First Australians, also known as Aborigines, have led a tough existence. Racial discrimination against them was similar to that of other pressed groups, including African Americans and South Africans of color; yet, their story is unknown to much of the world. This film breaks new ground by telling the story of Doug Nicholls, of the Yorta Yorta ethnic group, who was the “Jackie Robinson” of Australian football (soccer).
This documentary examines how Doug Nicholls came to awareness of the depth of racial discrimination in Australia. He was the first person of color to play football in the 1920s and 1930s. Fans taunted him. Team trainers refused to touch his body. Nevertheless, Nicholls endured out of his love for the game. He ignored the racism similar to the way American baseball player Jackie Robinson did when he integrated his sport.
What is most intriguing about this narrative is how Nicholls realizes that he had to do more than silently pay football. In Perth, he ran into starving First Australians. The stark reality between the abundance enjoyed by the whites and the harsh existence of tribal members caused him to take action. From then on, Nicholls would use his popularity as a means to express the cause of Aboriginal civil rights.
The turn Doug Nicholls makes from quiet champion of token racial integration to vocal participant in a larger social movement is the most valuable contribution of this documentary. The viewing audience receives an education in Austrian racial realities and the hidden prejudice that is just under the surface.
A Fair Deal for a Dark Race: Southeastern Australia, 1937 to 1967—First Australians
- Enhanced DVD
- ISBN: 978-1-61753-867-4
- Run Time: 52 Minutes
- Copyright Date: 2007