ENTERTAINMENT

SBS's 'First Contact' Sent Well-Known Aussies Into Aboriginal Australia. Here's What They Learned

'It's a conversation suburban Australia refuses to have.'

29/11/2016 2:16 PM AEDT | Updated 29/11/2016 4:07 PM AEDT
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
David Dare Parker
Why? Because six out of 10 Aussies have had little or no contact with Indigenous people.

It's hard to wrap your head around the fact that, in 2016, a television network has sent six high-profile Australians to the outback to meet their nation's first people. But once you learn that 6 in 10 Australians have actually had little or no contact with Indigenous people in their life, it makes a lot more sense.

Hosted by Ray Martin, SBS's 'First Contact' follows Ian "Dicko" Dickson, Natalie Imbruglia, comedian Tom Ballard, actress Nicki Wendt, former Miss Universe Renae Ayris and former One Nation politician David Oldfield to explore what "Aussies really think of Aboriginal Australians".

"Aboriginality is just unnecessary, it's not really in the best interests of Aboriginal people," Oldfield says in the first trailer.

Oldfield is a former colleague of Pauline Hanson, who said this week that there's "no definition to an aboriginal". It's the kind of point-of-view that makes a show like this, and the conversations it may inspire, interesting, if not imperative.

Speaking to The Huffington Post Australia, 'Dicko' said the show had been a real eye opener for how Australia regards its black population.

"The fact is whether we like it or not, David represents the views of a huge number of Australians who range from being being dismissive to openly aggressive," Dickson told HuffPost Australia.

Dickson said getting to know "the great man Adam Goodes" during his time as an ambassador for Sydney Swans, and then witnessing the racism that plagued him until his retirement, inspired him to learn more about Aboriginal culture.

"It's just a tragedy that he had to leave a game that he loved with so much controversy," Dickson said.

"What we saw with Adam was outright aggression and the attitude which says, 'we're happy for you to remain here, but keep your trap shut and don't shout about your blackness'," Dickson said.

Denial of Aboriginal culture, as well as referring to Aboriginal people as "stone-aged people" is Oldfield's approach throughout the show, and at one point he is told to "get out" of an Aboriginal family's home after he questions them about the litter in their yard.

Recalling the particular scene, Dickson said he still can't believe it came out of his mouth.

"It was unbelievably insensitive and rude and I just can't imagine David saying that to anyone in his social circle," Dickson said.

Dickson said there were times when he had to "walk David [Oldfield] off the ledge" from leaving and that, had he left, it would have been bad for the show.

David Dare Parker
Timmy 'Djawa' Burarrwanga and 'First Contact' participants in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

"I hope at the very least we can spark a conversation because it's a conversation suburban Australia refuses to have," Dickson said.

"One of the black fellas in Arnhem Land told me, 'Dicko we think in circles and you white fellas think in straight lines'."

In the final episode, Martin poses the question of "what now" to each participant.

"It made me very uncomfortable because I don't know what to do now," Dickson said.

Although he said he does know that the prevailing spirit of "why can't you be more like us" and feelings of white guilt isn't helping.

"I don't think they should be more like us -- there are so many differences between black and white fellas -- and that's to be celebrated," Dickson said.

"First Contact" premieres on Tuesday at 8.30pm simultaneously on SBS and NITV.

Click below to follow HuffPost Australia on Snapchat!

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement