Proxima

17983396-proximaImagine my surprise when the last book I read in 2015, hard science fiction about interplanetary colonisation by British author Stephen Baxter, inadvertently slotted itself into the Indigenous Reading Challenge I set myself earlier in the year.

The book – Proxima – is not a perfect fit with the challenge because it is not by an Indigenous author, but one of the main characters is Aboriginal Australian.

– SPOILERS –

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Black enough for who?

Book cover - Anita Heiss looks over her glasses at the reader.In her Boyer Lectures, Marcia Langton points out that many white Australians haven’t really got to grips with the reality that Aboriginal people can be middle class. Instead they cling to a particular stereotype of Australia’s Indigenous population: very dark skinned, very poor and in need of help, either living isolated from modern society in remote areas, or begging on urban streets.

It’s a convenient stereotype, because it enables non-Aboriginal Australians to continue acting in racist and paternalistic ways towards Indigenous people, including denying them the right to self-determination and identity. Continue reading

Foreign Gods, Inc.

In her well known TED talk, The danger of a single story, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses the necessity of countering stereotypes and ignorance with stories that reflect the true diversity of societies, countries, continents and humanity generally.

As I write, events that occurred in France last week are dominating the media. I won’t say that there’s a single story about these events, although certainly you could argue that a dominant ‘single’ story equating Islam with trouble may have contributed to the extreme alienation of the young Muslim men responsible for the Charlie Hebdo and supermarket siege murders. Sadly, the murders will probably reinforce that story in the minds of people who already fear and hate Muslims. Continue reading

Review: Mixed

9780393327861_p0_v1_s260x420What can the parents of mixed race children learn from the experience of people who are, themselves, mixed? That’s the question that was in the back of my mind while reading Mixed: An anthology of short fiction on the multiracial experience.

I’ve come away a little wiser, but not a whole lot happier, because the main message of this collection of stories by mixed race authors is that multi and biracial people have been doing it tough. Very tough. Continue reading

Monday music: Spinning the blues

SpinningIn case you are new to Monday Music, this month I have been reflecting on the musical influence of my older brother Mark, who was born on the 25th September. He would have turned 62 this month. This week’s post, which is the last of the series, also doubles as the finale in a quartet of posts that I decided to write as part of my grieving/healing process after his death almost three years ago.
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Buckets, toilets, mountains

Collecting water in Kumasi.

Collecting water in Kumasi.

Listening to the complex layered JuJu music of Nigerian music supremo King Sunny Ade as I was driving to the Blue Mountains recently, I wondered if I would ever get a chance to see him perform live. 

Then I thought about the fact that I wish this almost every time I listen to his music, and realised that the desire belongs on a bucket list. As does my desire to learn how to play guitar the way he does – and/or in the style of Ali Farka Toure and other West African master guitarists. Continue reading