A radical life changing story of how a woman walks away from her 'norm' seeking ancient knowledge first from the Aboriginal Australians and then finding her path being steered towards Tibetan Buddhism.
A friend, an Aboriginal Elder, pointed out to me one day that there was a difference in skin colour according to the type of job he/she would hold. He said to me, “Think about all the people in a place of importance in our (Aboriginal) community. You’ll see they all have fair or brown skin.”
It was true when we looked at the facts. The people in higher positions such as mayor or manager would have fair skin (brown). Someone with black skin would not be in these types of jobs. He said that it depended on someone’s skin colour as to whether they would be hired for a high end job or not. This was on the East Coast of Australia.
It was true.
It seems to be the same type of ruling for people in the Northern Territory. I see many brown/fair skin Aboriginal holding jobs that interact with whitefellas, but haven’t seen any dark skinned people – as yet.
Why would this be?
We can only speculate.
Did you read my previous blog on Whitefellas Talk Too Much and yet another on Whitefella Culture?
Whitefella culture is vastly different in communication styles to Indigenous Australians. I assume that – due to these differences – whitefellas would feel uncomfortable seeing and/or working with an Aboriginal Australian in higher positions. Whitefellas expect eye contact, to be greeted openly each time they pass, to talk often, to ask and answer questions, and so on. So, would an Aboriginal have to change to whitefella way to have a higher position?
Here’s an example of how a higher position person acts in difference to Indigenous Australians:
Yesterday I was sitting at a CAFE in a tourist information centre in a popular tourist destination in the Northern Territories, Australia. There is a tourist shop that sells Aboriginal arts and other touristy things next to the café. The seating for the café is in front of both shops – outside (as per the norm in a warm climate as Australia).
There are many Aboriginal communities in this area so it’s not unusual to see this ancient culture in the shops – unlike down South in Queensland or New South Wales where it would be rare.
I’m enjoying my Canadian Maple Syrup Chocolate Crunch icecream and quietly notice these 4 Aboriginal men arrive in front of the tourist shop and café – they put their paintings on the tables. They talk to each other in language but don’t go in the shop. (Their culture doesn’t like to ask questions). A few of them venture in – some outside waiting. Nothing happens. I get the feeling to go into the shop – some shop owners are difficult to deal with. The fellas are shopping – doing their own thing – perhaps working up the courage to talk to the business owner (a higher position in most people’s perspective).
I ask the woman if she buys original artwork from the locals and she confirms that she does – she snaps this back at me with quite an attitude. Yes, some whitefellas have a way of talking that abruptly stops the flow of communication between both parties. No wonder these fellas were hovering in front of the shop. I’d be frightened to deal with her too.
The situation ended with an Elder, who was more familiar with the shop lady, taking the paintings in to the shop. He still did not ask a question and made very little eye contact. To the business owner this may seem shifty or unsure. A white person going in to sell paintings would have to dress properly – neat and tidy, make confident eye contact and ask a confident question. All so much different than the Aboriginal culture.
(Note: I bought some original Aboriginal artwork direct from the woman who was teaching tourists how to paint. My preferred way of buying a painting).
A slight shift in focus….. after reading Barbara Frederickson’s book on POSITIVITY that many people believe that business is meant to be serious and strict AND even HIGHLY STRESSFUL.
From what I’ve seen Aboriginal Australians are not used to this high tension and stress – the type of stress and rudeness that does not have a purpose. They cruise along in life flowing with the natural cycles of nature.
Furthermore, whitefellas have such a strict expectation about what they think has to happen in business (What Barbara Frederickson would refer to this as NEGATIVITIY). The higher level of negativity they have the more limited their mindset and ideas. This has been proven in research to hinder business growth.
Now I work with an Aboriginal Australian in his business. He’s one of the most intelligent business men I know. He’s laid back, relaxed and yet runs a very successful business. It does not matter if things get done on white man’s time – it gets done when the time is right.
I’ve met whitefella business men who race nonstop forward trying to run a business with high levels of stress. They keep focused on more money – more things. I won’t work with them. Too much pressure and stress for me.
Overall, the differences in culture between Aboriginal Australians and whitefellas is way too vast to make a perfect fit. In fact, whitefellas would do good to learn from Indigenous Australians on how to relax. They would soon notice that business still happens quite successfully.
Black, Brown and White skinned people have differences in their cultures/race. I’ve only tapped onto some of these in this blog but if you start to look for yourself you’ll notice the differences. Be sure not to judge them. Just choose which one you prefer to work with. 🙂