Colourful Indian saris. Photo courtesy Flikr.

Colourful Indian saris. Photo courtesy Flikr.


It's our responsibility to make sure non-white Australians know their traditions and cultures are perfectly at home here.

Racial privilege is a strange beast. Other privileges are fairly obvious: you're tall, you're male and you went to a 'good school'. They tie into something tangible that advantages you over others.

Race, however, is different. Race is more than the colour of your skin. It's your accent, your languages, your culture and the relationship between yourself and your nation.

Hence, being someone who is a monolingual Anglophone with an Australian accent, when I'm discussing my own privileges a weird thing happens. I give the standard list - I'm tall, I'm male, I'm from a good school - but bizarrely, another privilege slips in at the end: I'm white.

In case you couldn't tell from the name, I'm not white. I'm half South Australian, half South Indian. I was raised in a regional town in Victoria where everybody else was white.

For much of my childhood, I lived exclusively with my white mother. I only speak English as does everyone in my immediate family, including my Tamil father. The only "Indian" characteristic I have is a marginally higher spice tolerance than your average white Australian. And nobody can pronounce my name the first time.

You can see why I sometimes get confused. Other than the literal colour of my skin, I have nothing that makes me a person of colour. I am culturally Anglo-Saxon.