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But where are you originally from ?

By WSU student

If you meet me you’ll probably think I’m British, with my pale skin and very weird, unplaceable accent. But I’m here to inform you I’m not. Yes, I am white and yes, I am European with a long list of countries and uncertainties including, Croatia or Yugoslavia, Austria or Germany, both Northern and Southern Italy and Malta. I often say I’m Australian because I was born here and so were my parents, and I usually get “but where are you originally from?” as a reply. So I often just say I’m a wog, just don’t even bother asking.

Here’s some things that my heritage has taught me. Firstly, there is a whole lot of privilege gained from appearing to be white. People will often treat me with a lot more respect and they assume I am more educated, especially in the workplace. Secondly, people are going to assume they know more about your family and heritage than you, because you’re so young and you’re really just white anyways and there’s no way you can be related to your family because you’re so white. Three, being discriminated against can be absolutely terrifying. I’ve been spending time with my family in public and have heard them being called “terrorists” and being told to go back to where they come from, or ”f*** off you wogs”.

The fact of the matter is that although Australia is very multicultural, we still have a problem with racism and discrimination. People are holding “Reclaim” Australia rallies and it is absolutely deplorable. There needs to be a shift away from this archaic way of thinking; it is harmful not only to people, but to the progress of society as a whole. Racism breeds hatred and can lead to hate crimes. I feel sorry for people who have to deal with comments like those directed at my family every day and for those who just have to brush it off like it is nothing. People just want to be able to live out their day-to-day lives in peace without having to fear for their safety. They deserve this basic right.

 

IMAGE: Matt Drobnik