Applying the Standpoint Theory
Table of Contents
In spite of several attempt for policy improvement, Australian indigenous community is disadvantaged since the colonization period. Colonization led the indigenous people to face several inequalities and disadvantages regarding their cultural aspects. In the current study I will conduct a research essay where 4 components of Standpoint theory will be used in order to articulate a judgment about the indigenous disadvantages. The thesis statement is the cultural disadvantages faced by the indigenous people in Australia in present day due to ineffective policy development and implementation for protecting the indigenous people in Australia since colonisation.
Long before the British settlement there were 500 indigenous people inhabited in the continent of Australia that is 750,000 people in total. Their cultural was developed for over 60,000 years. In the year 1770, the eastern coast of Australia has been claimed to be possessed by Lieutenant James Cook in the first place. The authorities established a penal colony in the claimed to be possessed territory and developed a British base in the south region. Since then, a vast impact has been observed upon the Australian indigenous culture, language and other social aspects. Researchers such as Yunkaporta & Shillingsworth (2020), show that indigenous people put several efforts to protect their culture and language from the colonisation effect. However, I have observed several impacts on culture of this group which has led these people to face issues with sense of belonging and identity. As per my viewpoint as the culture developed over 60,000 years was closely associated with the identity of these people this led indigenous people to be disconnected with their culture and affected their cultural existence. The impact of the same was long-term and since them these people are facing cultural disadvantages till the present days.
As per the Standpoint theory, there are several levels that consist of a human perception. This theory predicts that there is a similarity between people based on their demography. The most powerful factor that has been considered as the mostly regulates the perception of a people is the experience. Along with this, culture and tradition also play a highly important role in altering the perception of people (Bodkin-Andrews & Carlson, 2016). The basic agenda of the theory is to comprehend the perspective of the marginalised society particularly for the indigenous people. The components of standpoint theory include Situation, Objectivity, Lived Experience and Reflexivity that are responsible for developing a particular standpoint. The reason behind holding different perceptions over the same societal and cultural issue is the dissimilarities in the circumstances people live in. I have also developed some perspective about the cultural disadvantages faced by the Australian indigenous people in the present day since colonisation.
I have conducted an extensive research and found that between the year 191o and 1970, indigenous children has been taken from their families and put into non-indigenous homes for assimilation or it can be stated that they have been place under the care of state. This generation is considered as “stolen generation”. These children has been neglected and abused sexually, physically and emotionally. These people had to forcefully change their names and they were restricted to follow their culture or speak their own language. These people also did not have the same right as the non-indigenous people. Since then, indigenous people have remained culturally disadvantaged and social excluded. This has resulted in high rates of poverty, homelessness, poor health and education outcomes and incarceration. There was significant prejudice and stereotypes that led to systematic discrimination and widespread mistrust among these people. The indigenous people till now holds resentment and ager against the authorities.
As my cultural identify differs from the indigenous cultural identity and other related factors such as demography, personal experience and societal life, I have developed a judgement that this colonisation has led the indigenous people to face the cultural detriment even in the present days. As per my thought, the cultural disadvantages of the indigenous people has resulted from weaker policy development and other political perspectives due to which the problems are yet not solve in the current day also. I am considering the indigenous people as culturally disadvantaged as I have observed that my cultural understanding and understanding of others differ. It is mainly due to the marginalisation of the indigenous people in cultural aspects that differs from my standpoint. The power discrimination, politics, ineffective political intervention is the result of lack of focus on reviving the old culture of these Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
In the era of colonisation, indigenous people have also been denied from participating in the mainstream social system and they have been denied from providing cultural privileges such as celebrating their cultural programs, using language, admiring culture and following the same. These people have also been denied from accessing healthcare, education and employment which from my viewpoint has led to a disadvantageous position even in the current place. The cultural disadvantages did not only lead the indigenous people to face loss of cultural uniqueness, it has also led to health disadvantages. There are some cultural determinants that impacts on the health of the indigenous people also. The way these people are living, their working experiences and others impacts upon their health also. As I have developed understanding, spiritual and most cultural matters were not amenable and access to the lands of the indigenous people play a fundamental role in wellbeing of the culture and community.
