Reflections On The Colour Of My Skin

Jun 8, 2020 | Aussie Nurse

There has been some civil unrest in parts of the world, protesters are coming together and standing in unison in many countries, whilst watching this on the news we see many vivid visual scenes and the stories brought forward will never leave me

Nursing is a job where diversity is clearly present and is seen in the workplace every single day, I can’t think of any other industry that is as multi-cultural as nursing.

But I have been thinking about right now, what is my place?

I now have a platform as Aussie Nurse and at this particular time I think it is super important to rip my mask off and introduce myself a little more – 

I am a registered nurse who is British Indian, like many nurses in Australia I have experienced working as a nurse in more than one country, I feel so fortunate to have experienced the world as an international and ultimately with the amount of time I have spent here, I see myself as Australian.

My experience from working as a nurse and even witnessing other nurses is that we don’t always get heard at first, we try to speak up and stand up for whats right but with all the difficult obstacles we may encounter, we learn to become silent. It frustrates me as I know I have got used to ‘staying in my lane’.

Being someone who has brown skin, here are a few negative experiences that I encounter –

  • Hearing people faking foreign accents (this is so demeaning)
  • Being asked if I’m related to somebody else who is of the same ethnicity
  • General name calling and slurs
  • Being told you’re exotic and have nice skin

 

How I am perceived from my race, identity or nationality runs quite deep, whether it is intentional or unintentional words actually do have a great deal of power. Words maybe a tool for communication but when used destructively and sometimes unknowing even in jest, it hurts and is a humiliation. Unfortunately these experiences happen so often that I’ve accepted these words in the way that they are expressed.

I’ve never wanted to but I have had to set boundaries with others as they just haven’t understood that I am from a background that has a different set of values and beliefs. It’s so hard but reality has a habit of snapping me back into place.

I am lucky as I have only been affected with micro aggression through words of others, I have not been disadvantaged through education, work opportunities, being stopped by the police or even beaten due to the colour of my skin. From my childhood, hearing these stories of injustice is so common, this is not something new.

 

Conclusion- 

On this platform, I just wanted to share my thoughts as this year I have lost some confidence, closer to home my thoughts are that the efforts of protesting may take us past our comforts. But after watching a person suffering and knowing this isn’t an isolated case, I hope awareness will grow and hopefully we learn to respect one another with some understanding.

(Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash)

 

“When you see black kids in the street, think of what they can be rather than what you think they are”

– Neil DeGrasse

 

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