Earlier this week, actor Meyne Wyatt delivered a powerful speech, calling for an end to racial inequality and everyday racism in Australia.
The monologue, which was originally performed in Wyatt’s play, City Of Gold, was part of Q&A‘s “Truth Hurts” episode, which focused on Bla(c)k deaths in police custody.
It began with Wyatt addressing the negative stereotypes that are often associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and how this has affected him as an Indigenous actor.
“I’m always going to be your Blak friend, aren’t I? That’s all anybody every sees. I’m never just an actor, I’m always an Indigenous actor.”
“I’m always in the Blak show, the Blak play. I’m always the angry one, the tracker, the drinker, the thief. But sometimes I just want to be seen for my talent, not my skin colour, not my race.”
He then went on to address the privilege that many Australians have, saying “How are we to move forward if we dwell on the past? That’s your privilege. You get to ask that question…it’s not your fault you have white skin. But you do benefit from it.”
He also used the experiences of former AFL player Adam Goodes — who faced a barrage of criticism after calling out a racist fan in 2013 — as an example of society only accepting successful Blak people when they are “quiet and humble”.
The next part of Wyatt’s speech is dedicated to detailing the everyday racism he experiences, which has left him exhausted and sometimes results in the “angry Blak” stereotype that racist taunts ask for.
To end the monologue, Wyatt calls on Australians to speak up and to stop “seeing us as animals and not as people” because that — like Blak deaths in custody — needs to stop.
“Never trade your authenticity for approval. Be crazy, take a risk, be different, offend your family, call them out. Silence is violence, complacency is complicit. I don’t want to be quiet, I don’t want to be humble, I don’t want to sit down.”
Wyatt’s incredible performance quickly drew praise from viewers, with some calling it the “most powerful TV moment of 2020”.
While others applauded Wyatt’s words, which made them uncomfortable and forced them to confront the systematic racism that still exists in Australia.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you watch the entire monologue to enlighten yourself on the experiences and everyday racism faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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