An Afternoon with Colonialism An Essay on “White Fantasy-Black Fact” ! Europe’s necessity to expand its reign of in? uence and create more room for its growing population marks the start of settler colonialism. In Jack Davis? s “White-Fantasy-Black Fact” we follow an Australian aboriginal family who faces the harsh realities of persecution created by colonialism. From racial discrimination, economic discrimination and ethnocide we see the depth of this issue unfold in one afternoon on the highway from Geraldton to Perth. The main trigger of these unfortunate events in “White-Fantasy-Black Fact” to force the family into further desperation as the afternoon passes, is economic discrimination. The limitation of resources to survive is created by low household incomes and a poor job outlook for the general aboriginal population. Discrimination based on low education levels and high percentages of aboriginals in prison systems gives employers the case not to employ them for decent income jobs. In Thrashers, “Playing with Girls is a Sin” he narrates “ the rich familiesthey mostly worked for the Federal Government… ived in one or two room houses built of lumber and heated with wood or oil”(110) he then describes the employment out of “Indians and Eskimos who huddled in little huts and tents would sell their furs…. Some Indians lived across the river”(111). Painting us a picture of how governments set physical boundaries and income boundaries to isolate and push aboriginal communities to failure. This explains why the Mollys baby was sick, due to lack nutrients or health issues preventable from a healthy income.
The HR Holden broke down on the highway because maintenance costs were too much and the hardships of economic discrimination also spins off into social disorders like alcoholism and domestic disputes that strengthen the death grip of colonialisms history. Davis narrates the description of the grandfather “One man of indeterminate age, but old, was drunk and coughing, softly but violently. The paroxysms of his cough shook his bony frame”(116) is evidence of malnourishment and alcoholism all stemmed from economic discrimination. !
The belief that one race is superior then to another is racial discrimination. As Davis narrates the thoughts of the bus driver “ He was glad that he lived in a country that was white”(115), we can con? rm his decision to abandon Molly? s family. This mentality to some extent was the driving force behind colonialism, that one race must civilize the other because of its superiority given to them by god or the other view was to exterminate the inferior race. Racism cuts deep into the complex of a races personality and for some alters how one thinks by agreeing with the oppressor.
Marilyn Dumont in Squaw Poems writes, “Indian women know all too well the power of the word squaw”(421), she knew how racism affected her and “Instead, I became what Jean Rhys phrased, ? aggressively respectable.? I? d be so god-damned respectable that white people would feel slovenly in my presence”(422). Molly experienced the same complex and instead of blaming the bus driver for racism, “She glanced at Peter, her husband, and the old man, her grandfather. She harangued them angrily, her voice rising above their denunciation of the bus driver. I told you to stop drinking”(116). ! Racism and economic discrimination are more present issues Molly and her family face but how did colonialism manage crush the spirit of a civilization that lasted millenniums. Simple, make them forget their history, language, culture and dreamtime. Jack Davis symbolically uses an aboriginal mythological character from dreamtime called the “Rainbow Serpent” to describe the consequences of forgetting ones culture and its meaning in balancing order.
The story of the rainbow serpent is one where it inhabits water holes like the one where Katey Doll went to fetch water from and it is in control of this precious resource. The Rainbow Serpent uses his power to create massive gorges, mountains and rivers by pushing himself up from beneath the surface. He is well known as the protector of the good and a ruthless prosecutor of evil by punishing those who break the law. It can also be said that forgetting this tradition and not knowing where the rainbow serpent lies is a grave crime, ausing much grief to the family by poisoning Katey Doll and then recusing them once his point was made by sending a gang of outlaw bikers. Though forgetting ones tradition isn’t an easy one, it takes dedication on the part of the new settlers. One controversial tactic was to remove aboriginal children from there families and forcing them to assimilate in schools is still being argued by civil rights groups as a form of genocide. In Brants “A Long Story” she narrates “ It has been two days, since they came and took the children away…. We are freighted by this sudden child stealing”(77).
It is in these schools that we learn the true purpose of this forced assimilation through Kincaids, “On Seeing England for the First Time:, she narrates while in school “ that the statement ? Draw a map of england? was something far worse than a declaration of war…. In fact, there was no need for war-I had long ago been conquered”(210). So Molly and her family were left no choice on the highway to Perth that afternoon but be left in hands of the Rainbow Serpent because they had lost all knowledge of the land they once inhabited for millenniums and now were victims of ethnocide. Colonialism has completely shifted the way our globe looks and if it weren’t for those brave expeditions we may never have seen the likes North America but it also carries a dark past that has managed to wipe the vast majority of aboriginal heritage from modern society by ? rst committing ethnocide and in more present times imposing economic and racial discrimination to further eliminate the chance of a revival of such knowledge and way of life. Though there is a positive light to all of this and we see it in the symbolic storytelling of Jack Davis with the purpose of the Rainbow Serpent.
It shows us the importance of customs and traditions and with todays modern problems of global warming and depletion of natural resources we could learn a lot from a civilization that has lasted millenniums. ! Citations Brant, Beth. “ A Long Story. ” Mohawk Trail. Toronto: The Women? s Press, 1985. 77-85 Davis, Jack. “White Fantasy-Black Fact. ” Concert of Voices: An Anthology of World Writing in English. Ed. Victor J. Ramraj. Peterborough: Broadview, 1995. 115-120 Dumont, Marilyn. “Squaw Poems. An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English. Eds. Daniel David Moses and Terry Goldie. Don Mills: Oxford UP, 2005. 421-22. Kincaid, Jamaica. “ On Seeing England for the First Time. ” Concert of Voices: An Anthology of World Writing in English. Ed. Victor J. Ramraj. Peterborough: Broadview, 1995. 209-213 Thrasher, Anthony Apakark. “ Playing With Girls is a Sin” An Anthology of Canadian Native Literation in English. Eds. Daniel David Moses and Terry Goldie. Don Mills: Oxford UP, 2005. 110-113.