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Updated by deanna-parkinson on Mar 01, 2017
Headline for 6 Times Redfern Now Showed Us Indigenous Australians are Inhibited by Contemporary Australia
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6 Times Redfern Now Showed Us Indigenous Australians are Inhibited by Contemporary Australia

'Stand Up', Episode 4 of Season One, shows that contemporary Australia is strongly dominated by people of European descent. This is unfair, as it can cause Indigenous Australians to become repressed in ways we don't even realise.

1

An Indigenous boy was told to research Australia for homework.

An Indigenous boy was told to research Australia for homework.

I think the important thing here is to say that he was told to research contemporary, white-dominated Australia. This homework was set as if he didn't understand the importance of the anthem and what it means to the "Australian people". In reality, the whole issue was that he did understand what it meant, and he didn't feel like a part of it. He didn't feel like he was represented in the song. As he was typing into Google Images, we were shown his face. He looked irked and faintly disgusted that he was being forced to do this.

2

Google's Definition of Australia was... interesting.

Google's Definition of Australia was... interesting.

When Joel did search ‘Australia’, the main things that came up were commercial/tourist photos. These included things like the Big Banana, girls in Australian-flag-patterned bikinis, sunset beaches and meat pies. There is a close up of Joel’s computer screen to emphasise the images and to let us clearly see what Joel was seeing. This really makes us question our priorities. There was no mention at all of the Indigenous Australians or any natural Australian lands, something to which many Indigenous Australians have a spiritual connection.

3

Students lose simple, basic rights.

Students lose simple, basic rights.

When the Indigenous boys and girls stayed back to support Joel and their own rights, they were threatened with expulsion. When the children refused to stand and sing, Mrs MaCann (the principal) said to them, “I have tried to be reasonable. I have tried to respect your point of view. But if you will not meet me halfway, I will not hesitate to expel you. Every single one of you.” This is ridiculous, because she obviously has not tried to be reasonable or respect their point of view. Children have a right to have different beliefs and cultures, and these students were punished for it.

4

How many teachers appear to be Indigenous?

How many teachers appear to be Indigenous?

Look at this. Really look at it. How many of these teachers do you think are Indigenous to Australia? We know that there was one teacher, Mr Moore, who was probably Indigenous judging by his talk of previous experience, but how many others do you count? This may be a coincidence, but with the principal’s disregard to Indigenous students’ feelings about the anthem, I’m not sure it is. This long shot gives us the perfect view of the teachers lined up, and you can see the principal proudly standing on the right end of the line. If a school is going to be truly fair and respectful to all students and cultures, and all rights are to be truly honoured, there needs to be equal representation within positions of power. This would allow everyone’s perspective to be genuinely understood.

If we delve deeper into the consequences of this determined act, we can apply the same concept to other areas. We understand that a culturally unbalanced teaching panel can cause disruptions to a learning environment in which the students are culturally diverse. Doesn’t this mean that other positions of power ought to be equally balanced too? For example, is the Australian government balanced culturally?

5

The scholarship was given to another boy without a thought.

The scholarship was given to another boy without a thought.

When the principal had Joel expelled, to try and show the public that she wasn’t racist, she immediately replaced him with another boy from the same neighbourhood. Unfortunately for her, this action could also be seen as her viewing the boys as interchangeable, which then implies that she doesn’t really care about Indigenous culture and simply has the scholarship for the publicity. In this scene we see the press interviewing the principal, and we hear her speak about how (insert quote here). This shows us that actions truly do speak louder than words, because even as she in saying these “fair” lines, we know that she does not mean them.

6

The school staff didn't even try to understand Joel's reasoning.

The school staff didn't even try to understand Joel's reasoning.

When Joel sat down during the national anthem, the principal was extremely angry and offended. I suppose this can be excused, because she didn’t know why he’d done it, right? She probably just thought he was being a difficult student. But when he continued to sit and refuse to sing, her anger simply grew, and she punished him. This cannot be excused. She never gave him the chance to explain his actions, and when he tried to he wasn’t listened too! How could she expect him to follow her rules if she wouldn’t hear him out? The above shot clearly shows us the moment when Joel sits down, and it’s close enough that we can see the determination on his face.

Surely this is a lesson to us, as the audience. When people refuse to understand the reasoning behind others’ decisions, everyone simply becomes more resentful and determined to prove the others wrong. It is not in any way at all beneficial to the situation.

7

In the end, we learnt a very important lesson.

In the end, we learnt a very important lesson.

This episode taught us about power, responsibilities, rights (or lack thereof), and the importance of viewing these social constructs from multiple perspectives. Joel had to face a huge challenge, but with the support of his parents, community, and his own strength, he took on that challenge and overcame it. We have a right to defend what we believe in. Don’t ever be afraid to Stand Up.