A Long Way from Home, A novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Oceania, Passing on 2018-03-05 01:46Z by Steven

A Long Way from Home, A novel

Knopf
2018-02-27
336 pages
6-1/4 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525520177
eBook ISBN: 9780525520184

Peter Carey

The two-time Booker Prize-winning author now gives us a wildly exuberant, wily new novel that circumnavigates 1954 Australia, revealing as much about the country/continent as it does about three audacious individuals who take part in the infamous 10,000-mile race, the Redex Trial.

Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in southeastern Australia. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky, fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher who calls the turns and creeks crossings on a map that will remove them, without warning, from the white Australia they all know so well. This is a thrilling high-speed story that starts in one way, and then takes you someplace else. It is often funny, more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves.

Set in the 1950s, this is a world every American will recognize: black, white, who we are, how we got here, and what we did to each other along the way.

A Long Way from Home is Peter Carey’s late-style masterpiece.

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“You can’t be a white Australian writer and spend your whole life ignoring the greatest, most important aspect of our history, and that is that we – I – have been the beneficiaries of a genocide.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-02-12 02:07Z by Steven

A Long Way from Home, Peter Carey’s 14th novel, uses the story of a light-skinned Indigenous Australian who has been brought up white to address the country’s brutal history of racism. It seems strange at first that Carey – surely Australia’s greatest living novelist, even if he hasn’t dwelled there for decades – has taken so long to get around to the subject. In a recent interview in the Australian, he said that he’d always felt that it was not the place of a white writer to tell this tale. Then something changed: “You can’t be a white Australian writer and spend your whole life ignoring the greatest, most important aspect of our history, and that is that we – I – have been the beneficiaries of a genocide.”

Alex Preston, “A Long Way from Home review – Peter Carey’s best novel in decades,” The Guardian, January 15, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/15/a-long-way-from-home-peter-carey-review.

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A Long Way from Home review – Peter Carey’s best novel in decades

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Oceania, Passing on 2018-01-25 04:32Z by Steven

A Long Way from Home review – Peter Carey’s best novel in decades

The Guardian
2018-01-15

Alex Preston

The acclaimed writer’s 14th novel is a nuanced story of racial identity set in postwar Australia

Writers are by nature chameleons, with each new character a new disguise to take on, a fresh skin to inhabit. It shouldn’t surprise, then, that racial passing has such a rich literary history. Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, Passing, is a near-forgotten classic, telling of two mixed-race women, Clare and Irene, who identify as white and black respectively. More recently, we’ve had Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, in which the African American Coleman Silk attempts to pass for a Jewish academic. Then there’s Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill, whose concluding revelation about one of the characters’ racial identities does what all good end-of-book twists ought to, shedding new light on the entire novel.

A Long Way from Home, Peter Carey’s 14th novel, uses the story of a light-skinned Indigenous Australian who has been brought up white to address the country’s brutal history of racism. It seems strange at first that Carey – surely Australia’s greatest living novelist, even if he hasn’t dwelled there for decades – has taken so long to get around to the subject. In a recent interview in the Australian, he said that he’d always felt that it was not the place of a white writer to tell this tale. Then something changed: “You can’t be a white Australian writer and spend your whole life ignoring the greatest, most important aspect of our history, and that is that we – I – have been the beneficiaries of a genocide.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Coming to Terms with Mixed Race

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Oceania on 2017-11-04 19:58Z by Steven

Coming to Terms with Mixed Race

The Quadrant
July 2017

Robert Murray

One of the difficulties of Stan Grant’s recent book is trying to pin down how pre-TV life differed from that of any working-class boy from the bush who makes it in the big smoke. But then there are quite a few things Grant neglects to explore in his genial but ultimately frustrating personal history

From either a primary school teacher or from my Mum, I heard at an early age that part-European indigenous people—then known inelegantly as “half-castes”—were caught between two worlds, and that could make life difficult for them. Their dilemma has been around for a long time but has never really been part of the public discussion, or even much awareness. “The Aboriginal problem” seems to remain firmly with the remote tribal people, where it has always been.

