Some people still seem to live in the dark ages, where the darker you are, the more Aboriginal you are. We are colour coordinated, our blood quantified and our identity defined in legislation. Everyone is an expert on Aboriginality. Are there any other peoples in Australia whose identity is as debated?
Do Australians regularly discuss what constitutes an American identity?
Do they sit around a dinner table and analyse a particular British persons identity to determine whether they are British enough?
How likely is there to be an Australian newspaper opinion piece, on a Japanese persons right to call themselves Japanese because they are only “part” Japanese?
Discussions like this only happen about Aboriginal identity. It is part of Australians psyche because of a history of Australia defining Aboriginality.
A quick summary of history for those, who discuss our identity but are ignorant to it…Aboriginal people were defined as “savages” and our land declared Terra Nullius. When Australia became a federation, “Aboriginal natives” were not counted as citizen and were classed under the Flora and Fauna Act. We were defined as animals. In NSW those defined as “half-castes” were no allowed to live on government reserves, Aboriginal people in the NT were not allowed to have sex across the colour lines and in all states we are told where to live. All the legislation was based on a white mans version of our identity. Discussed, debated and qualified by the white man.