Who Killed Malcolm Smith

Essay by nyehehheHigh School, 10th grade June 2014

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Indigenous Australians

"Who Killed Malcolm Smith?" is a documentary film by Richard Frankland, produced by Film Australia in 1992. The film depicts the life and death of an aboriginal man taken as a child from his parents, brought up in institutions with little or no education and subsequently dies in custody at the early age of thirty. Frankland, who similarly is an aboriginal as well, uses the idea of institutionalization as a vehicle of persuasion in order to present the audience the racial inequality in Australian custody through a significant use of selection of detail. It is a relatively reliable secondary source for historians because it includes more information about the historical event than primary sources. However, documentaries are still subject to a certain level of bias and prejudice so the social, political and historical context of the author producing the source must be taken into consideration before forming a conclusion.

"The stolen generations" is a term used to describe the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who, while children, Australian state and federal governments forcibly removed from their parents from around the 1910's to the 1970's under acts of their respective parliaments. This occurred due to the governmental policy of Assimilation which was implemented from 1937 to 1965. It is a policy which enforces aboriginals to conform to the attitudes, customs and beliefs of the white society. The government believed that such integration would improve their way of life and shape them into more civilized individuals, as well as to improve integration of Aboriginal people into modern society. However, it did not improve the conditions for the Aborigines, and they were denied the most basic of rights - that of being accepted as Australian citizens unless they applied for a "certificate". Applying for a certificate meant denying one's aboriginal heritage...