Meyne Wyatt on what it means to be “indigenous” in Australia
I’m always gonna be your black friend, aren’t I? That’s all anybody ever sees.
I’m never just an actor. I’m an Indigenous actor. I love reppin’, but I don’t hear old Joe Bloggs being called quite white Anglo-Saxon actor.
I’m always in the black show, the black play.
I’m always the angry one, the tracker, the drinker, the thief.
Sometimes I want to be seen for my talent, not my skin colour, not my race.
I hate being a token. Some box to tick, part of some diversity angle.
“What are you whingeing for? You’re not a real one anyway. You’re only part.”
What part, then? My foot? My arm? My leg? You’re either black or you’re not.
You want to do a DNA test? Come suck my blood.
“How are we to move forward if we dwell on the past?” That’s your privilege. You get to ask that question. Ours is we can dance and we’re good at sport.
You go to weddings we go to funerals.
No, no, no, you’re not your ancestors, it’s not your fault you have white skin, but you do benefit from it.
You can be OK. I have to be exceptional. I mess up, I’m done. There’s no path back for me. There’s no road to redemption.
Being black and successful comes at a cost. You take a hit whether you like it or not. Because you want your blacks quiet and humble.
You can’t stand up, you have to sit down. Ask the brother-boy Adam Goodes.
A kid says some racist shit — not ignorant — racist. Calling a black fella an ape?
C’mon man we was flora and fauna before 1967, nah actually we didn’t even exist at all.
This was a learning moment. He taught that kid a lesson.
Didn’t like that a black man standing up for himself? Nah, they didn’t like that.
“Shut up, boy, you stay in your lane. Any time you touch a ball, we’re gonna boo your arse.
So he showed them a scary black, throwing imaginary spears and shit.
Did they like that? They didn’t like that. Every arena and stadium booed him.
“It’s because of the way the flog pays football.” Bullshit. No-one booed him the way they booed him until he stood up and said something about race.
The second he stood up, everybody came out of the woodworks to give him shit. And he’s supposed to sit there and take it? I’ll tell you right now, Adam Goodes has taken it, his whole life he’s taken it. I’ve taken it.
No matter what, no matter how big, how small, I’ll get some racist shit on a weekly basis and I’ll take it.
It used to be in your face, “Ya boong, ya black dog, coon”, kind of shit.
“I’m gonna chase ya down the ditch with my baseball bat”, skinhead shit when I was 14 years old.
“Nah, we’re progressive, now, we’ll give you the small, subtle shit”. The shit that’s always been there. Not the obvious, in-your-face shit. It’s the “we can’t be seen to be racist” kind of shit.
Security guard following me around the store, asking to search my bag.
Walking up to the counter first being served, second or third or last kind of shit.
Or hailing down a cab and watching it slow down to look at my face and then drive off. More than once. More than twice. More than once-twice on any one occasion — yeah, that shit, I’ll get weekly.
Sometimes I’ll get days in a row if I’m really lucky.
And that’s the kind of shit I let them think they’re getting way with.
To be honest, I can’t be bothered. I can’t be bothered teaching their ignorant arses on a daily basis. I don’t have the energy or the enthusiasm.
It’s exhausting, and I like living my life.
But on occasion, when you caught me on a bad day where I don’t feel like taking it, I’ll give you that angry black you’ve been asking for and I’ll tear you a new asshole.
Not because of that one time, because of my whole life.
At least Adam danced and they still pissed and moaned. But t’s not about that one time, it’s about all those times.
And seeing us as animals, that shit needs to stop.
Black deaths in custody, that shit needs to stop.
I want to be what you want me to be. I want to be what I want to be
Never trade your authenticity for approval.
Be crazy, take a risk, be different,
offend your family.
Call them out.
Silence is violence. Complacency is complicity.
I don’t want to be quiet. I don’t want to be humble. I don’t want to sit down.”