This is part of the value of Stan Grant’s memoir, reviewed by Jeremy Sammut in the June 2016 edition of Quadrant, his story of being one of the Westernised “light-skinned” part-Europeans who today make up the majority of those who identify as Aborigines. Sammut’s review concentrated on the part of the book dealing with recent indigenous public policy. This piece adds the more personal mixed-race aspect.

“The old definitions of Aboriginality strain to serve the constellation of groups and individuals that lay claim to that identity,” Stan Grant writes. In some ways, it doesn’t seem to have made things all that difficult for Grant, manual worker’s son from the Riverina who became a successful television journalist and is now an indigenous celebrity. But he says it was an extra load to carry, perhaps in small rather than big ways.

His autobiography, Talking to My Country, is important as a brightly written, lucid account of mixed-race life—if we can use that useful but unloved term. As the title suggests, it aspires to be talking to this country about Aboriginality, but is a word-play also on his home country in the Riverina district of New South Wales where his boyhood had little in common with the “full descent” communities of the remote outback that get all the publicity.

“Aboriginal” or “indigenous” still implies to most Australians the Northern Territory, Cape York or the Kimberley, the dark-skinned people only lately and lightly integrated to modern ways and often troubled by them. The figures put it otherwise. Most who identify as Aborigines these days live in the south, much as other Australians do, but their circumstances or predicaments, when there are predicaments, get little media, political, academic and thus public attention. It has ever been thus. Colonial governments believed they had an obligation to shield “full-bloods” from the conspicuously damaging effects of newly established white society, but they expected mixed-race people to just become like everybody else. To a large extent they did, but not without problems, often emotional as much as anything.

The total Australian population now identifying officially as of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent is close to 700,000. About 175,000 live in New South Wales, almost all of them thought to be of mixed descent and more or less Westernised, like the majority nationally. Corroboree-type ceremony in New South Wales is believed to have died out around 1900…

Read the entire article here.

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Racism is real, race is not: a philosopher’s perspective

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Oceania, Philosophy, Social Science on 2017-09-07 02:31Z by Steven

Racism is real, race is not: a philosopher’s perspective

The Conversation
2017-08-31

Adam Hochman, Lecturer in Philosophy
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


from www.shutterstock.com

There are no races – biological or social – only racialised groups.

We live in a richly diverse country, populated by Indigenous Australians, recent immigrants, and descendants of relatively recent immigrants. Some feel threatened by this diversity; some relish it.

Most of us, I think, are unsure quite how to talk about it.

We have many words to describe diversity. We ask people about their ancestry, their ethnicity, and – most awkwardly – their “background”. We seem least comfortable asking people about their “race”, and with good reason.

Racial classification has been used to justify some of the most heinous crimes of modernity, including those committed on our own shores. Asking people about their “race” can make you sound a bit, well, racist…

Read the entire article here.

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Why it feels strange when people admire your mixed race kids

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2017-08-10 01:51Z by Steven

Why it feels strange when people admire your mixed race kids

SBS
2017-07-07

Ian Rose


Friends and strangers always comment on what a “lovely mix” his Anglo-Vietnamese children are. (Blend Images/Getty)

Ian Rose gets a bit weirded out when people coo over his Anglo-Vietnamese children. But can’t turn down free dinner.

The other night, the end of a real midwinter Melbourne Tuesday, having finally got my daughter to choose a goddam BeenyBoo to sleep with, angled her rainbow lamp to her satisfaction and said goodnight, I walked into the kitchen to overhear my partner (who’d seen our son to bed with far less effort), on the phone to a friend, uttering words that chilled my heart.

“Yes, we can do that. We’ll be there tomorrow evening at six. No problem.”

She has this fetish for doing people favours. Her generosity of spirit is the bane of my existence. (Except when I’m its beneficiary, of course.)…

Read the entire article here.

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‘I’m not half of anything’

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Oceania on 2017-07-05 18:28Z by Steven

‘I’m not half of anything’

It’s Not A Race
Radio National
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
2017-06-29

Beverley Wang, Presenter


So how about this idea that biracial and multiracial children are the key to a post-racial future utopia?

And how does it measure up to the lived experience of biracial Australians?

