of the political class to articulate and develop a way forward.

So there have been problems along the way and no doubt there will be more to come, but the trend is clear enough to see.

A hand upIn that context, therefore, why not invite Melanesia to join with Australia, perhaps initially in a European Union-type structure and, later, as member states of our Commonwealth?

The only certainty about the future is that the era of white privilege is over.

We are witnessing its death throes in various ways, perhaps most obviously in the USA.

It is clearly an idea that will die very hard indeed and I definitely do not wish to even inadvertently seek to prolong it.

Please view my speculations about Papua New Guinea in that light.


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Lindsay F Bond

Be clear too "that the era of white privilege" is a discussion about nations and the wholeness of societies.

The reason for my small intrusion is that, at a more personal level, privilege continues to be bestowed upon visitors (including tourists) by choice of each hosting community.

Any perceived gifting of position or rank is in each instance honourable of people gifting deference.

Therefore, delay not the privilege of your next visit.

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