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Beyond White Guilt

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Summary

“I think a lot of people will hate this book. They will feel angry and want to immediately deny that they share in the collective guilt that I diagnose,” says author Sarah Maddison about Beyond White Guilt [1].

Deep in our hearts, Australians know that our nation was built on land that does not belong to us.

Some of us now assert that Aboriginal people should simply take advantage of opportunities offered by white society. But many others feel guilt, often turning this guilt inwards, feeling helpless in the face of the appalling conditions in which many of the original inhabitants of this country now live.

Successive government policies of obliteration, assimilation, cultural maintenance and intervention have manifestly failed to bridge the gulf between black and white Australians, and to improve the lives of many Aboriginal Australians. Efforts at reconciliation have stalled. In many ways, we are stuck.

Sarah Maddison argues that there is no point in looking again to governments for a solution to these challenges. Rather, it is up to us, all of us.

We need to acknowledge our collective responsibility, change at a deep level, and develop a revitalised view of our national self. Only then will we develop policies and practical solutions that work.

An excellent diagnosis of Australia's mind-set.—Jeff McMullen journalist, author and film maker

Instead of engagement what I often see is anger, frequently there is blame, and very often there is the kind of paralysis that I experienced.—Sarah Maddison, author [1]

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