It’s Not A Race explores what it’s really like to grow up as a biracial Australian with Faustina Agolley, Lucie Cutting, Nkechi Anele, and the Hameed sisters, Leona and Monique.

Listen to the podcast (00:24:57) here.

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Science, Sexuality, and Race in the United States and Australia, 1780–1940 Revised Edition

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2017-07-05 12:57Z by Steven

Science, Sexuality, and Race in the United States and Australia, 1780–1940 Revised Edition

University of Nebraska Press
2017-07-01
516 pages
7 illustrations, 1 table, index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8032-9591-9

Gregory D. Smithers, Associate Professor of History
Virginia Commonwealth University

Science, Sexuality, and Race in the United States and Australia, 1780–1940, Revised Edition is a sociohistorical tour de force that examines the entwined formation of racial theory and sexual constructs within settler colonialism in the United States and Australia from the Age of Revolution to the Great Depression. Gregory D. Smithers historicizes the dissemination and application of scientific and social-scientific ideas within the process of nation building in two countries with large Indigenous populations and shows how intellectual constructs of race and sexuality were mobilized to subdue Aboriginal peoples.

Building on the comparative settler-colonial and imperial histories that appeared after the book’s original publication, this completely revised edition includes two new chapters. In this singular contribution to the study of transnational and comparative settler colonialism, Smithers expands on recent scholarship to illuminate both the subject of the scientific study of race and sexuality and the national and interrelated histories of the United States and Australia.

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Navigating my way through mixed race identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania on 2017-06-27 13:35Z by Steven

Navigating my way through mixed race identity

news.com.au
Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia
2017-06-27

Carolyn Cage


Carolyn Cage pictured as a newborn with her dad Ray and her mum Doreen. Picture: Carolyn Cage

IF THERE were an algorithm that could formulate a person’s most asked question, mine would be “what are you?” Society has a habit of labelling people like soup cans in a kitchen and for as long as I can remember, one of the first questions people ask during initial conversation is usually in relation to my racial ambiguity.

Replying with “I am Australian” only ever leads to “but what are you really?” Learning how to tolerate ignorance and pass it off as curiosity, I take a deep breath and pull out the pie chart. I was born in Australia, but my mother originates from Malaysia and is of Chinese heritage. My father is of Anglo background, mixed with German and Belgium descent but was born in Sydney.

The responses tend to be generic ranging from how exotic that is, how adorable mixed babies are or how I am the spitting image of their other mixed raced friend. Accepting that it is intended as a compliment, at the same time it is dehumanising and reduces my identity to some sort of novelty. Most of the time it leaves me unscathed, but the more I am asked “what am I”, the more of a hindrance it becomes…

Read the entire article here.

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Australia’s ‘Stolen Generations’ Tell Their Stories

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, Oceania on 2017-05-28 22:50Z by Steven

Australia’s ‘Stolen Generations’ Tell Their Stories

Lens: Photography, Video and Visual Journalism
The New York Times
2017-05-24

Evelyn Nieves


Margaret Furber was born in Alice Springs, Australia, in 1947. She was placed in St. Mary’s Hostel on the outskirts of town because her mother was not able to take care of her. Her siblings were all sent to the Tiwi Islands. “We were all taken and separated in different ways,” she told the photographer. Nov. 6, 2015.
Matthew Sherwood

Alfred Calma was 4 years old when the police snatched him from his mother, never to live with her again. Joyce Napurrula-Schroeder was not quite 2 when it happened to her. Luke Morcom was a newborn, barely a week on this earth.

All had the bad luck of being born “half caste” during Australia’s disastrous experiment with forced assimilation. For 60 years, until 1970, government policies rounded up Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children deemed to be part-white and sent them to boarding schools and church-run missions. Like the Canadian First Nations’ and the United States’ Indian boarding schools that served as its model, Australia’s program aimed to beat out all traces of indigenous culture, often literally.

Run more like penal colonies than schools, these institutions scarred their young wards and their communities for life.

Decades later, when Matthew Sherwood, a Canadian photojournalist, began documenting survivors of the boarding schools — the “stolen generations,” as Australia calls them — they unleashed hellish memories where neglect was the best it ever got…

Read the entire article here.

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