You can learn a lot from watching philosophical debates. There’s been a lot of criticism of the Australian Left recently and here’s another aspect to consider, this time it is around Aboriginal politics and institutional racism.
Here’s this from Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist:
Speaking of culture, as stated, I identify as a critical thinker rather than a “cultural relativist”. This very fact has made for some rather “interesting” conversations over the years. To give a small example, I have had arguments with people when I have felt those people have idealised gender roles in traditional society. I don’t necessarily believe that gender equivalence equals gender equality and whilst indeed we are a culture that celebrates strong women who have authority, there are enough well-known cultural markers (for example, marriage rites) to indicate that “equality” may not be a completely accurate description in most tribal circumstances. Hell, we are the most studied people in the world, or close to, and even those with little knowledge are able to crack open a book and read passages that have been written, including ones from Marcia Langton, detailing patriarchal practices within desert cultures. Also, having set roles in a society based on gender has rarely been consistent with “equality” anywhere in the world. This is one of the many reasons of why I am so for the concept of “self-determination”; we must have the ability to critically examine ALL culture and assert our identity, both as Aboriginal people and as women, in order to move society forward as a strong and healthy unit. I argue that through having to continually defend ourselves in the face of colonisation and gender inequality, individually and structurally, we are currently denied that right of self-determination and can are therefore diminished in our ability to re-imagine society, social structures, legal systems etc in ways that are inclusive and owned by us. Long story short: I question and will always do so. I don’t believe everything I was told and I certainly will not forgive what are transgressions of basic human rights when arguments of cultural practice are used. It is completely possible to practice culture and respect culture whilst questioning elements of it and pushing for change, in my opinion.
In reply to this from Bess Price:
Some people call this integration, others call it [assimilation] because they want us to continue to live in poverty, violence and ignorance so we can play out their fantasies on what the word ‘culture’ means. I call it problem solving and saving lives. The left has its own agenda and liberating our people from violence is not part of that agenda.