Okay so I will just give a little background information before I ask my question haha. I come from a half black, half white background, my father is white and my mother is Aboriginal, Wongai to be specific. My Mum and her family are still very close to our aboriginal family and to the culture and to our heritage, so am i and so are a couple of her sisters. My Nana also taught my mum and a couple of her closer sisters many words and phrases in Wongatha which then my mum then passed on to me and which we say regularly and naturally in our home and amount our family and in day-to-day life. I am also very passionate about indigenous/black issues. Because it is natural to say most of the words and phrases that I have been taught by my mum and my family, I say them quite a bit during the day around close friends at school, not to impress anyone or on purpose, it just comes natural and it’s not something I think about doing. At times when I say certain words that my friends understand and know what they mean they will often tell me to shut up or be quiet or ask ‘why do you say that so much?!’. With this, I was just wondering, would it be seen as racism because of what they’re doing? I do get hurt by what they say because I am very proud of my background and Indigenous people and my friends do know that I am aboriginal.
What they’re doing isn’t intentionally done to hurt me but I want to know if it is racism or not so I can explain to them this and tell them why and how it hurts with what they say.
Yes, that is racism. Intentions don’t matter when it comes to racism. For so long have we been denied the right to speak our native tongues and practice our cultures. So for you to be freely speaking your language everyday - that’s resistance. It’s resistance to a society and culture that still in many ways denies us the right to speak our languages and practice culture. Keep doing what you do, don’t comprise yourself or make yourself smaller for others. You’re a person with culture and language - no-one can take that away from you.
Maybe question them next time they do it? Maybe ask them; “so, I should just speak English?” and watch them try to get out of that one. If they keep going, explain that so-called Australia was never a culturally and linguistically homogenous land. It was and still is made up of many different Indigenous nations and has many Indigenous languages within each nation.
I’m so sorry that you’re having to go through this. I wish you all the best of luck in confronting your friends and addressing this issue. Xx