|What is my age:||I am 37|
|Color of my eyes:||I’ve got warm green eyes|
|Body features:||I'm slender|
Black Americans in Australia feel free: a strange notion considering we have not been slaves since the s. A popular Facebook group for African-Americans living in Australia has just over members. The majority of us are in Sydney and Melbourne, but a growing are also in other capital cities like Brisbane.
Our arrival is a mixed bag of moving for education, work and love.
We come from a country where racism sits at the intersection of every facet of life. Healthcare, the justice system, school, home ownership, and even the cleanliness of the air you breathe, or how safe your drinking water is, are all navigated based on your skin tone. Progress moves in a drunken shuffle while our nerves remain on edge.
Then, we land in Australia and it feels different. While it is no promised land, the ever-present tension on our shoulders, the weight of gravity on our backs, changes. It changes, as in it alters its impact on our body. But like any other colonised country, racism exists here too: it arrived by boat.
A young white woman approached our stall to make a purchase. Soul food is the edible transformation of the scraps tossed to us during slavery: the fatty pieces of hogs, leafy ends of vegetables or bitter root vegetables that black people turned into magic.
We now sold this cuisine in a mostly white suburb filled with yoga and pilates studios and fresh juice bars. She confessed that underneath her slightly tanned skin was the vibrant soul of an African-American woman. For black men, the white Australian fetish is often based on myths about black male phallic size and prowess in bed. The thirst, as our community calls it, is evident whenever black military service members take shore leave.
I recall one year, while living in Woolloomooloo, seeing a news story featuring American sailors on shore leave. They were here as part of annual war game exercises off the eastern coast. Later that night, while at a nightclub in Kings Cross, a white woman in a sea-blue skirt sauntered up to me.
The club was split like a grade school dance with girls on one side and boys on the other until several African-American men entered the club. One single black male I knew arrived in Sydney to work in retail for a couple of years. JR had a wealth of experience in the USA and came over on a sponsored visa. They include ritzy dens or glittering rooftops where bouncers scrutinise us.
It is a frustrating practice as I often try to overdress my way into clubs to reduce my chances of being denied entry. Michael, an outspoken friend of ours, in an act of protest, gave it to the bouncers. He labelled them pawns: Brown Yes-Men plucked out by the white club owners to faithfully reduce the of other brown people allowed inside. JR, who was also out with us that night, decided to return with him a second time to the club.
I keep a personal rule to write off attending any establishment where I have ever felt slighted due to the colour of my skin. It is a practice that I brought over with me from being discriminated against in my hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.
There, we had an excellent first round. I drank an elegant Negroni while my wife consumed a well-executed vodka martini, her drink of choice to accompany the giant Afro wig that she was wearing. From there, we debated about whether to proceed up to the third floor to admire the famed harbour view, but ended up going for round two instead.
Then we parked ourselves on one of the tables outside. My wife and her friend commented on the men in the bar while I enjoyed a Corona. We became conscious of a white bouncer wearing a fluorescent vest near the entrance.
He looked at us curiously. After a little while, he awkwardly walked over and told my wife that she was visibly intoxicated and asked her to leave. They forced us to leave the bar while yet another, brown-skinned, bouncer looked on in silence. Before we departed, my wife calmly approached him, stating that he knew exactly what was going on in this situation and that his silence made him an accomplice to our unfair treatment. Just like the United States, racism preys on us here.
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A lapse in focus means some instances go unchecked. Feelings of violation and rage collide in those moments. The culprits on the other side, who have only appeared to be white thus far, have no idea what variety of black I am. America, in her generational abuse of black people, gave us an incredible work ethic, fierce determination, and ambition to seize any sliver of opportunity.
It moulded us for such a country ripe with opportunity and fewer barriers for upward mobility, at least for African-Americans. While there is still a multitude of strides for this multicultural, isolated continent to make, we do tell friends back home that Australia is about as close to a meritocracy as we have seen so far.
It feels like black Americans have more job prospects and greater opportunities to start businesses like my wife and I didor change the course of their career here. One people were stolen from their land while another had their land stolen.
But the freedom that I experience here is welcoming to a foreign person who feels unwelcome in his own country. The article is part of a collaborative series by SBS Life and Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement which is devoted to empowering groups and individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds through training and employment in creative and critical writing initiatives.
Sweatshop is directed by Michael Mohammed Ahmad. The unique challenges of being both biracial and bisexual While there is undeniable privilege for white-passing people of colour, both biracial and bisexual people experience what is known as double-discrimination.
out. Men engage in this conduct — such as groping, grabbing, and pinching a person on the buttocks — far more than women. Getty Images Source: Getty Images.
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White-run clubs soaking up black American culture without actual black people. While there is undeniable privilege for white-passing people of colour, both biracial and bisexual people experience what is known as double-discrimination. Stay connected with Voices Stay connected with Voices.
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