Image unavailable due to confidentiality
my grandfather, he was born in Italy and he's from Turin
and then my
grandmother was born in St. Kilda haha
but her um mum and dad, so this guy (points to photo) and his wife Josie
they they bor- they were from Sicily
oh um Sicily and Salina or Saline
like the island next to it
my grandparents must have met in Australia
do you know why your grandfather came to Australia?
I'm not too sure about yeah like my grand, my grandfather from Turin but I know my great-grandfather he, like obviously
- like in Sicily there's not a lot of work - yeah, absolutely
I think it was just like, you know
the dream of somewhere new
like my mum, um lived like when... she she grew up on a farm
in Box Hill haha
which sounds funny
she always talks about like chickens and riding a motorbike around
or like you know a postie around
and she's like...in Box Hill!
- haha - like wow
how do you connect to being Italian?
I guess I don't think about it so much
I was really aware of it when I was younger
I was really aware... I guess what...
cause when you're like, in primary school, everyone is kind of really aware of
themselves and other people and I remember in like a classroom setting
there would...like people would be like 'oh, you know, you're a wog' or and like
'you're a skip', kind of thing
like there was definitely recognition of people who were
well actually, it was funny cause they were calling... like they would call like
people like 'Australian'
the stereotypical like blonde hair surfer
kind of look
and then yeah, they're like 'oh yeah, you're not Australian because you're Italian
as early as primary school?
yeah, like kind of like, I just remember kind of like discussions around that
between like children, who probably didn't like understand at all
and I remember thinking, our education system has terrible or non-existent Indigenous education
um I was like 'oh yeah I'm not really' like I remember longing kind of to
look like blonde hair, fair
because they were like 'the real Australians'
and I didn't really fit in
yeah and because you like...having darker features
- like brown eyes and brown hair - yeah
and hairy... I was like so self-conscious about my dark hair
like having a monobrow and yeah like hairy arms and stuff and I really
like... that's maybe that's why I wanted to be fair...have fair hair as well
like a marker that you were actually like Australian?
yeah but it was weird
because there was no...I remember, not I guess, understanding that I was born here
- so I am Australian - yeah
cause I was like 'oh my mum's family's Italian and my dad's family's Scottish
what am I?
so the way that you were identified as like a wog or not Australian was by other people?
yep I remember there's that really like...I don't know like when
you're a child and you're still kind of understanding the way the world works
and like being perceptive of other people around you
that was like feeling like a bit different
how do you feel about the word wog?
I don't really use it unless like I'm making maybe making a joke
I would try probably not to use it just because I know that like people from other places
would take offence
and it is quite an offensive word to some people
best to just steer clear
what do you feel like the effects of migration have
been like on your family or on you as a person in terms of your identity?
I remember when um, when I went to South America, and there were some countries
where you just like kind of like witnessing people who... their culture was
so heavily ingrained in the way they existed for a very long time
that I was kind of like, I kind of noticed it, it was like you could feel it in a way
and I kind of feel like sometimes Australia doesn't feel that way because
I mean it's not our land
it's not like where we've come from so...
like I kind of was like... almost like it was like a weird longing for something like that
to live in a place and be a part of a culture that's like existed in that
place for a long time when
yeah yeah, absolutely
where here it's like a bit of a melting
pot of everyone, which is great, and it's not like I'm saying that it's bad or anything, but it's just like a different feeling
growing up, like what I was talking about before, is like you're living in country
that you don't have long roots in
and trying to understand like where you fit in
gosh I'm just like thinking about how bad my education was like about how I
really did think that it was like white Australians that were natives here
and like feeling like not fitting into that and longing for that but now
I'm just like 'oh god like that was so so wrong'
wanting to conn- I feel like I've
felt like I've wanted to connect to both sides of my um identity
- mmm like Scottish and Italian? - yeah yeah yep
do you think there's a specific culture that is Italian Australian?
yeah I think so for sure, I feel like there's the people who have immigrated here have taken like...
