The “Stolen Generations” – An Essay
The “Stolen Generation” is a certain group that belongs to the Indigenous people of Australia. These people are also known as “half-castes” and they were treated in an almost inhuman way because of certain people’s thoughts about human races. In the following paragraphs I will explain how this could happen and what consequences it followed.
The victims of the Stolen Generation are called “half-castes” because they have ancestors of both white people and Indigenous people. When the first settlers came to Australia, the British and the Indigenous people could not imagine having a relationship or children with each other. Some decades later, it changed and children were born who had mostly a black mother and a white father. I say mostly because it was more common for white men to take a black woman for sexual intercourse than it was the other way round.
This fact refers to the working situation at this time. White people often owned large areas of farm land and employed Indigenous people as cheap workers. Thus many Indigenous women worked in the households of white men and these women were often raped by their employer. The children who resulted from this were neither white nor black. They were called “half-castes”.
The opinion of the Australian authority was that these children were to become a danger for the efforts of keeping the white bloodlines as pure as possible. The white people – similar to the German Nazis – wanted to raise a race of pure white people in Australia.
These thoughts came from the idea of “Eugenics” which refers to genetic inheritance. People thought that they could create a perfect race by passing on good qualities like intelligence or beauty and “breed out” bad qualities like dark skin colour.
Here one can see the eccentric opinion of the authorities because from a scientific point of view dark skin colour has absolutely no disadvantage. It is just a question of ideals pertaining to beauty.
Another interesting fact was that the authorities worried just about the half-castes and not about all Indigenous people. They believed that the “full-blooded” Aborigines would die out by and by due to the Western lifestyle of the Whites and that they would not cause any problems. The only danger were the “half-castes” if they grew up normally and lived a normal life which would include marriage and even more mixed-race children.
The Australian authorities thought that in case of marriage between a “half-caste” and a white person the dark blood would be bred out over several generations, but in case of marriage between a half-caste and another half-caste or an Indigenous person the dark blood would remain and there would never be a possibility of a pure white race.
The only possibility that the authorities saw was to take away – so to say to steal – the half-caste children and teenager. Babies, infants and teenager under the age of 18 were painfully taken away from their families. The children received new names, new papers, a new identity and were given to special institutions like churches, or they came into foster homes. There they were raised according to Western traditions and norms to become domestic servants or stockmen.