“He was different and us kids don’t like anything different”
Discuss this attitude in relation to your understanding of the concept of outsiders.
“He was different and us kids don’t like anything different” is a view that suggests difference is unfavorable and disliked. Difference is perceived as unfavorable because it is misunderstood and kids don’t think for themselves. This attitude has implications that create insiders and outsiders and inadvertently justifies bullying. It does not recognize that difference is misunderstood, and rather suggests that it is wrong altogether. This ignorant and unsophisticated attitude is exemplified in Archie Waller’s story Herbie, about a young indigenous school boy who is rejected by his community because he is black. His understanding and connection of the land is misunderstood, as well as his culture and identity. Herbie’s character and mistreatment is revealed through a ...view middle of the document...
Being compared to a black crow evokes comparison with the disliked and maligned bird, and this shows Herbie is most definitely different and inconsistent with the kids perception of ‘normality’. This description of Herbie clearly demonstrate the community's attitude towards Herbie and implies an insider/outsider relationship.
The attitude also inadvertently justifies the use of bullying to anyone who is different. Because of the insider and outsider relationship, the two groups cannot live in harmony, and the insiders who fear difference must resort to means of confronting their fear. Bullying is prevalent theme throughout Herbie, and extreme use of overt racism when referring to Herbie as an ‘abo’ or ‘boong’ demonstrates how their attitude affects their behavior towards Herbie.
The attitude held by the kids recognizes difference as unlikeable. This clearly identifies that they do not understand how difference can have a positive and constructive influence in their social environment. In the context of Herbie, the insiders did not discern any talent in Herbie, even though he possessed such obvious connections with the land and the wildlife. This is identifiable when Herbie is described as “the only person to know where the wild bees hid their sweet, rich brown
honey” and “he knew where the few emus we had left in the district where”. Finally, Herbie is described in admiration by a person who understood and recognized Herbie’s difference as someone who knew “the hidden feelings of our land - or his really, I suppose “. This exemplifies that when difference is understood it is perceived in admiration.
Not recognizing difference and perceiving it as unlikable leads to the exclusion of individuals inconsistent with normality. It is an detrimental attitude because it justifies the use of bullying and perceives difference as unlikable. It is not based on any reason or logic, but merely the inclinations of ignorant school kids. This attitude implies that difference should not be embraced, even though it creates a harmonious social environment that is healthy for all individuals.