Where are you from?

Art by Sophie Bear

Where are you from?

A question

simple in words but

layered in meaning.

Don’t take it so serious you say, don’t

take it the wrong way you say. But

how would you know what it

means to us.

 

You probably grew up

in the upper suburbs of North Shore, went to

a private school filled with others

of your kind, played

Sunday sport with families of similar

backgrounds, and only ever spoke with

people of the same colour. How would you know what it

means to us.

 

I grew up

in the outcast town of Western Sydney, went to

a public school filled with people

looking to pick on my kind, played

violin everyday with teachers who favoured kids

of your kind, and have never befriended anyone

of your skin colour without being looked

down upon. We are

not the same.

 

You were born into the skin

of royalty, a family of mainstreamed cultures and a life

of the privileged. I was thrust into the race

of colour, a household struggling for acceptance and a world

of discrimination. We are

not the same.

 

You have never had to explain

how to pronounce your last name

to the obnoxious PE teacher, never been

told you were not good

enough because of your skin colour, never had people make

fun of your Mum’s

cooking. You do not know what it

means to us.

 

I can recite every word to Advance Australia

Fair, identify every player

of the Wallabies squad, sing each verse

of Waltzing Matilda. But

I will still be told to “go back to

your own country”. You do not know what it

means to us.

 

You will never know what it

means to us.