“Don’t go to Australia” he said.
We sat on the classroom steps. Tane was there. He was the other “Maori” at school and we were immediate friends. Lucas was the one who spoke though. He was cheeky too – always my favourite quality,- cheekiness, tempered with kindness.
“They’re all racists apparently.”
I didn’t have a choice of course. 9 year olds rarely get the deciding vote on whether to leave the country or not. And so we left
for the land of the racists.
On February 13th 2008 the Prime Minister of Australia said sorry. I was Twenty four. Fifteen years an immigrant, Seven years a citizen, Four years a soldier, and I had fallen in love with this big flat red rock. And I was proud to have served.
“God that’s an ugly head,” he said looking me over with the old classic, stereotypical, 1000-yard stare. Corporal Bald-Whitey was the perfection of army stereotypes, all bald and white.
“You got a nickname recruit A-piranha?”
“How about ‘Ears’?” he grinned.
My ears have always been non-symmetrical which actually bothered me a lot.
“You know who the ugliest people are though?” he continued, scanning the rest of the team, 9 recruits in total. “None of you are Aboriginal are you?…”
But the other recruits had no time for that. I was big and I could carry the heavy things, and I could walk long distances, and I could help my mates and they could help me. And the team could get shit done. And this was not the land of the racists. But a few of them are in power.
On February 13th 2008 the Prime Minister of Australia said sorry. Two Hundred years of oppression, One Hundred years of Child Abduction, and Forty years of being considered to be humans, and I got to say sorry.
“Don’t fucking touch me” he screamed. “That bitch can’t cut me off.”
The to-and-fro had continued for a good few minutes and the two drinking buddies were very adamant about finishing their drinks. Working the Door can be a thankless job. No-one loves to be told “she’s the manager mate.” and “That’s it for the night.”
But “you can’t just sit there insulting the staff sir. You’re gonna have to call it a night.”
“Don’t you fucking touch me. How would you like acid thrown in your face? I know the Banditos.”
It’s pretty common that an intoxicated and aggressive bloke will try to get a rise out of you. But the good guards are pretty tough to bait.
“We’ll come back and level this place. You fucking nigger.”
But the staff had no time for that. I was kind and I was friendly, and the team had my back. And this isn’t the land of the racists.
But a few of them make me feel unsafe.