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Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Claiming a Voice : The White Aborigine as Mediator in Kim Scott's Benang: from the Heart
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‘In March 2011, an action was brought against the journalist Andrew Bolt by nine prominent members of the Aboriginal community for offences under the Racial Discrimination Act. In a series of articles published in 2009, Bolt, a controversial columnist for the Herald Sun, had accused light-skinned Aboriginal academics and artists of winning grants and prizes set aside for "real," that Is underprivileged and therefore more deserving "Blacks.", For instance, in an article entitled "It's so hip to be black," he criticised Kim Scott, author of Benang the heart, for being "hailed as the first Aborigine to win the Miles Franklin Award and calling himself a Noongar, despite conceding that the Aborigines who did not know him called him wadjila - a white. Although be claimed in court he never cast aspersions on the racial heritage of fair-skinned Aborigines, he did question, in his much-read column, why they insisted on identifying themselves according to an ethnicity belied by their features and their privileged (because un-discriminated against) background, thus he wrote, ‘spurni[ng] the chance of being people of our better future. While paying lip service to Aborigines’ right to self-identification Bolt was actually falling back on what colonial power has traditionally considered markers of  "whiteness" (colour, but also education, social standing) to deny these high profile individuals any entitlement to a "difference," Which racially people like him persist in confusing with the fantasized "Otherness" of stereotypical Aboriginality. Such symptoms of what Scott refers to as a national ‘neurosis’ highlight just how necessary a novel like " Benang' is, in contemporary Australia, as this chapter will attempt to show. By replacing the self-styled 'humane' eugenicist policies of the first decades of the twentieth century-styled the context of two centuries of colonial violence, the novel succeeds in establishing a clear distinction between the concepts of integration and assimilation.’ (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Aboriginal Australians and Other 'Others' Joëlle Bonnevin (editor), Sue Ryan-Fazilleau (editor), David Waterman (editor), France : Les Indes savantes , 2014 11334456 2014 anthology criticism

    'The contributors to this volume have repeatedly commented on the results of the study. To heal from traumatizing experiences. They denounce the process of "Othering" and stereotyping and put the spotlight on the various attempts at subverting damaging negative stereotypes. They reveal the "dark side" of the colonial governance of post-colonial reconstruction and rewritings of other colonial gestures, such as discovery and conquest. To a certain extent, following Romaine Moreton's advice, they attempt to "reframe those negative experiences".'

    Source: Publisher's blurb.

    France : Les Indes savantes , 2014
    pg. 203-216
Last amended 24 Oct 2017 11:32:46
203-216 Claiming a Voice : The White Aborigine as Mediator in Kim Scott's Benang: from the Heartsmall AustLit logo