Based on Renee Fogorty’s personal experiences and produced for a year 12 project, Fair Skin Black Fella is a beautiful exploration of the issues that young indigenous Australians have to deal with.
Half-caste Mary lived on a cattle station with her mixed-race parents. Mary wasn’t like the other Aboriginals and the other children would often make fun of her. In her heart she knew she was Aboriginal but people couldn’t see that by her appearance. They only saw her fair skin and her fair straight hair. How can someone be a “black fella” when they look like a “white fella?” When Mary tries to befriend two new station girls she is met with the usual disdain. But wise Old Ned, one of the community elders, overhears the conversation and when he calls the girls over he has an important message. Can the words of Old Ned help the new station girls see people for who they really are?
A short read that tells the story of a young girl’s struggles to fit in when her peers think she does not belong. It highlights the issues of judging people by appearance alone and shows that prejudices exist within cultures and communities. The read is beautifully illustrated in earthy colours and the whimsical illustrations capture the spirit of Aboriginal art.
Identity is not about the colour of skin or the curliness of your hair. In the words of Old Ned, “It doesn’t matter if you’re black fella or white fella. It is how you feel in your heart and soul which is important. We all brothers and sisters in this life, no matter what colour we are.”
Recommended for 4+.