Whether it is Joe Biden saying that the light bulb (globe) was invented by someone with black skin, or Bruce Pascoe arguing that Aboriginals lived in settled farm communities before the arrival of Europeans, the issue is the same. The standard of excellence is the achievements of individuals of European origin. No black person in America makes it a point of personal satisfaction that some obscure presumed inventor of the light bulb was a person with black skin, and it had never occurred to me thar Thomas Edison had a while skin, although if you had mentioned it, and why would you, I would have known.
And while it is true that the phenomenal survival of Aboriginals over 40,000 years is astonishing (see Geoffrey Blainey’s Triumph of the Nomads for a brilliant re-telling of Aboriginal history), there can be no question that until Europeans arrived in Australia, the name of no single individual Aboriginal inhabitant of this continent is known to us today. The notion of an Aboriginal “history” prior to European settlement does not exist since none of it was ever recorded.
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