I have also experienced that the indigenous children are unable to construct their own traditional cultural standpoint as cultural components are not adequately assimilated in their curriculum. Therefore, these children are not being able to develop culture specific awareness and admiration towards their culture and losing cultural identity eventually. This is leading to complete deconstruction of the cultural synergy of indigenous people. There is also a denial of the human rights of these people that is responsible directly for violating the right of them of self-determination.
As per my viewpoint the lack of independent initiatives from the government even in the present day for improving the lives of the indigenous people by protecting their culture, health and wellbeing, education and employment is leading the culture to be threatened by complete destruction of unique cultural identity (Donovan, 2016). There is also lack of consultation from the political standpoint in the authority level that could lead to improve the indigenous people’s cultural improvements. For instance, government has developed several programs for the improvement and protection of the indigenous culture; however, in some of the locations culture is utilized as an envelope the double standard followed in delivering the services. It can be observed that in the sphere of education that is highly important for the indigenous cultural awareness and protection (Macdonald, Gringart & Gray, 2016). In most of the schools truancy has been normalized for the indigenous children. Therefore, rising above the cultural disadvantages have become compromised due to lack protecting education system for these people.
I have observed these cultural advantages related to education have been protected in case of people similar to me that are from non-indigenous culture. As much cultural awareness has been spread through education and even customers celebrated, indigenous people are not been provided the privilege to follow the same (Guenther et al., 2017). This also leads the indigenous people to lose sense of value that is responsible for affecting their social standpoint. In spite governmental intervention and development of policies regarding forced child removal along with acknowledgement of the indigenous culture, there is a lack of discriminatory effects faced by the indigenous people in the context of cherishing the same. I have also developed these viewpoints as I have closely observed the educational, employment and cultural differences that are unappreciated for the indigenous people unlike the same with non-indigenous people.
I will also mention about social power distribution that has also contributed to the discrimination of the indigenous people since colonization. The predominant culture followed in allover Australia is not perceived in the same way by all the people and groups. Some indigenous groups do not have the social power that non-indigenous people enjoy (Gilroy, Ragen & Meekosha, 2017). These people seemed to be validated more than the indigenous people. As a result, the marginalized group has learnt to be bicultural. There is a contiguous struggle I have witnessed among them to be qualified with the dominant culture in order to survive where it comes to the government initiative through which equal opportunity to celebrate all the culture could have been made possible. Effective policy development by the government is highly required for maintain the unique cultural position of the indigenous people.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the political, social and other experiences has led me to develop a perspective that the Torres Strait Islander people or the indigenous people of Australian has gone through cultural disadvantages since colonisation. It is due to the power discrimination, educational distribution, lack of encouragement to honour culture and others. My viewpoints have change using the theory as different perspectives to the cultural disadvantages could be analysed. It is highly required to engage in practical experience on how the political issues and inadequacies still remained responsible for this disadvantageous position of this group which will need more research.
Bodkin-Andrews, G., & Carlson, B. (2016). The legacy of racism and Indigenous Australian identity within education. Race Ethnicity and Education, 19(4), 784-807.
Donovan, M. (2016). Capacity Building of Aboriginal Researchers to Get the inside Standpoint–Asking Aboriginal Students What They Think. Australian Association for Research in Education.
Gilroy, J., Ragen, J., & Meekosha, H. (2017). Decolonising the dynamics of media power and media representation between 1830 and 1930: Australian Indigenous peoples with disability.
Guenther, J., Osborne, S., Arnott, A., & McRae-Williams, E. (2017). Hearing the voice of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander training stakeholders using research methodologies and theoretical frames of reference. Race Ethnicity and Education, 20(2), 197-208.
Macdonald, M., Gringart, E., & Gray, J. (2016). Creating shared norms in schools-A theoretical approach.
Yunkaporta, T., & Shillingsworth, D. (2020). Relationally Responsive Standpoint. Journal of Indigenous Research, 8(2020), 4.
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