“We face an uphill battle with these people, especially the bush natives, who have to be protected against themselves. If they would only understand what we are trying to do for them.”
-Mr. Neville, former chief protector of Aborigines in Western Australia
I just finished watching the film “Rabbit Proof Fence”. I avoided watching it for over a year as it sat among the six other DVDs that I own. I sensed the film would be painful to watch, and it is.
The film chronicles the real life journey of three young ‘half-caste’ aboriginal girls taken 1,200 miles from their mothers so that they could be assimilated into white society (then serve as domestics). They escaped and walked home. One of them did not complete the journey.
This practice of forcibly removing the children from their families, friends and cultures continued until 1970. According to the film, “Today many of these Aboriginal people continue to suffer from this destruction of identity, family life and culture. We call them the Stolen Generation.”
The filmmakers make it clear that the white Christians who perpetuated these acts did so out of noble intentions and Christian service. They portrayed the white Christians in a way that revealed their cultural bias and racism to the audience while it remained hidden to the characters themselves.
We white Christians have gotten it wrong many many times. One would think it would engender a measure of humility in us. Scientists continually admit where they get it wrong, a fact that creationists seek to exploit. But the nature of science is one of discovery and uncovering of wrong assumptions and hypothsis.
I think of much of the converative church’s views on homosexuality and how some genuinely believe they are doing the right and loving and godly thing when they insist that queer people must repent in order to enter in the kingdom of God.
Can they not see that they are simply granting us entry into the domain of heterosexuals on their own terms while all the while wrapping it up in God’s name?