Reynolds's Political Misconceptions In Why Weren 'T We Told'

Good Essays
The composer’s representation of people and politics are products of their own political motivations and perspective, which advocate discussion and awareness amongst the audiences by exposing the hidden fallacies embedded within historical past. Portrayed through personal and public agendas, the process of representation evokes awareness amongst readers by compelling them to revaluate their own perspectives in their political sphere. Inherent in Henry Reynold’s memoir, Why Weren’t We Told (1999) is a representation of society’s attitudes towards race relations in Australian history, reflecting flaws of the communal ‘white blindfold’ perception of Aboriginal past. Reynolds’ personal account exposes the need to revise such misconceptions that …show more content…
Reynolds draws on his political motivation to uncover the truth of Australia’s colonial past in an effort to represent the disparities between the glorified Australian identity and the harsh reality of institutionalised discrimination towards Aborigines. Reynolds thus bestows the reader with a greater awareness, therein encouraging them to revaluate their perception of Australian history and to question the idealistic portrayal of Australian identity. Accordingly, Reynolds writes of his visit to Norfolk Island, where two young Aboriginal girls were imprisoned for the trivial offence of swearing, allowing the audiences to question their previous perception that Australia is ‘fair’ to all. The dichotomy between the accumulated images of suppression in “the locks, reinforced door, bars and thick concrete walls”, to “the little thin girls”, triggers both sympathy and shock within responders and forces them to recognise the harsh reality of aboriginal treatment ingrained within Australia’s identity, where even children were exposed to discriminatory conduct. Furthermore, in the chapter “Lest We Forget”, Reynolds draws on his criticism of the inconsistencies in Australia’s political history in the emphasis of the symbol in the fallen soldier and the Anzac spirit, highlighting the dignified but exclusionary nature of the Australian identity. This is apparent through his contrast of Australia’s indifferent reaction to the death of Aboriginals to the expected …show more content…
Evident in his transition from ignorance to a state of apprehension on the reality of Aboriginal treatment, Reynold's metaphorical journey of "heroic bushmen [who] had bloodstained hands", invites audiences to follow a similar path towards awareness and reconciliation by educating society of the racial warfare in the past. By representing the extent to which the denial of historical atrocities have been ingrained in the psyche of today's society, Reynolds encourages responders to take upon a renewed perspective that refutes the denials of the "white blind-fold" history. This societal ignorance is portrayed through the intertextual letter, "Sir you are nothing but a shit-stirring academic", where Reynolds ridicules the incomprehension of those who chose to wear a "white blind-fold", and thus he encourages audiences to acknowledge the extent of the atrocities of the past. Moreover, in his last chapter 'Writing Black Armband History", Reynolds proposes that a deeper knowledge of frontier history and the truths regarding race relations is liberating for Australians, where they symbolically "no longer [need] to cling to those comforting legends of the empty land" as these false "legends" bind Australia to its hypocritical and misguided identity. Hence,

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