Anthropologists have long acknowledged that ownership is a far more complex phenomenon than it seems at first. What on the surface appears to be a relationship between you and an object is actually a relationship between you, the object and everyone else. To borrow David Graeber’s example: “when one buys a car one is not really purchasing the right to use it so much as the right to prevent others from using it”.
The documentaries about Adam Goodes capture and abbreviate an array of events on and off the ground that might make recognising and responding to racism seem straightforward. The release of the films and the ensuing national reflection they appeared to invoke might also give the impression that this chapter in our story is now closed, but I think this is far from true.
I was lucky to have Mexican friends to put me up, ferry me around, shower me with food and attention, without asking for a thing in return. It wasn’t long, however, before their hospitality began to overwhelm me. I felt compelled to return the generosity in whatever meagre way I could – and hamstrung by my inability to do so.
Each so-called weed, after all, has a remarkable story to tell. Each is the product of millions of years of evolution. Each is a descendant from an ancient species that had migrated across seas and continents. Each has a life trajectory – dormancy, germination, establishment, secondary growth, bolting, pollination, seed dispersal, reproduction, death, decomposition.