“Silence is violence. Complacency is complicity.”
Earlier this week, actor Meyne Wyatt delivered a powerful speech, calling for an end to racial inequality and everyday racism in Australia.
The monologue, which was originally performed in Wyatt’s play, City Of Gold, was part of Q&A’s “Truth Hurts” episode, which focused on Bla(c)k deaths in police custody.
ABC / Via abc.net.au
Besides Wyatt — who is a Wongutha-Yamatji man — the panel also featured Andrew Bragg, Jim Chalmers, Nakkiah Lui and Nyadol Nyuon.
It began with Wyatt addressing the negative stereotypes that are often associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and how this has affected him as an Indigenous actor.
“I’m always going to be your Blak friend, aren’t I? That’s all anybody every sees. I’m never just an actor, I’m always an Indigenous actor.”
“I’m always in the Blak show, the Blak play. I’m always the angry one, the tracker, the drinker, the thief. But sometimes I just want to be seen for my talent, not my skin colour, not my race.”
He then went on to address the privilege that many Australians have, saying “How are we to move forward if we dwell on the past? That’s your privilege. You get to ask that question…it’s not your fault you have white skin. But you do benefit from it.”
He also used the experiences of former AFL player Adam Goodes — who faced a barrage of criticism after calling out a racist fan in 2013 — as an example of society only accepting successful Blak people when they are “quiet and humble”.
Cameron Spencer / Getty Images
“Being Blak and successful comes at a cost…because you want your Blaks quiet and humble. You can’t stand up, you have to sit down.”
He continued, “It’s football? Bullshit. No one booed him (Goodes) the way they booed him until he stood up and say something about race.”
The next part of Wyatt’s speech is dedicated to detailing the everyday racism he experiences, which has left him exhausted and sometimes results in the “angry Blak” stereotype that racist taunts ask for.
“Security guard following me around the store, asking to search my bag…Or hailing down a cab and watching it slow down to look at my face and then drive off. More than once. More than twice. More than once-twice on any one occasion — yeah, that shit, I’ll get weekly.
To be honest, I can’t be bothered. I can’t be bothered teaching their ignorant arses on a daily basis. I don’t have the energy or the enthusiasm. It’s exhausting, and I like living my life.
But on occasion, when you caught me on a bad day where I don’t feel like taking it, I’ll give you that angry Blak you’ve been asking for and I’ll tear you a new asshole. Not because of that one time, because of my whole life.”
To end the monologue, Wyatt calls on Australians to speak up and to stop “seeing us as animals and not as people” because that — like Blak deaths in custody — needs to stop.
“Never trade your authenticity for approval. Be crazy, take a risk, be different, offend your family, call them out. Silence is violence, complacency is complicit. I don’t want to be quiet, I don’t want to be humble, I don’t want to sit down.”
Wyatt’s incredible performance quickly drew praise from viewers, with some calling it the “most powerful TV moment of 2020”.
the most powerful TV moment of 2020? needs to be seen — and deeply considered — by all australians. https://t.co/vTV7o2cPju
12:47 AM – 09 Jun 2020
@QandA Thank you for your monologue @meynewyatt This is EXACTLY what needs to be said and HEARD! All power to you!
03:01 PM – 08 Jun 2020
@QandA @meynewyatt So powerful, emotional, raw, gutteral. Thank you for this amazing & important piece of writing. It should be shown at EVERY school. I’m sorry the AusGov and it’s people haven’t treated our traditional land owners with respect. I hope this changes NOW ❤️
03:00 PM – 08 Jun 2020
@QandA Damn….this…..this is raw truth and insane talent.🖤🖤🖤I’m so proud of our artists.
01:50 PM – 08 Jun 2020
While others applauded Wyatt’s words, which made them uncomfortable and forced them to confront the systematic racism that still exists in Australia.
@QandA My sister said to me that she found this very confronting. I replied “Good! If you’re feeling uncomfortable hearing it, how do you think he feels living it??!” #qanda
01:49 PM – 08 Jun 2020
Came to see cousin brothrr Meyne Wyatt fire a whole heap of truth to our tv screens & we just got it. If every lounge room in Australia got made uncomfortable just now, you should be.
11:53 AM – 08 Jun 2020
Incredibly moving, impactful moment from @QandA last night.
Should be mandatory viewing for all Australians – think deeply about our country & our values. https://t.co/HoVxQ2UyWX
02:03 AM – 09 Jun 2020
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you watch the entire monologue to enlighten yourself on the experiences and everyday racism faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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