Congratulations to the organisers of the ‘Unmasking Whiteness’ conference for their courage in putting on the first ever conference dealing specifically with Whiteness in Australia. It does indeed take courage given that whiteness is, I have found, a disturbing and perturbing topic, not only to white people but also, I believe, to people of colour.
I'd therefore like to preface my paper by stating that I am speaking about my experience only, my life only, my interpretation only. I speak only for myself. I definitely am not speaking on behalf of others, especially other Aboriginal people. I state this up front, for just as whites who question their whiteness are often considered traitors to their race, I have found the same reaction when I have said to certain Aboriginal people who misunderstand my point and my pain: ‘I'd really like to be white, for a change’. Such a statement has been seen as a betrayal and a violation of Aboriginality when in fact it is a cry from the heart which has been ravaged by racism.
Thus should anybody, black or white, be offended by my remarks, I take no responsibility for your interpretation, only for my intention, which is to share rather than to offend. I would also like to say that my paper is not an academic one, for which I make no apologies.