It feels impossible to condense centuries of oppression and decades of lived experience into just four minutes.
But it’s hard to imagine anyone watching Q+A on Monday night feeling unmoved by Meyne Wyatt, who closed the show by tearing apart the aggressions, big and small, faced by Indigenous Australians each and every day.
Staring through the camera and right into Australia, Wyatt, an actor, writer, and Wongutha-Yamatji man, pulled from his debut play City of Gold to attack the nation’s handling of Indigenous issues.
“Nah, we’ve come forward, we’re progressive,” he said.
“We’re gonna give you that small, subtle shit – the shit that’s always been there, but it’s not the obvious in-your-face shit, it’s that, ‘oh, we can’t be seen to be racist’ kind of shit.”
The piece touched on Indigenous deaths in custody, reflecting a moment that’s been much longer than just a moment.
“Silence is violence. Complacency is complicit,” he said.
“I don’t want to be quiet. I don’t want to be humble. I don’t want to sit down.”
The piece capped off a broadcast which asked hard questions about how Australia reckons with its past and present.
Earlier in the show, the mother of an Indigenous man who died in custody asked federal politicians if they will support her push for criminal charges.
Leetona Dungay, mother of David Dungay Jr, drew comparisons between her son’s death in New South Wales’ Long Bay jail hospital, and the death of US man George Floyd, who died after his arrest in Minneapolis last month.
Dungay Jr, a Dunghutti man, died in 2015 after guards attempted to restrain him for a cell move. He was 26.
Floyd was “held down with a knee in his back, saying ‘I can’t breathe,’ until he died,” Dungay said.
“My son David Jr was killed in very similar circumstances.”
While all four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest now face charges linked to his death, a report from the NSW coroner found none of the five guards who restrained Dungay Jr should face charges.
Wyatt voiced his support, telling Dungay he would be “fighting until my last breath” against racism.
NSW Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg said he was sorry that Australia had let her family down, adding, “I am going to commit myself to spend my time in Parliament working on these issues.”
Nakkiah Lui, a Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman, was more direct, saying, “I stand by you, I will be there every step of the way, and I’m sorry that had to happen to your son.”
Lawyer Nyadol Nyuon said it was incumbent on people who are not Indigenous to “perhaps sit down and actually listen to the pain you are hearing here, to truly take it in, and to realise, sometimes, we might live in the same country but experience completely different realities.
You can catch the full broadcast here.