Tell me who I have to be

Q: How long do your people have to live with the consequences of your European ancestors’ actions?

A: As long as my people do.

Triple J changed the date of their hottest 100 yesterday- and the world moved forward. The radio station renowned for it’s progressive, forward thinking complex stayed true to form. With the announcement came a sigh of relief for the part of me that too wants to celebrate- and I sighed for my ancestors.

Triple J changed the date of their hottest 100 yesterday- and Australia seemed to of jumped back in time. The lucky country renowned for it’s laid back approach, to have a fair go. The nation built on mate ship forgot to put on its politically correct mask. With the announcement came the building up of walls- and I sighed for the babies I have to raise here.

There’s a quote about being Indigenous that compares our bloodline to tea. You see you can add all the milk or sugar you like. It can be infused or mixed with flowers and nuts and berries. It’s still tea. I have a part of me that I’m slowly learning to love- and I think it took me so long to address it because I spent all my time defending my indigenous bloodline.

I’m tired of that, your ignorance is not my business. I know I’m proud of this part of me. The good the bad, and the ugly ugly history painted of me with a white man’s brush. I have so many other parts of me I need to figure out, to defend and to love. The 26th rolls around, and suddenly I drop everything. To prove to you, I am better than the credit you give us.

I talk about bloodline because I want to stress that I’m black every day of the year. There are no ifs or buts. That these conversations are sparked by the 26th of January but these opinions are formed over a lifetime.

My opinions resonate 365 days over and over. I take mine with me. Which means yours must be in your back pocket, as you greet me with a hug any other day of the year. There are no ifs or buts.

I watched Jesse Williams speak at the BET awards, I remember unravelling on my bed. Although he was speaking to black America I cried for black Australia that day. He says,

“The burden of the brutalised is not to comfort the bystander — If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record, a critique of our oppression.”

Those who celebrate on the 26th are one of two things, uninformed or intentionally ignorant. Those who celebrate and tell me to be quiet better know every detail of why I am making all of this noise. Sit down. If you have a record of our oppression and choose to celebrate anyway. If you celebrate but don’t know why I mourn.

If you roll your eyes at survival day posts, status updates, this blog. That’s fine, but I will no longer be hushed by an inept opposition. Fighting with brick walls is useless. An opponent so dense will never waver.

To further quote Mr Williams, “But freedom is always conditional here. ‘You’re free!’ they keep telling us… Freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but the hereafter is a hustle: We want it now.”

A change of date wont fix racism, it wont solve systemic oppression, the gap every one’s talking about will probably widen. It doesn’t change what’s happening in remote communities, in the middle of Sydney, on the other side of town.

It doesn’t take back the first time I was called a coon. The last time I had to explain that you don’t get free houses or cars because your black. It wont stop me from demanding better, for my people, from myself.

A change of date is a step in the right direction, are you sick of standing still?

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