Stereotype after stereotype has created an image of what Aboriginality is.
All too often, light-skinned Indigenous Australians are stung with the question, “What per cent Aboriginal even are you?”.
I am Aboriginal. I am just not the image people many conjure up when they think of an Aboriginal person.
Watch: Awkward questions I get asked as a young Aboriginal woman. Post continues below.
This question nudges at my self-identity. A little bump that makes me wonder if I am Aboriginal 'enough'.
The University of Sydney interviewed Indigenous members about the correctness of asking how 'Aboriginal' somebody is.
Mary Waria is a Badu woman who expressed the damaging impact of the stereotypes.
"It's never okay to ask… If you look at our history there's a reason why people aren't 100 per cent Aboriginal, and that's really heartbreaking. It doesn't matter the colour of your skin… I guess that's another stereotype - you have to be black, like dark, to be Aboriginal," said Waria.
The Australian Law Reform Commission defines Aboriginality by evidence of Aboriginal descent, self-identification as an Aboriginal person, and acceptance by the community.
However, there are no criteria for what an Indigenous person should "look like". The number of people that have experienced invalidation from not being a 'full' Aboriginal is frustrating.
My skin is olive, my hair is dark, and my facial features definitely set me apart from other Caucasian Aussies.
I have been told that I must be Latina, or I must have some Kiwi in my family. What people must understand is that being Aboriginal is not something that needs to be justified.