AUSTRALIA: Don’t tell me I’m ‘too pretty to be Aboriginal’. It’s not a compliment; it’s racism

INTRO:

I was 11 years old when my best friend’s sister approached me at her birthday party. She asked me what my nationality was; when I told her, she replied, “You’re too pretty to be Aboriginal.”

A cloud of shame washed over me. Two adults standing nearby muttered “Aboriginal!” in a condescending tone which signalled to me that being Aboriginal was somehow dirty. I stood there humiliated. Until this moment, I hadn’t known that I was the only Aboriginal child at the party. It shouldn’t have mattered.