[there are two theories on this - do you spend your energy responding to right-wing racist freaks, or is it better to just ignore their pap for the rubbish it is? most of the time, it is difficult to respond to all of them, but in some cases, i think it is really important to clearly state why
someone is wrong, and what exactly is wrong with what they are saying, rather than just writing them off as an ass-hole. especially when someone like andrew bolt takes pride of place in melbourne's most popular newspaper, and uses it to lie.]
Andrew Bolt ("Why I won't change" 25/2/04
)offers a bevy of reasons why he thinks he is entitled to hang on to a stance that many have termed racist. Whether Andrew Bolt "changes" or not is irrelevant, but we should be genuinely concerned about Bolt's attempt to convince the Australian public to ignore or dismiss the history of the stolen generations. Certainly, this history should be explored, debated and discussed by all Australians - but to deny it, as Bolt urges us, is to ignore a wealth of historical fact, to pay enormous disrespect to the people still suffering the wounds of this history, and worse still, to risk making the same mistakes again.
Blank denial does not fit the historical facts. It is unclear why Bolt thinks that Lowitja O'Donoghue was not stolen simply because she "was sent with her siblings to South Australia's Colebrook Home by her white father when he'd decided he no longer wanted them or his Aboriginal wife." Can you imagine if men 'disposed' of their white wives and children in this manner? How is it okay that a man could just dispatch his children off to a home with or without the consent of their mother? How much clearer an example of child-removal does Bolt need?
Bolt's allegation that "no high-profile example of a "stolen" child has ever been proved genuine" is at best ignorant, and at worst, deliberately deceptive. For a beginners bibliography of the ample research documenting the stolen generation produced by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Bolt (and readers) can easily access
http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/lbry/fct_shts/lib_rsc3.htm. In just one example reported by Anna Haebich, the 1934 Moseley Royal Commission in Western Australia heard from an Aboriginal woman describing how police arrived and forced her husband, herself and their 5 children into a police car, "... [they] didn't give us a chance to pack anything or have our tea... We arrived at M at sun-down and they let me go to the shop to get some fruit and then they drove us to the police station and wanted to lock us all up in a cell. The children were hanging around their father screaming and I rushed off to see if I could get help but.. the policeman caught me and dragged me back to the cell ... we kept telling the children not to be frightened and they quietened down after a time. The next morning they set off for Moore River Native Settlement. The children were taken from their parents and placed in the compound dormitory."
Bolt has set up his own mythical image of child-theft and then blames indigenous people when their true stories of removal don't fit into his fantasy. Yes, child-removal occurred in a context of extreme poverty within indigenous communities, and yes, indigenous parents were often under pressure to relinquish their children, or informed (wrongly) that their children would just be "getting an education". That doesn't make it right, or excuse the abuse and deprivation that went on in the homes, the exploitation that went on when young indigenous girls and boys were farmed out to work as "apprentices" and their wages were paid directly to the state (they are still waiting for these "wages"), or the racism and loss of connection with their land, language and culture suffered by indigenous children as a result of their separation from their families and communities. Bolt can play around with his invented definitions of "stolen" all he likes, but that doesn't change the reality of the devastating effects that the formal policies and informal practices of various white governments had on indigenous peoples.
Bolt is happy to satisfy himself with the papery excuses of government officials, and fails to examine all the facts. In the case of Peter Gunner for example, Bolt ignores the fact that the Aboriginal Protector had attempted to take away little Peter on a previous occasion, but mother and child had escaped into the bush. When the Protector finally caught up with Peter Gunner's mother, she only relinquished her son on the basis that he was going to school, and would be returned for the holidays. Instead, her child was taken permanently to a home, where he was subjected to regular sexual abuse, and where the quality of education was so poor that by the time he left he was still unable to read. Tell us Bolt - is this a history which you think should be repeated on the current generation of Australian children?
This is an ugly history, but our purpose for gritting our teeth and looking at it is not just to make ourselves feel vicariously guilty for it, or to heap morally superior approbation on past generations. Rather it has a much simpler, and much more necessary purpose - making sure that it never happens again.
[while we're at it, here are bolt's enlightening views on what is and is not racism:]
5 things andrew bolt can tell us about racism:
1. if you marry a chinese woman, then you have life long immunity:
"So Brash vowed to abolish the Maori seats in Parliament, strip all race-based clauses from the law, scrap regulations forcing local governments to consult Maori groups, stop further haggling over land rights, and replace social welfare programs for Maoris with ones that applied to everyone who needed the help, regardless of their race. ...Commentators called him a racist -- although he has a Chinese wife and is rejecting racism. "
2. more aborigines means more racism, get it?
"Of course, Australia is not yet as bad as New Zealand in such racist separatism. We have proportionately fewer Aborigines, for a start."
3. if the white people run everything, then there are no racial squabbles:
"Are we a nation of individuals, equal before the law, and united in a common citizenship? Or are we a collection of tribes, unequal before the law, with different citizenships, depending on our race or ethnicity? And we can see already what our drift backwards into tribalism is bringing us. Squabbles over which race or ethnic group deserves what. The electoral bribing of ethnic bosses, with separate services for "their" people. Arguments over whose ancestors did what to whom, and who should now pay. The parading of old wounds and endless demands for compensation. The insistence on racial differences most of us would otherwise have never noticed. The vilification of our past and the cramping of our future. Redfern."
4. Christianity isn't tribal, it's universal (or if it's not, it should be...):
"What happened to that humanist ideal -- and Christian one -- of seeing us all as individuals, not to be divided or defined by our race?"
5. If it's popular, then it's not *really* that racist:
"Commentators called him a racist -- although he has a Chinese wife and is rejecting racism. But the silent voters? Trust them to back a man who proclaims the old liberal truth that we are brothers and sisters under the skin. Last week Brash's party exploded from just 28 per cent in the polls to 45 per cent -- putting it well in front of Labour for the first time in four years."
read more of this racist pap here