Meyne Wyatt’s powerful monologue at the end of Monday’s episode of “Q+A” has been hailed the “brilliant” piece of content that “Australia needs to see.”
The Wongutha-Yamatji man delivered a powerful four-minute speech calling out the oppression and racism First Nations people in Australia have faced every single day since colonisation.
This week’s “Q+A” focused on racial injustice and Black deaths in custody following tens of thousands of people turning out for the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests at the weekend.
Touching on tokenism, racial profiling, police brutality, the racist treatment of Adam Goodes and Australia’s tendency to be casually or “subtly” racist, Wyatt cuts through to the audience in the video that has now gone viral.
“I’ve taken it. No matter what, no matter how big, how small, I’ll get some racist shit on a weekly basis, and I’ll take it,” he said.
“You know, it used to be that in your face – ‘You boong, you black dog, coon’ kind of shit, ‘Gonna chase you down the ditch with my baseball bat’ skinhead shit … when I was 14 years old-
“But nah, ‘we’ve come forward, we’re progressive, we’re going to give you that small subtle shit’. Shit that’s always been there, but it’s not that obvious, in your face shit, it’s that, ‘Ooh no we can’t be seen to be racist’ kind of shit.”
The actor told people not to trade authenticity for approval and urged Australians to speak up against racial injustices.
“Be crazy, take a risk, be different, offend your family,” he said.
“Call them out. Silence is violence. Complacency is complicity. I don’t want to be quiet. I don’t want to be humble. I don’t want to sit down.”
Watch the video in full below:
Wyatt’s stunning monologue, which he originally performed in his play City Of Gold, has earned much praise online with many Twitter users saying “it’s the content Australia needs to see” in the wake of protests against systemic racism against First Nations, the police killing of George Floyd in the US and Indigenous deaths in custody.
Wyatt’s full speech:
“I’m always going to be a Black friend, aren’t I? That’s all anyone ever sees. I’m never just an actor, I’m an Indigenous actor. Hey, I love reppin’, but I don’t hear old Joe Bloggs over here being called ’white Anglo-Saxon actor blah di blah.
I’m always in the Black show, the Black play. I’m always the angry one, the tracker, the thief. Sometimes I just want to be seen for my talent, not my skin colour, not my race. I hate being a token, box to tick, part of some ‘diversity’ angle. ‘Oh, what are you whingeing for, you’re not a real one, anyway – you’re only part.’
Well, what part then? My foot? My arm? My leg? You’re either Black or not. You wanna do a DNA test, come suck my blood.
‘But how will we move forward if we dwell on the past?’ That’s your privilege. You get to ask that question. Ours, we can dance and be good at sport. You go to weddings, we go to funerals.
‘No no, you’re not your ancestors, it’s not your fault you have white skin’ – but you do benefit from it.
You can be OK – me? I have to be exceptional. I mess up, I’m done. There’s no path back for me, there’s no road to redemption. Being Black and successful comes at a cost. You take a hit whether you like it or not, because you want your ‘Blacks’ quiet and humble.
You can’t stand up, you have to sit down. Ask a brother boy, Adam Goodes. A kid says some racist shit – not ignorant, racist – calling a Blackfella an ‘ape’. Come on man, we were flora and fauna before 1967 – no actually, we didn’t exist at all.
He got it. It was a kid – this was a learning moment, he taught that kid a lesson. But they didn’t like that – a Black man standing up for himself, no, they didn’t like that.
‘You shut up boy, you stay in your lane, every time you touch a ball we’re going to boo your arse’. So he showed them a scary Black, throwing imaginary spears and shit – but did they like that? Oh, nah nah nah, they didn’t like that.
Every arena, every stadium, they booed him. ‘It’s coz the way the flog plays football’ – bullshit. No-one booed him the way they booed him until he stood up and said something about race.
The second he stood up, everyone came out of the woodwork to give him shit. And what, he’s supposed to sit there and take it? Well I’ll tell you right now – Adam Goodes has taken it. His whole life, he’s taken it.
I’ve taken it. No matter what, no matter how big, how small, I’ll get some racist shit on a weekly basis, and I’ll take it. You know, it used to be that in your face – ‘You boong, you Black dog, coon’ kind of shit, ‘Gonna chase you down the ditch with my baseball bat’ skinhead shit … when I was 14 years old -
But nah, ‘We’ve come forward, we’re progressive, we’re going to give you that small subtle shit’. Shit that’s always been there, but it’s not that obvious, in your face shit, it’s that, ‘Ooh no we can’t be seen to be racist’ kind of shit.
Security guard following me around the store, asking to search my bag. Walking up to the counter first, and being served second, or third or last kind of shit. Hailing down a cab to see it slow down, look at my face, then drive off. More than once, more than twice – more than once, twice, on any one occasion, yeah, that shit I’ll get weekly.
Sometimes I’ll get it days in a row, if I’m really lucky. And that’s the kind of shit I’m letting them think they’re getting away with, because 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’ve caught me on a bad day, where I don’t feel like taking it, I’ll give you that ‘angry Black’ you’ve been asking for and I’ll tear you a new arsehole. Not because of that one time, but because of my whole life. At least Adam danced … and they still pissed and moaned.
But it’s not about that one time, it’s about all those times. And seeing us as animals and not as people, that shit needs to stop. Black deaths in custody, that shit needs to stop.
I wanna be what you want me to be, I wanna be what I wanna be. Never trade your authenticity for approval. Be crazy. Take a risk. Be different. Offend your family. Call them out. Silence is violence. Complacency is complicity.
I don’t wanna be quiet, I don’t wanna be humble, I don’t wanna sit down.”