HARPREET KAUR DHILLON | CREATIVES
Stream of conscious thoughts.
To list the battles, the issues, the barriers, and the experiences of those who are culturally diverse in Australia is long, complicated, and ever-growing.
Residues of colonisation.
Social constructs of ideal beauty and what’s perceived to be normal. Racism.
Unlearning and unpacking the damage of ongoing western values and stereotypes.
Truth matter is our beauty and history doesn’t lay between walls that can be understood.
When there has been no/lack of effort currently in highlighting and celebrating our culture, our history, and our present.
Our ancestry and culture have often either been erased, overlooked, and stereotyped.
Non-existent in being taught properly in school, made ashamed either by ourselves or those that surround us. Yearning for belonging, led and/or moulded to sacrificing in order to fit in.
Coping and defense mechanisms, many of which we have witnessed and learned from our parents who’ve had it way worse.
An intergenerational trauma of assimilation.
Putting away our beautiful traditional clothing, in clothes and trends that fits society.
Discrimination and alienation to many of those who do.
Barriers of misunderstanding.
Broken ancestral chain of our mother tongue being passed on to us though we are built to know the language of the English, the same empire which led to many of our home destruction in the first place.
How do we learn our culture when we don't speak the same language as those that can teach us?
How can we address our history, when we are either ashamed, don't talk about it and/or don’t know it.
How do we pass on knowledge and keep our cultures alive when we don’t even know ourselves?
Can never win when trying to keep society’s expectations.
Never being ever good enough to the communities, part of and of ourselves.
“Coconut, curry puff, banana.”
As if it wasn’t hard enough already, we reinforce this narrative of expectations and ideals.
Leading up and down, dangerous route/search for an identity that is our own and not crafted for someone else’s comfort.
Myself, I am still on this journey – I am not able to speak my mother tongue, and even though English is my first language, I was put into ESL. My parents never spoke our mother tongue, Punjabi at home, even making the efforts of going to Punjabi school, was made fun of by my teacher for either being fat or stupid for not knowing. Learning a language takes time and support. Trying so hard to be accepted into a community which barriers that for me, included, not knowing the language and not practising the culture/religion. Needing to go on my own search to learn of my culture – a journey I know many first generations are also going through. There is no one to blame for not knowing our culture other than the system and society’s constructs, highlighting and controlling the narrative.
We learn extensively about World War I and II – heroic stories of those that have colonised our lands, instead of the bitter truth. How can we make sure history does not repeat itself, when we don’t know what the full history was in the first place.
Our countries now lie in poverty, not at the fault of our own.
Though due to resources, lands, people...
...stolen, killed, and enslaved.
What's left now?
Greed, corruption, trauma and trying to break out of entrenched cycles.
Class structures kept in place.
A piece of history may not know, the Partition of India, 1947, line, border that led to one of the biggest forced migrations in the world of 14.5 million people, 10 to 20 million displaced and 200,000 to 2 million killed. My ancestry and cultural land now split in 2 as Punjab lies inside between both of the borders of India and Pakistan. All due to someone who has never been to India, lack of knowledge and awareness of the lands drawing a line that has ongoing effects of violence to this day.
Intergenerational trauma… what feels like a never ending battle. Out of survival and society’s mode of production, it is rare to have the opportunity to address and heal when the mentality is to keep going along with the discussions and stigmas mental health leaves, obtaining support is another battle in and of itself.
Intergenerational trauma passed on by parenting practices, behavioural problems, violence, harmful substance use, and mental health issues. Add on barriers of communication and understanding one another’s experiences as they are distinctively, polar oppositely different.
Have led to wounds, disruption of positive growth, and strain on relationship/support due to being neglected. In order for us to heal the intergenerational trauma, first we need to heal the wounds it has caused. Though for so many of us it is easier to blame than to go down the hard path of finding out and coming to terms with our history and gradually rebuilding trust, respect, and communication, that takes a whole heap of strength to do.
Growing up as a person of colour myself, a brown Punjabi, for me the othering and grouping of people of colour is bullshit. 1. White is a colour. 2. It just is. Although, yes anyway, growing up as a PoC, I understand and can relate to the feeling of not being good enough to be who you truly are. Having mastered the skill of being a chameleon, building boundaries and walls in certain situations/with certain people, to be who truly I am I need to be with those that make me feel culturally and emotionally safe. A survival tactic that I have needed for my psychological safety and an outcome that I learned I needed to do.
Try to fit into the Australian culture – white washed.
Don’t know the culture/language + dyed and cut hair with tattoos – too white for my Punjabi community.
Why are we so exclusive when all humans equally deserve belonging and community.
Highlighting the ethnocultural issues we face – a long never-ending list, though an important one, then to address and start the process of decolonising and healing ourselves from western ideals. All on our different journeys of unlearning and unpacking the damage of western ideals and stereotypes drenched in racism and discrimination.
We each carry and pass on the traditions of our culture on our shoulders to maintain it as well as to pass it on to the next generation.
We each have been through so much, have made our mistakes, successes, and paths out of what we have been given. We are doing our best and to that I say no matter what, we are more than good enough and do belong in whatever and wherever here may be. All the best of luck with the journey you are on. I am excited for all that is to come, the growth, the breaking of taboos, stigma and silence. I am here if you ever need someone to listen to any of it.
Much love, Harpreet.