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Knowledge is strength: The best Australian documentaries, books and podcasts about racial inequality for NAIDOC Week

Listen, watch, educate.
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In a world of uncertainty, knowledge and awareness is more powerful than anything.

We live in a society where people claim to be kind, compassionate, aware and forward-thinking.

Yet somewhere along the way, we’ve fallen short in one very clear space: Racial equality and diversity in a multitude of industries is still despairingly lacking.

This issue is in no way new – in fact, it’s as old as time itself as black and Indigenous communities and people of colour have been subject to systemic racism in a society that has – until now at least – turned a blind eye.

But enough is enough – and recent steps forward including the George Floyd protests should remain ever top of mind.

We do have the potential to bring change to society (no matter how big or small that change is), and it is pertinent that we understand that – especially here in Australia.

Since 1991, 474 Indigenous Australians have died in custody (Per BBC). That’s simply not good enough.

You might ask: “What can I do?” What can one person do to help solve an issue that’s grown, spiralled and spanned across hundreds of years?

The first, and most important step is to simply be aware.

At some point or another, it’s incredibly likely that any given white person has subconsciously said something or actioned something in a way skewed towards systemic racism.

But never before has this reality been so clear to us as concerning stories, facts and anecdotes from people of colour increasingly appear on our social media feeds.

The Black Lives Matter movement has swept the globe like never before – and it’s for a very important reason.

(Getty)

Now, as NAIDOC Week takes place in Australia, the perfect opportunity to truly listen, learn and work towards changing societal mindsets is right in front of us.

To shine a light on diversity and to encourage further education about indigenous relations in Australia, we have found some of the best podcasts, books documentaries for you to watch, read and listen to.

If this issue is going to be solved, even in small ways, we need to keep talking about it – and it all starts with knowledge.

After watching any of the below podcasts and documentaries, we encourage you to continue the conversation – share them with your friends, and talk about them.

Change begins with the individual – and it’s on us to make that happen.

Lowitja

Lowitja: The Authorised Biography of Lowitja O’Donoghue

This incredible story delves into one of Australia’s most respected and recognisable Indigenous leaders. From her unexpected childhood being born to an Aboriginal mother and a white father in Central Australia to her later years consisting relentless advocating for her people. “I am sometimes identified as one of the “success stories” of the policies of removal of Aboriginal children,” she tells. “But for much of my childhood I was deeply unhappy. I feel I had been deprived of love and the ability to love in return. Like Lily, my mother, I felt totally powerless. And I think this is where the seeds of my commitment to human rights and social justice were sown.” A must read for any Australian.

SESKA

Stuff Everyone Should Know About Australia

For 2020’s NAIDOC Week, 10 Play released this three-part web series that busts myths and celebrates truths about Australia’s history. Hosted by Elaine Crombie, things like places of culture, traditions and rich tales from Australia’s history are unravelled. Made in collaboration with First Nation production company Kalori Productions, this is a great place to start for anyone wanting to educate themselves on our country’s clouded history.

Race Matters

Race Matters – specifically episode 59: I Can’t Breathe

This podcast delves into the worrying similarities between the death of George Floyd and the deaths of Indigenous men Eric Garner and Dunghutti man David Dungay in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The poignant episode discusses the importance of taking action, paying reparations and constantly challenging white supremacy.

Always Was Always Will Be

Always Was Always Will Be Our Stories

Hosted by Marlee Silva, this podcast brings the stories of Indigenous Australians, shining a light on their inspiring work and discussing how they are trailblazing the way for generations to come.

After Work Drinks podcast

After Work Drinks Podcast – specifically the episode titled, Let’s Talk About Something Uncomfortable… Race

Hosted by New Zealand and Australian hosts Isabelle Truman and Grace O’Neill, the pair delve into how quick the world has previously downplayed racist comments, particularly among of white women. “Why do we think that racism is ‘someone else’s’ problem? And why do we always end up relying on people of colour to explain to us how to dismantle a system that we are responsible for creating?” They attempt to answer these questions in a conversational, yet highly informative way.

In my Blood it Runs

In my Blood it Runs

This 2020 documentary (which is available for virtual screenings) provides a new and informed perspective of young Indigenous people, told through the eyes of a boy who is working to bring the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, while advocating for Indigenous-led education.

AWAYE!

AWAYE!

ABC’s AWAYE! highlights and discusses the diverse and vibrant world of Aboriginal arts and culture, hosted by Daniel Browning. It shines a light on the multi faceted skills and undeniable talents of some of the country’s Indigenous creatives, while also delving into personal stories.

First Australians

First Australians – specifically episode titled They Have Come To Stay

Chronicling the birth of contemporary Australia as told from the perspective of its first people, this SBS series looks at how Indigenous communities were tried tested and the challenges they faced over the past century.

Rabbit Proof Fence

Rabbit Proof Fence – available on Stan

Set in the 1931s, this film follows the journey of three Aboriginal girls who have been plucked from their homes and trained as domestic staff. Critically acclaimed and multiple award winner at the AACTAs, this is an iconic film every Australian should take time to watch.

Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told

Available to screen via a host, this is a landmark documentary remembering and honouring Indigenous involvement in the Palestine campaign during WWI.

Talking to my country

Talking to my Country, Stan Grant

This book (which is available in audio format) discusses race, culture and national identity in Australia, challenging norms and providing a unique, personalised perspective with jarring accuracy.

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