This is a story of someone who tried to help, but felt the racism
Hello my name is tiamah, I am a proud Waradjuru woman living in… I went to help at my local hospital as a volunteer. I asked if I could be a volunteer to help other koori women with cancer. I got told I couldn’t and that on the day I would be sent where I was needed and that they would take that into account. I said I would help with any cultural capability training needed for staff and volunteers and was told this was done by the health department and they were all up to date. I told them, that they might be up to date, but what they have learnt hasn’t been acted in the work place. I was asked what I mean, so I told them that I had issues while I was in the hospital, I told them I couldn’t have a male nurse doing intimate washing or things like that, but that my needs were overlooked. I was told that it must have been a busy period and that it must have been a rare incident.
So with my tail tucked between my legs, I let it go and thought, well maybe they are right. My first day on the job, I wish I could say it was a breeze but it was hard going and I had so many strange looks from other people. I had a nurse chase me out of an area and call security. The boys and girls at security were funny, they could see the humor in my being chased out as if I was some random off the streets. I’m glad someone saw the funny side of it. I felt totally humiliated. I was reminded that no matter what I do, to some people I am just a black. A black that must drink and take drugs. A dirty no good black. That is the way some people see me. They don’t see the woman who is proud of her Aboriginalness, they don’t see the mother, wife and friend. They don’t see that I have survived in the white man world I have studied. I was employed at the local school as a teacher until I was diagnosed with breast cancer. They don’t see the woman who wants to help others. All they see is their racist hate.