Today I wish to share with you a new challenge I’m starting based on the template below. I’m hoping this will inspire other readers to read, review and amplify more black books. Feel free to join me! Starting at Day #1, I will replace the word favourite with read. For example, I need to read a memoir by a black author. Day #2, I need to read a book by a black male author and so on. Does this make sense? Now just to clarify, I am not reading one book per day. These posts will simply pop up on my blog whenever I happen to complete that particular prompt.
I chose Growing up Aboriginal in Australia for Day #1 because a.) it relates to my country and b.) it is a collection of short memoirs from black authors that was too important not to review. It was published in April 2018 but with The Black Lives Matter Movement currently gaining worldwide attention, it has been popping up on social media everywhere. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Despite being born in Australia and living here for 31 years, I regretfully do not know much about Indigenous/Aboriginal culture. It is essential that I continue to educate myself and show respect. I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging. This anthology, edited by Anita Heiss, features 50 diverse voices providing their raw, honest accounts of what exactly it is like growing up Aboriginal in Australia. From elders to teenagers, poets, artists, sports-stars, actors, singers, dancers and more, we are gifted with a plethora of experiences that weave together a common theme: overcoming adversity.
The elders describe the heartache of being brought up during The Stolen Generations – these were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian federal and state government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The younger generation reveal how they struggled ‘fitting in’ at school; becoming the butt of white children’s jokes and enduring racism on a daily basis. One speaker remembers the local policeman running over her two dogs as an act of discriminatory hate. There are multiple stories from mixed Aboriginal writers that were told they weren’t ‘black enough’ or ‘white enough.’ Some tales are only a page long, others are several. Each chapter features a photograph of the speaker as a child and at the back of the book, you will find a short biography with their present day image.
Even if you aren’t from Australia, you may recognise some of these high-profile names that are featured within the book: Adam Goodes, Miranda Tapsell, Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Amy McQuire, Alexis West, Celeste Liddle, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina and more. My experience reading this memoir was transformative, inspiring and educational. I learnt new terminology, tribal names and cultural customs. I was awakened to several types of oppression that I have not, nor ever will experience in my life. I wept for those from The Stolen Generations and was genuinely inspired by the Aboriginal community’s ability to persevere, overcome and remain true despite all odds. Do I recommend this book? 100%. It is our responsibility as white people with white privilege to continue uplifting, listening and amplifying black voices.
If you are interested in getting a copy, you can order it here.
Thank you so much for reading, I will see you all soon for Day #2!
Peace & Love xoxo
Disclaimer: This post contains a link to my Book Depository Affiliate. I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own