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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Confused about my identity and culture

Topic: Confused about my identity and culture

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Quercus
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    Quercus avatar
    3246 posts
    15 June 2019

    Hi all,

    Firstly...I understand this topic can easily become offensive so I ask please could anyone who replies be considerate of eachother. I will try do this myself too because I would like this topic not to have to be closed.

    Recently I attended a brainstorming forum to suggest ideas of how the government could improve the rights of women. I was one of the only people there as a non professional and honestly felt stupid and inadequate.

    I spoke to a woman there on a break and her views have upset and shaken me even now over a week later. She was there as a professional. A counsellor, highly educated and fascinating to speak to. She was comfortable to discuss what it means to her to be an Indigenous Australian and answer my many questions without taking offense.

    In particular, we spoke about how I find being called a non indigenous Australian offensive.

    One thing she said threw me completely. I cannot understand it.

    She suggested that my intergenerational trauma is that I have lost my culture and identity. That I don't know who I am. That because the DNA test said I am mostly English with a touch of Irish blood that I needed to find and reconnect with my culture.

    At the time it just confused me. I brushed it off as "agree to disagree".

    But the more I think about it the more upset I feel. I'm not English. I'm not Irish. I have absolutely no desire to seek out or try on another culture for size. I'm Australian. Non Aboriginal yes. But I do have a culture and an identity and I don't belong anywhere but here.

    Until that moment I had never realised someone could see me as a person without culture.

    I suppose to direct this can of worms the question I'm asking is this...

    If you have no living memory of another culture, feel no sense of loss or disconnect and have family who are happy and proud of their culture as they see it, how can it be intergenerational trauma? Is this how many Aboriginal people see people like me?

    Thanks.

    Nat

  2. Matches
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Matches  avatar
    33 posts
    16 June 2019 in reply to Quercus
    Hi Nat,

    Social Justice causes are certainly a divisive topic now.

    I'm an Australian of both European and Aboriginal descent. I look Anglo, I have extremely white features. I remember my grandmother showing me photos of her grandmother a full-blooded indigenous woman. Most of my family won’t acknowledge their true heredity, some even consider it an embarrassment or shame.

    Having grown up in a rural area and going to school with a large population of indigenous students, I could see the intergenerational disadvantage of being black. At that time, whites and blacks kept with their own in the schoolyard. I felt privileged to be white skinned, although all the programs funded at the school appeared to benefit indigenous students.

    I’ve applied for indigenous identified jobs, only to get a rejection with “failed to identify” something on my application.

    That person had no right to make you feel stupid or inadequate, It’s “Identity Politics”.

    "I am, you are, we are Australian"

    Matches

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Quercus
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Quercus avatar
    3246 posts
    16 June 2019 in reply to Matches

    Hi Matches,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, I appreciate it and your post has helped.

    Identity politics isn't a term I have heard before. Definately something I need to read more about.

    Somehow the thing that caused the most confusion is that I know this woman is respected and knowledgeable. It was hard to disregard what she said when other comments throughout the evening were sensible to me.

    You sharing your experiences has helped by showing me it must be equally as confusing to identify as being an Indigenous Australian.

    The idea of feeling ashamed of your heritage is just as upsetting.

    My husband said that if she was secure in her own identity as an Australian she wouldn't need to argue that I don't belong.

    The whole topic confuses and disturbs me. But I'm grateful for your reassurance.

    Nat

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