there's definitely like like a almost like a stereotypical type culture
of like the old Italian grandparents cooking lots of food and um I guess like maybe people who migrated here have like
held on to those parts of their culture and really tried to enact them
I remember when I was in Europe just like having a couple
of Italian friends and realising how diverse people's lives are who actually
live in Italy... like it's not like...
oh surprise surprise
like you know, not everyone you know they...
both of them are fair they're like you know I think Italian
and they like, you know, speak Italian
like you know like it's, of course, quite diverse but I feel like here, I guess
it's expected that if you're Italian, you look a certain way, you do certain things within the culture
do you feel like your relationship to culture has changed?
I feel like my perception of my own culture has changed with I guess in line
with my understanding of Australia and its immigration
like current immigration because I feel like when I was when I was younger
yeah like the same thing like trying to understand where I fit in
but then now as I'm older understanding that like Italians and
Greeks have kind of like definitely kind of settled in Australia and kind of like
assimilated in with mainstream Australia and then now like witnessing or like...
Middle-Eastern migrants coming in or African migrants coming
I guess the amount of racism that like people hold towards them
yeah I guess when I was younger I felt like a little bit of the outsider in terms of that
but now I'm like 'oh no' like I've never been systemically oppressed
yeah like I feel like the
way I perceive myself has changed with that adult understanding of like other people and their experiences as well
I guess it's like... I feel it's a combination of like, yeah new immigrants who are
perceived as like their culture being so different from
mainstream Australian culture, you know like the scare tactics around that but then there's also even like even a long term racism around people that look different
to like mainstream white Anglo-Saxons because like even if you think about the
racism that's people still have to like Asian people, like Indians or
Chinese who were here in the gold rush
- yeah, yeah - you know like?
somehow they're still perceived as like 'new migrants'
yeah, yeah exactly
and they've been here longer than like Italians and Greeks where do you think Italian Australian's fit into the current social political climate?
there's been, in society there's been
like enough kind of um assimilation or enculturation that yeah you can kind of, I don't know, live in Australia and, maybe as an adult and not feel different to others
maybe that's also because like, well I don't know, cause I'm white
I do often get asked like what my cultural background is
cause I have dark features but like I could look like anyone haha
I think it's just more out of interest than I feel like there's like racism tied to that or anything
because like there is that safety or like that privilege of, you know, like systematic oppression and not from
my perception a lot of like racism, you can make your identity or like engage
in as much culture as you want
mmhm yeah you can choose... you can pick and choose it yeah
and you can leave it if you want to
yeah yeah choose you're own adventure
I guess it's not even like really talked about...in the political sphere anymore
other than like, the compar- the only thing I can think of is like when they talk about the racism of like new migrants now and how...
comparing that to like the racism
that Greeks and Italians used to face and how
that's changed now
and their like 'don't worry, like everyone will get over it soon'
I guess that is how maybe culture should be, you know, it shouldn't be tied to racism and you should be able to just pick and choose
-it's just your time now - and then we'll find new people to be racist towards
don't worry they'll be another group of people from somewhere else and we'll just do the same stuff to them and then you'll be fine
yeah yeah that's the only thing I can think of, that it's even like acknowledged I guess that is how like maybe culture
should be, you know, it shouldn't be tied to racism and you should be able to just pick and choose
- and feel comfortable wearing either hats - yeah
any hat... like how I was saying before I guess, like yeah, like from when I was younger feeling confused about if I was Australian or not and then like re-tracing both my...from where my grandparents were and then um like I
guess having that idea of not feeling like having heavy roots in this country but I guess it's a... it's like something as well the idea of race
you know that was created to like essentially oppress people
absolutely yeah, and like fragment people
- and pit them against each other - yeah mmm
how I perceive my own like Italian
culture is very much about like my family, my mum's family, like a big family
lots of people, like everyone coming together
surrounded by lots of people and like feeling really full
I guess that's what I feel most tied to culturally
yeah is family