Let’s just agree we’re all racists and move on. It’s everywhere in the world and is just as ugly. Director Daniel Gordon and journalist Stan Grant take racism head-on in Australia in their documentary The Australian Dream. Their film tells the story of Indigenous AFL (Australian Football League) Legend Adam Goodes and his lifelong fight against his country’s treatment and attitudes of its Aboriginal Peoples.
Like many minority groups in any country, its children struggle to find acceptance amongst the other kids, who don’t look like them and often become victims of those other kids, who were either taught directly or indirectly that it’s OK to hate and disrespect people who are not like them. Such is the case of a young Adam Goodes, whose Aboriginal mother chose to move away from her family for a healthier environment and raise her kids in metropolitan Australia (i.e. with the white kids).
“…story of Indigenous AFL Legend Adam Goodes and his fight against his country’s treatment and attitudes of its Aboriginal Peoples.”
While Goodes was different, the one thing that brought all Australians together was sports. It was soon discovered that Goodes was exceptional (Gretzky-like exceptional) in Australian-Rules Football. When he hit the field, Goodes impact was felt immediately and his team, The Sydney Swans, transformed overnight into a championship team. Goodes would receive the Most Valuable Player award on several occasions.
Lurking in the background of Goodes rise to fame was the problem of race relations in his home country. January 26 is an important day, known as Australia Day or the day of Australian Independence. But to the Aboriginal People, January 26 is known as Invasion Day, when Europeans took over the continent and displaced its First-Nations People into camps. The day invokes memories of the invasion, rape, murder, encampments, and massacres—a brutal history that most Australians refuse to acknowledge. Today’s attitudes feel like, “That was then, let’s focus on how great Australia is now.”