“When I go to Australia Day, I don’t feel like an Australian that day because essentially people are telling me I can’t be a part of that.”
These are the thoughts of Indigenous Australian actress Miranda Tapsell, best known for her award-winning role in Love Child and her appearance as Cynthia on The Sapphires.
She spoke candidly on the new Channel Nine show The Verdict to host Karl Stefanovic about racism in Australia, saying she sometimes doesn’t “feel like an Australian”.
Stefanovic asked her a number of questions relating to how she identifies herself culturally. When asked whether she considers herself Australian, Tapsell responded by saying: “No. Not until I can celebrate Australia Day too. When I go to Australia Day, I don’t feel like an Australian that day because essentially people are telling me I can’t be a part of that.”
The actress shared her emotional stories of growing up and being taunted with cruel racist names. Her father is not Aboriginal and because of that she was always referred to as a half caste. This was not a term she was happy with.
“Im not a half caste. Im not half a person”.
“It was unfair for me to have to define my heritage but others didn’t have to, they were just Australian,” she added.
“I felt invisible as a teenage girl,” she explained.
“I’d look at the women that represented a lot of the media – they were tall, they were blonde, they were blue-eyed, they had fair skin. And here I am, this short, Aboriginal woman and I thought, ‘there’s not much chance for me’.”
Tapsell went on to say that although she initially felt happy after Kevin Rudd’s SORRY speech, unfortunately things seem to be going backwards now. Not much progress has been made on Indigenous Issues.
“The gap in health and education is widening. Aboriginal people with cancer are 60 percent more likely to die from it, Aboriginal women far more likely to die from domestic violence,” she said.
Tapsell also said that she doesn’t really sing the Australian National Anthem either. When Stefanovic posed the question to her, she said she mainly just mumbles her way through it.
Most of the responses by the audience to her appearance were quite positive. Viewers felt saddened that there was still such a big divide in opportunities made available to our Indigenous people.
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Photos courtesy of Google images and news.com