Assumptions on identity
Hi, nice to meet you – my name is Ebony.
It’s a line will often encourage stupidity. Whether it…
Unless you are gay or Aboriginal or have something about yourself that you can’t change but makes you inherently you that society doesn’t understand that, you wont get it.
Today my boyfriend and I joked about our experiences as children.
“I had big ears and kids teased me”
“I have a birthmark and was made fun of because of that”
“I thought you were white when I first met you”
And that’s where the jokes stopped and reality was back.
As a child I hated my appearance and to an extent, disliked my ethnicity. I was the only “black” child at my school. My mum taught the kids about Aboriginal culture (as well as firefighting but that’s another story).
I was the other and I wasn’t cool with that.
As a child I found it difficult to be the only non-caucasian child in a small school. I even “hated” Aboriginal studies, only embracing my culture and my family when I was home.
Now, as a 27 year old woman, I have made peace with my identity. I am a light-skinned Aboriginal woman. I don’t speak my language, I don’t really live on my traditional lands and can only really tell you that I can name up to 20 of my relatives (whereas “normal” blackfellas can trace family throughout this great country). I am not what you expect an Aborigine to be.
But I am an Aboriginal person. I am first nations. I am me and no-one else is me.
I, like a lot of light skinned blackfellas spent much of my twenties “faking it til we make it”. Now I’ve made it.
I’m glad I’ve found my happy place when it comes to myself, my history, my culture and my people. I stand taller and stronger these days because of this.
Always was, always will be - Ebs - shutting shit down and breaking down barriers.
This post has been drafted as part of the Deadly Bloggers challenge - 52 posts in 52 weeks. For more information please see deadlybloggers.blogspot.com
So, i’m supposed to be writing something important. The words are supposed to flow from my brain and my heart and pulsate through my fingers as I create a masterpiece.
I guess my inspiration for this post comes from last nights sleep-depriving hashtag #racistlikeafox.
I think, like many brilliant things on twitter, this hashtag was created by Luke Pearson @LukeLPearson or @IndigenousX.
The hashtag was aimed at giving Indigenous Australians and Australians of non-Anglo descent an opportunity to share comments and experiences that demonstrated racism.
Some of the comments were common and amusing:
"No, where are you REALLY from?!"
"You don’t look Aboriginal, how much are you?"
"Can I touch your hair/head dress?"
to the just plain depressing:
"don’t put yourself down, you’re not really black, your skin is a lovely olive colour" (said to tweeter/blogger @NomadiqueMC by his year four school teacher.
These comments made us laugh, made us gasp, made us tear up and made us feel like we all shared something, when at the time we felt so alien and alone.
Reading these tweets made me reflect on freedom and what that means in relation to these stereotypes.
At present, I am a 27 year old light-skinned Aboriginal woman.
I don’t “look” how you expect an Aboriginal person to look.
I don’t “talk” like you expect an Aboriginal person to talk.
And yet, I’m ok with that. In fact, I’m proud of it.
I’m proud of who I am and that I am at an age that I can recognise that those who say and think those things are the ones in the wrong, not me.
I’m proud that I will one day have babies that you won’t think look Aboriginal or maybe they will, but that doesn’t matter, because they will be Aboriginal. They will be raised with a strength and pride in their identity and they will know what to say when they hear the things I heard.
Because the sad thing is, these people won’t change. They will continue to think their thoughts and poison others with their misconceptions HOWEVER we will change.
We, as Indigenous peoples have evolved beyond whatever has been thrown at us. We have not just survived, we have drawn strength and power from our enemies and yes, our future looks bright.
We are strong, we are deadly and we are free…
Wanna see this sooo bad.
I love how there was a word in a native american language for “two spirited” people and that it wasn’t treated with negativity.
Conversation with my housemate/sista/jija girl.
Me: Do you know so-and-so? I mean, I think she might be Indigenous
K: Nah but look her up on facebook - if she is you’ll probably have like 50 mutual friends.