Kerryn Pholi used to identify as Aboriginal, and worked in government positions only open to Aboriginal people.
In my years of working as a professional Aborigine, I know that I participated in gross unfairness and abuses of power in the name of ‘reconciliation’ and ‘cultural sensitivity’. About 18 months ago I burned my ‘proof of Aboriginality’ and got off the Aboriginal gravy train for good. To accept preferential treatment on the basis of race is to participate in racism.
I used to identify as Aboriginal, and I have worked in ‘identified’ government positions only open to Aboriginal people. As a professional Aborigine, I could harangue a room full of people with real qualifications and decades of experience with whatever self-serving, uninformed drivel that happened to pop into my head. For this nonsense I would be rapturously applauded, never questioned, and paid well above my qualifications and experience.
About 18 months ago I burned my ‘proof of Aboriginality’ documentation (a letter from the NSW Department of Education acknowledging that I was Aboriginal, on the basis that my local Aboriginal Lands Council at that time, circa 1990, had said so). I walked away from the Aboriginal industry for good.
It hasn’t been easy, and I am still working out what to do with myself from here, but it has been rewarding. It feels great to simply identify as a human being, and to work alongside colleagues that only know me as another ordinary wage-slave, and not as a pampered mascot with the power to ruin a career with an accusation of ‘insensitivity’.
It also feels good to do proper work; sitting around a government office essentially being paid to be Aboriginal is both undignified and boring. I miss the money of course, but I don’t miss the racism.
Such refreshingly honest attitude from a person of Aboriginal origin. I am proud of Kerryn and what she has done. The whole aboriginal industry is repulsive to me and to many other Australians. Yes we are sorry for a significant loss of numbers and harsh treatment, however in today’s society, Aboriginals surely must be appreciative that they don’t have to live stone age lives of some 230 years ago.
If Kerryn’s message and attitude got out to the wider disadvantaged Aboriginal communities, this would do more to advance their cause and ‘bridge the gap’ than any government apology or policy.