Deadly Unna: Is Australia a Racist Country?

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Australia is a racist country. Is this an accurate statement about ‘Deadly Unna? ’ Deadly Unna is a novel written by Phillip Gwynne. The novel showcases the effects that racism can have in a small community through the protagonist Gary ‘Blacky’ Black and how Blacky’s awareness of the racist attitudes shown by his townspeople from The Port, towards the nungas (aborigines) from The Point increases. This is eventually shown at the end when Blacky and all his siblings paint over the writing ‘boongs piss off. Blacky acquires a friendship with a nunga through the sport of Aussie Rules Footy.

Dumby Red, as he is known, happens to be extremely good at footy. At first, Blacky becomes envious and tells himself that he hates Dumby, when he knows he has no reason to. It is only when Dumby saves Blacky from Mad Dog, that Blacky gives himself an excuse to be friends with Dumby. While he may not admit it, Blacky is proud to be friends with Dumby. This is the first real sign of unity between Blacky and the nungas. Blacky feels he needs a reason to be friends with Dumby due to the pressure he feels from his friends and even family.

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It’s just generally accepted that the goonyahs don’t associate with the nungas, only on footy matchdays. This is shown during the time of Dumby’s funeral, when everyone advises Blacky not to go for many different reasons. Blacky goes along anyway. Even at the award ceremony for the footy after Blacky’s team wins the grand final, Blacky is incensed when Dumby misses out on the BoG medal, instead given to Mark Arks, the coach’s son. Blacky couldn’t grasp the fact that they could be so blatantly racist, when Dumby had easily been the better player all year.

It made Blacky extremely angry, “It’s bullshit, that’s Dumby’s trophy! ” cries Blacky while at the presentation. Perhaps the worst case of racism in the novel is at the bar, when racist jokes are being thrown around like they wouldn’t harm anyone; this is first moment when Blacky realises how large the racism is in his town. The moment he first becomes aware that it’s not right and maybe someone ought to do something about it. It’s only in the end when something, albeit a minor thing, is done about it as Blacky and his siblings paint over the ‘BOONGS PISS OFF’ writing at the shed.

Now even though this racist attitude may be associated with this town in particular, it’s certainly not the case with the whole of Australia. Australia is full of different cultures, and while racism may never be abolished, it doesn’t make Australia a racist nation. The simple fact that Australia is labelled as a multicultural country speaks volumes of how Australia will accept people of all different types of races and cultures without hesitation. The amount of different cultures that Australia has nowadays is staggering! Now even with that kind of amount of different cultures in Australia, racism hardly seems to be a problem.

In fact, any news stories and even current affairs stories about racism are almost unheard of ‘down under’. In saying that, racism still is something which needs to be paid attention to; to make sure it doesn’t escalate and become a major issue in Australia. At the moment, it seems as though the right steps are being taking to make sure this does not occur, and that Australia remains as a multicultural nation, and not a racist nation. If this continues, we may see even more and more different races and cultures in Australia.

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Deadly Unna: Is Australia a Racist Country?. (2018, Mar 30). Retrieved from

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