The poem ‘Colour Bar’, by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, explores her downright disgust towards racial prejudice. As a former Aboriginal rights activist, she evidently displays her hatred and dislike towards racism and prejudice through her descriptive poem. The use of poetic techniques assists in conveying her message. Visual imagery and metaphorical language conveys Oodegeroo’s judgment that racial prejudice is a horrible behaviour, which displays the negative side of people. The fourth alliterated stanza ‘The colour bar!
It shows the meaner mind of moron kind’, highlights the dislike towards prejudiced people, whilst also indicating that those people are ignorant individuals.
The poet has used metaphors to support her belief of how unjust and incorrect racial prejudice is in Christianity; ‘As long as brothers banned from brotherhood you still exclude. The Christianity you hold so high is but a lie’. Vivid statements such as; ‘When vile men jeer because my skin is brown’, leads the reader to believe that Oodgeroo has been the victim of racial prejudice.
Although, the poet sarcastically accepts this treatment, when the same conduct is shown towards a child; ‘fierce anger sears’. This indicates the anger parents experience when their children are faced with such cruelty, thus creating a sense of sympathy towards the victims of racial prejudice. The use of the repeated word, ‘all’, in the poem emphasises that everyone is regarded as equal in front of God, regardless of varying superficial characteristics.
However, the closing metaphorical stanza indicates that even Christians observe racial prejudice, yet they overlook it. This further enhances the belief that racial prejudice brings out the worst side of people. Oodgeroo Noonuccal effectively expresses her belief that racial prejudice is an unjust behaviour through her use of strong poetic devices. Her outrage towards such a behaviour is communicated through her thought provoking poem; ‘Colour Bar’.
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