Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist



Dilsha Sureshnair

Year 6, New Lambton Public School

Pale skin danced around me, swaying with such synchronized movement. The sound of child's

laughter was something I only aspired to experience. I was different from the rest. I would never

be the same as them.

Mean and hurtful words crumpled up in to a ball and got thrown at me by callous bullies or in

other words,

People who just didn't understand.

Mildly rude words soon turned into cold, coarse words. As the crumbling brick of my house worn

out and corroded day by day, the harshness of the words that were thrown at me became more

severe. Racism was uncontrollable. I never knew the destiny and consequence I had for being

colored until I entered the twisted and tangled world called year three .

Only seven pin pricks of color spread through a crowd of 400. Each blotch of color supported

with at least a crowd of neutral colors. Except me of course. I was darker than the rest. The only

one to be from India. Everyone was white and the other six were light tan. I was the only one,

sitting by myself at school, nobody to talk to. All alone every lunch, sitting under the same

eucalyptus tree which was the only who brought a cool breeze to support me through hot,

scorching days. The only one to support me through each monotonous school day, alone by


I tried every day to make friends but nobody was willing to except a colored Indian.

“Can I play?” I'd politely ask.

“Oh, you're from India. Well we don't speak Indian” They'd say, and if I asked others, they'd say,

“A disgusting colored chipmunk wants to play with us”. These kids just favoured discrimination

is what i thought but they were just

people who just didn't understand

It was hard for me to understand that I should embrace my culture because everyone else didn't

embrace me as one of them. I was left out.

But everything changed when I was supported by someone else. When I was finally proud to

say that I had a true friend. Her name was Emmi. She was white like everyone else and she

was the new kid. She was a beautiful young girl with soft pale skin and brown, shiny long hair

and big pretty eyes. Compared to her I looked like a monster. Everyone accepted her

immediately while I had been trying for a long three years until then.

That day she arrived she saw me sitting alone at lunch with no one to talk to. She came up to


“Hi I'm Emmi!” she said with such kind demeanor. I replied and introduced myself, astonished

and wondering why such a gorgeous girl would want to come and sit with a brown zombie. But

she looked at me with her bright blue eyes and blinked. She immediately accepted me for who I

was and not letting my appearance cover the fact that I had a soul of kindness and was ready to

have a pure social life. She gave me strength to build many conversations and memories with

her and to not forget, many friendships. Now, she is my best friend and I have a big group of

nine made up of people who have been mistreated and not accepted for who they are. Some

with colored skin, some with disabilities and all with true kind hearts. It is not the individuals who

look different that are bad but the ones who don't accept people for who they are.