Whitefella Culture

What's normal for us isn't necessarily normal.

Whitefella Culture

Travelling in Central Australia, I picked up a book intended for Aboriginal children.

'Whitefella Culture' (here's an old version) was written to help them better understand a set of foreign behaviours.

It's useful the other way round, too.

It reminded me - of my immigrant father, who'd often caution me against 'thinking like a white person' while still appreciating the ability to adopt that outlook.

It reinforced the idea that cultural reality is subjective, and what's polite in one culture (like eye contact and overt friendliness with strangers) is perceived as pushy in another.

But most of all, it made me realise how much we absorb as children. It's a book intended for kids, after all.

As it turns out - society doesn't change because people change, but because people change.

Proponents of old ideas die out, and are replaced by a generation with new norms.

Simple stories have the impact of fables.

What we teach children writes the future.