Monthly Archives: April 2012
… She was born that way!
It comes as no surprise that Andrew Bolt has found himself involved in yet another controversy surrounding race. We all know Bolt lost a high profile case and like the guy who doesn’t accept the umpires decision in a game of street cricket he’s taking his bat and ball and going home. But first he is going to throw around a few names and smash some bins as he marches off down the street.
But Bolt doesn’t simply play with a bat and ball, he plays with peoples lives, with the identity of an entire race and as the most read journalist in Australia, with how we shape public discussion on such issues for generations to come. Bolt and his supporters would have you believe that he lost a free speech case and that he has been silenced. This is a lie!
He breached the Racial Discrimination Act and returned to work as Australia’s most read columnist & blogger who also has a TV show and a radio program. Silenced? And how much did the applicants ask for in damages, landmark case like that would have to get you a few million each surely? Not a cent! No victims here, just folk wanting the record set straight and for Bolt to tell the truth and not abuse them racially. This does not seem like too much to ask, In fact as someone who knows a thing or two about handling high profile court cases I would say the nine individuals who took the case against Bolt are brave for what they did. Brave because going through any legal battle is awful, especially one where you have been wronged and it is played out in the media.
Six months later and we arrive back at the present time and Bolt having come to terms with his error has had the chance to meet with Indigenous leaders, think about the importance of his own Dutch culture to him and apologise to each and all…
Or that is what would have happened if he was indeed sorry, a decent individual or employed by a media company that respected the law. One of the applicants to the case, Dr Anita Heiss, has written a new booked entitled Am I Black Enough For You? and Bolt & co. are fuming. From reading his column and their ranting it seems they don’t believe Dr Heiss should have written the book, it shouldn’t have been published and she shouldn’t be speaking about the case or her identity.
In short, they want Dr Heiss silenced, they don’t believe in free speech and so they’ve taken to Amazon to ridicule a book they haven’t read. All at the direction of Bolt, who in his Column (most read in Australia) spoke about the book and Dr Heiss.
Hold on a moment, who’s free speech is being attacked here?
Let’s get some fact straight. Dr Anita Heiss is an author of considerable standing in Australia. She has been a prolific writer for two decades with successful works across a wide range of genres. A director of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and an author who gives back to the entire community through her promotion of literature and the craft, literacy for all Australian’s and encouraging and assisting up and coming writers with their work. Having been seriously misrepresented by Bolt, something a judge found also breached the Racial Discrimination Act it is only a very nasty individual who would seek to deny her the right of reply.
But to suggest that this is all her new book is about is an insult to Dr Heiss and an insult to anyone who cares about true harmony and understanding in the Australian community. The book is about a woman who comes from the oldest living culture in the world but lives in one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet. The story of a woman of colour who has become a leader in her field when very few existed and what it is like to be a high profile Aboriginal Woman in a ground breaking legal case.
What Heiss shows us with her book is that your identity is not one that can be written on an ID card, it is not something determined by where you live and despite any obstacles laid in her way she is not a victim but a success and an example to all of us.
Make no mistake, history will judge this period of time in our Nation. It will judge the fact that Indigenous Australian’s still face a 20 year gap in life expectancy compared to their non-Indigenous brothers and sisters. It will judge how a Government sent the army into communities that needed nurses and teachers and it will judge how a few white men in the media tried to tell the oldest living culture on earth how they should determine their identity.
And then History will turn the page on Am I Black Enough For You? And see Dr Anita Heiss, a writer, an activist, a teacher and a leader who stood up so that future generations can live out their identity as they see fit, not have it questioned or belittled.
Dr Anita Heiss is a proud woman of the Wiradjuri nation, an incredible writer and she is more than Black enough! Andrew Bolt is a convicted racist, one found to be a terrible journalist who relies heavily on google for his research and a man who has contributed nothing to the positive growth of our country. It is only because Bolt lost in court to Heiss that their names ever need be mentioned in the same breath. And with her new book and dignified response to Bolt’s continued attacks she is winning again!