Black Boy White.White Boy Black

My name is Dakota Mohan Preece Baker.

I’m a strong, proud Aboriginal man from the Nyoongar nation.  

I stand here in front of you feeling powerful.

Because I’m a descendent of the longest living culture in the world.

I don’t have a lot of money but I’m well off.

I have a good network of friends that support me when I need help.

And my family is, put simply, the best.

I live in a great city with the beach and outback moments away

However it’s not that great, I live in a racist place.

But it’s not seen.

Australia it’s great, it's grand, it’s the best, but this Great Southern land will put you to the test.

Behind the curtain of mateship and having a good laugh, stereotypes prevail. 

They are the main cause of these grand assumptions which allow racism and discrimination to be our daily consumption.   

Why is it that even though I’m a proud Nyoongar man, I get funnelled into this stereotype that I’m not a real Aboriginal because of my fair skin.

Just because I can afford to pay for my bus fare and people darker than me cannot, doesn’t make me any less or them any more Aboriginal.

Why is it that because I’m not smoking weed from a bong and I’m not into crime, that everything is wrong and I’m deemed fine.

You’re not a ‘real Aboriginal’. That’s the phrase of today.

I have a good job and decent pay.

But hey, I can’t possibly be Indigenous because I can pay my own way.

I’m the No Man’s land in between two fronts.

I’m forced into this area where I supposedly don’t belong to either side.

Too much White to be a Black Dog or to Black to be a White Dog. 

I practise my culture every minute of every hour, but I can’t possibly be black if I look like flour.

I can’t possibly be white if I play the didgeridoo. 

I stand here feeling my ancestors power.

I stand here feeling like I am less.

Why can’t I help my people overcome hundreds of years of oppression.

Why can’t I help myself?

Constantly faced with depression.

The obsession of wanting to be more.

I am not blessed with a position of power or greatness.

But I try.

I told the audience that I felt powerful.

Is that why I feel so powerless?

 

Dakota Baker is facilitator of ICEA's Yarn Program. This piece deals with Dakota's struggle with racism as a light-skinned Aboriginal man. As as a Yarn facilitator, Dakota empowers young people with an understanding of how we each have a part to play in reconciliation and contemporary Aboriginal culture. The title, Black Boy White.White Boy Black represents the pressure placed on Indigenous people to forget their culture and learn another, a history many non-Indigenous do not understand.