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Presented by Inga Clendinnen 191299 What Now Lecture SixSummaryIn lecture six Dr Clendinnen discusses the way forward for Australia arguing that unless we have a cornucopia of true stories we will never know what really happened While the past is past she says it is not dead Includes Booklist Details or Transcript It is only thirty-two years ago that Aborigines ceased to be protected persons and were recognized as free citizens Only thirty-two years ago did the belated drive towards political and social equality begin The emphasis naturally fell on rights especially the one which had become symbolic of Aboriginal exclusion Some of those who fought hardest for that constitutional change have since admitted despair as they have watched the havoc wrought in too many Aboriginal communities by the unfettered right to drink Marcia Langton has written on the artful ways in which white Australians have concocted the stereotype of the drunken Aborigine which identifies the Aboriginal drinker as debased by nature while leaving any number of addicted white Australians to drink themselves sodden with impunity Langton also reminds us that whites deliberately used and continue to use alcohol along with opium and other drugs to seduce and control Aborigines while simultaneously exposing them to contempt That is true However it is also true that alcohol dependence has been shredding the social fabric of many Aboriginal communities especially since the relaxation of that legal prohibition on drinking with not much white encouragement beyond an eagerness to supply There are probably more Aboriginal teetotallers per head of population than there are among whites -- they know what drink can do But alcohol has a killing grip on a lot of Aboriginal men and on increasing numbers of women too Why has it proved so destructive for them I suspect there is a seriously useful historical anthropology waiting to be written on changing Aboriginal uses of alcohol but today I want to focus on the dynamics of
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