PHARMACIST Yong Deng was initially reluctant to share his experiences with racism on national television.
The La Trobe University Bendigo alumnus said he came to the attention of Taboo producers through his work with South Sudanese Australian Youth United, a not-for-profit organisation founded in the wake of the unrest at Melbourne's Moomba Festival in 2016.
Mr Deng said the so-called riots changed the way young South Sudanese people were perceived - changes that negatively impacted not only on the lives of young people, but the broader community.
The group sought to support and empower.
Taboo tackles sensitive subjects, such as racism and terminal illness, with a touch of stand-up comedy.
Mr Deng said he offered to work with the show's producers and the young people to present their experiences of racism.
After much encouragement, he agreed to share his story.
"The main reason why I [went] on it is to make people aware their actions matter," Mr Deng said.
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Some of the racism Mr Deng said he had been exposed to was well-intended. But it was racism, all the same.
He was particularly concerned about how young people were being perceived and treated, especially high school students.
"When I first came to Australia I had a girl offering teaching to me," Mr Deng said.
"She was under the assumption that because I just came from Africa I didn't know much."
As it turned out, he was familiar with the content of the subjects - subjects that would prime him for his tertiary studies.
But, because she never thought to ask, Mr Deng said the girl didn't realize she was trying to teach him something he already knew.
"People have an assumption from the way you look," the pharmacist said.
Other incidents have been less well-intended. Mr Deng said he had heard people in public places saying hurtful things without cause.
"Also, how you get perceived on professional grounds," he said.
Mr Deng said people were doubtful they were going to get adequate pharmaceutical services, because of his background.
He did not believe he was alone in having had those experiences.
"When I was at university people were asking if it was actually me who got into university," Mr Deng said.
Differing cultural norms were at the root of an incident he recalled from his time in Bendigo.
"It was a rainy day and I was driving to university," Mr Deng said.
He saw a child waiting for transport to school and stopped, wound down his window, and asked if they needed a lift.
Two days later, Mr Deng said he was confronted by a neighbour who was concerned by his intentions.
Another neighbour stepped in to explain the misunderstanding.
She explained that, in Mr Deng's culture, not to stop and offer help was considered rude. She also explained to Mr Deng why his actions had raised alarm.
He said the experience hadn't made him reluctant to offer assistance.
"If you see something that's not right, you call it out," Mr Deng said his culture taught.
But it had made him more mindful of the circumstances.
Taboo producers filmed with Mr Deng for about four or five days. He was surprised by how intense and emotional he found the experience.
"This was deep," Mr Deng said.
He wasn't sure what or how much of what had been filmed would air in tonight's episode.
"There will be backlashes," Mr Deng said, but added that he was ready for the responses.
"There is going to be reaction, good and bad.
"My main worry is the impact on my patients."
He didn't want having shared his experiences to make those who were seeking his help think less of him.
"I don't want my patients to be worried," Mr Deng said.
"The positive thing I'm looking at is going to be change in mindset."
He firmly believed being involved in the episode would make a difference.
"It's going to inspire other young people," Mr Deng said.
"It's not about whining... If we're going to live cohesively as a society we need to know what affects other people."
Mr Deng has family visiting tonight to watch the episode with him.
He has been living in Melbourne for about three years now, but said he was missing life in Bendigo.
"Bendigo is really - that's an ideal community, for me," Mr Deng said.
"There have been incidents in Bendigo that might look like people are being racist, but it depends on the people."
He said it was a beautiful thing when people asked, "Where are you from" out of sheer curiosity and a desire to learn.
It was when the question was posed with a tone of judgement that Mr Deng said it was hard.
"I just wish Bendigo people knew they're actually really amazing," he said.
"They impacted my life in Australia hugely.
"I still have my university family there. Most of my amazing mentors are in Bendigo."
- Taboo screens tonight on WIN from 8.40pm.
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