We talk about being 'white' enough or 'black' enough that it dictates how you're treated in the world.
But what about for those of us in between?
I'm white enough that I don’t get followed around the shops anymore (but in hindsight I wonder if that's because my darker mother isn't with me).
I'm black enough that the government provided me with assistance to attend university - which, of course, is offered to white Australians for all sorts of reasons. Sadly, I feel like I always have to point that out, so my university education doesn’t seem like another handout. So people roll their eyes at something that's ultimately so beneficial to Indigenous Australians, and allows them to beat the stereotypes and statistics that tell them they’re going to amount to nothing.
WATCH: Indigenous Lives Matter. Post continues below.
I’m white enough that I won’t get overlooked for jobs, but I know my cousins do.
I’m black enough that people deem it appropriate to ask if I must be Italian or Greek, because of my tan skin and features.
I’m white enough that people forget I’m an Indigenous Australian. I'm white enough that I'm there with my partner's friends when they 'accidentally' make a racial slur. I'm told they didn't mean it. They didn’t mean it about me, I won’t become an alcoholic, I won’t steal, I'm not like 'them'.
But I’m uncomfortable that this week, my partner's group of friends had a conversation about everything going on in the world right now, and said some cruel things about Indigenous Australians. Let’s be real - racist things.
I listen to my soft-hearted partner tell me how anxious it makes him, that it seems surreal and confronting that his best friends can casually make such racist comments, that he tried to say it was wrong, but got shot down. That he is embarrassed that he also used to be careless.
I tell him it’s okay, and I really appreciate that he tried. My boyfriend has a leg up, he has an Indigenous girlfriend who he instinctively tries to protect, and grew up in a family that believes everyone should be treated with respect.
But as he walks away, I tear up. Sh*t, do they think that about me? Did they see my Instagram story about ‘Aboriginal Lives Matter’? Do they talk behind my back? Do they think my partner is slumming it?