So here is a challenging one – which I must say, I find very confronting!
Last month Coalition MP Dennis Jensen controversially told Parliament he does not think the Government should be funding people to live a ‘noble savage’ lifestyle in remote Indigenous c
To label Indigenous Australians as ‘noble savages’ – particularly in 2016 – is deeply offensive (or as Sociologists may say, is an act of symbolic violence). To suggest that the decision to live in remote communities is a ‘lifestyle choice’ ignores the deep-rooted and intrinsic relationship Indigenous Australians have to their country: something that has been well outlined and researched in many reports including some great work by Amnesty International.
Mr Jensen’s words echo previous comments made by Mr Tony Abbott (who was then PM) when he backed a plan to close more than 100 remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia.
In Dr Nikki Moodie’s chapter on ‘Aboriginal Australia’ in Sociologic, she discusses the ways contemporary societies reproduce historical patterns of control and domination on Indigenous people, specifically the ways Western worldviews tend to ignore the social and cultural reality of many Indigenous Australians.
After reading Anna Henderson’s article for the ABC, and having a look at Moodie’s chapter, what do you think?
How does the idea of the ‘noble savage’ reproduce racist assumptions about Aboriginal people?
And – more broadly – how do Jensen’s comments reproduce the historical patterns of control and domination experienced by Indigenous Australians?
james and Alex