The Story of S

Sad Boy

S came from an Australian aboriginal heritage and was proud of his heritage. S attended an Australian university. He wore two flag pins on his jacket, the Australian Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag. In tutorials fellow students would ask him what the flags meant and he would explain what they meant. His student colleagues would then say “but you’re not aboriginal, why do you wear those!” S felt that to be a crushing statement and was put in the position of having to say “I am aboriginal”. Which was then met with “But you are white!” or at best a look of disbelief.

Aboriginal health, from decades of discrimination and inequality is markedly worse than the health of non-aboriginal Australians. In an attempt to fix this, various schemes have been implemented, such as a scheme to provide free medication for aboriginal people suffering from diseases common in the aboriginal community. S went in to get his medication and indicated it was under such and such a scheme, which the medication script clearly stated. The pharmacist demanded that he prove his aboriginality before providing the medication. How do you do this? S took his script and went to find another pharmacy.

These sort of experiences can be frequent and result in humiliation, even anger. They wear you down.