Reflective Essay On Aboriginal Culture

770 Words 4 Pages
As an Aboriginal man, my life experiences differ from many other non-indigenous Australians. My cultural identity and perceived place in Australian society have presented hardships and challenges such as racism and discrimination - inherent prejudices or preconceived ideas regarding Australia 's indigenous people, access to health and welfare services, unemployment and substance addiction. My story is one of hardship but also one of triumph - I am a survivor.

As with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, I am afflicted with diabetes. The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey report (2012 - 2013) stated that 8% of indigenous Australians were diabetic, three times higher than that of non-indigenous Australians
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Many factors can be attributed to these mental health issues. For example, colonization and dispossession, low self-esteem and self-worth, loss of one 's culture and own identity, and chronic illness and substance abuse are endemic (Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission 2010). I have suffered mental health issues. However, my issues stem from racism - inherent prejudices or preconceived ideas held towards me as a member of the Aboriginal community. A TNS Social Research study commissioned by Beyond Blue gave credence to the view that discrimination against indigenous Australians is pervasive. There were many misconceptions held by the non-Indigenous Australians interviewed such as the view, by 42 percent of interviewees, that Indigenous Australians are given unfair advantages by the government. Thirty seven percent of those interviewed believed that Indigenous Australians were lazy, 31 percent believed that Aboriginals should do more to assimilate by behaving more like other Australians, and 20 percent believed that racist terms applied to Indigenous Australians were innocuous, therefore inoffensive (Beyond Blue 2014, p. 5). However, on average more than 70 percent of interviewees believed that racism was a significant contributing factor in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem (Beyond Blue 2014, p. 6). Unemployment is a contributing factor to mental health

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