Andrew Bolt was right. Justice Mordy Bromberg’s interpretation of the Racial Discrimination Act might suggest otherwise, but Bolt was right – in principle if not completely in example.
On April 15 2009, Bolt expressed his curiosity about whether there was a “whole new fashion in academia, the arts and professional activism to identify as Aboriginal?”
“I’m not saying any of those I’ve named chose to be Aboriginal for anything but the most heartfelt and honest of reasons. I certainly don’t accuse them of opportunism, even if full-blood Aborigines may wonder how such fair people can claim to be one of them and in some cases take black jobs.
I’m saying only that this self-identification as Aboriginal strikes me as self-obsessed, and driven more by politics than by any racial reality.
It’s also divisive, feeding a new movement to stress pointless or even invented racial differences we once swore to overcome. What happened to wanting us all to become colour blind?”
In a subsequent column in June 2009, Bolt made similar points about two “white Aborigines” who received prizes and appointments based on their tenuous links to the more traditional of our traditional owners – ie, blackfellas. Real ones.
Now, six years after those columns were published, and nearly four years after Bromberg found Bolt had contravened the RDA, a white American woman, Rachel Dolezal, has been exposed as having faked her African-American roots. She claims to be ‘transracial’ – an effort to claim a piece of the newly crowned Prefix of PrivilegeTM, ‘trans’.
Anyone who is or claims to be trans-whatever, you see, is superior to anyone who’s not trans-whatever (normal people, in other words). Anyone who’s trans-whatever is also a shining example to any other deluded fool – or deliberate fraudster, as the case may be – who might be having trouble relating their trans-whatever status to other people’s perception about what reality is.
Bolt didn’t predict this exact turn of events, but he did predict that such nonsense was inevitable:
“Yes, yes, I know. What business is it of anyone else how we identify ourselves? In fact, we’re so refreshingly non-judgmental these days – so big-hugs-for-all – that the federal Human Rights Commission wants our laws changed so a man can even call himself a woman, should he feel like it.
Hear it from the HRC itself: “The evidentiary requirements for the legal recognition of sex should be relaxed by . . . making greater allowance for people to self-identify their sex.”
Lovely! Soon there’ll be no end of white men claiming prizes meant for black women. And don’t dare then tell the HRC’s anti-discrimination police you object.
Yet I do object, and not just because I refuse to surrender my reason and pretend white really is black, just to aid some artist’s self-actualisation therapy.
That way lies madness, where truth is just a whim and words mean nothing.”
Until the past week, Dolezal had been for many years outdoing our brothers and sisters here in Australia, who could at least claim they had one Aboriginal blood relative from within a generation or two. To extrapolate from Bolt’s words, as Justice Bromberg saw fit to do in 2011, I expect the first trans-racial possum-skin-wearers and gumleaf-whisperers already walk among us and are getting paid to do so.
Footnote: Kudos to Bolt’s fellow evil Murdoch minion satirist Tim Blair for appropriating the headline in Bolt’s original article for his own piece on Dolezal. It is a reminder, and a warning of sorts, that not all of us forget others’ histories as easily as we forget our own.