I’m an awful Aboriginal. Not because I contribute to statistics of alcohol and drug addiction or the dismal incarceration rates. I’m an awful Aboriginal because I don’t fit the stereotypical description of an Aboriginal person through the eyes of the non-Indigenous world.
My skin is meant to be darker. My eyes are meant to be darker. My hair is meant to be black.
I shouldn’t have grown up within ten minutes of a McDonald’s. The closest I have come to hunting is navigating tight aisles and self-serve checkouts in grocery stores. This all contributes to the diminishment of my Indigenous identity through the eyes of some non-Indigenous people.
Perhaps social mobility is exclusively for non-Indigenous people because my multifaceted lifestyle doesn’t seem to align with the often-negative stereotypes of what it means to be Indigenous. I love being an awful Aboriginal.
This year’s Reconciliation Week theme is “Grounded in Truth Walk Together with Courage”. The truth is confronting. It can be ugly. It can feel disabling, but it can also disarm people.
We must explore the elements of truth and courage to achieve reconciliation. And in order to truly reconcile, we must recognise Aboriginal Australians as a diverse group of people. The predominant one-size-fits-all approach is neither true nor courageous.