Much to do is being made over World Champion and Russian Olympic competitors Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin. The pair is coming under fire for wearing costumes inspired by and potentially offensive to Aborignal heritage. The costumes feature loin clothes, stirking white body paint, randomly festooned Eucalyptus leaves and a bit of brown face.
While they may look like the most terrifiying kids birthday party performers ever, Domnina and Shabalin are doing the folks down under a favor.
I mean, when was the last time any talked about the Aborigines? Pre-Olympics, no one was saying anything about them. Now, they’re making front page news!
I suppose that somewhere over scones, someone is maybe discussing how like Native Americans, the Aborigines were the original inhabitants of a lovely place and soon had their culture replaced and all but eradicated. Mayhaps someone is discussing how like minorities in the US, Aborigines experience much higher levels of poverty, disease, imprisonment and unemployment than the rest of the continent’s inhabitants. Or perhance how if explorer Robert Burke had just listened to the instruction of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the land he was setting out to be the “first” person to cross, he might not have died from starvation.
And like differential equations or L’Eclisse, those things are difficult to digest and hard to get your head around. Much more satisfying and helpful to the Oreo cause to remark how this 60,000-year-old culture is oversensitive and continue to learn about them through interpretive ice dancing. That way you learn so much more–like about the didgeridoo and how to get along in mixed company.