Marcia Langton – The nature of her apology

I apologised for causing offence to him, because he stated that I should apologise to him because I had ‘hurt his feelings’ and offended him. I did not apologise for my beliefs or my intention of trying to explain my beliefs. It was not my intention to cause offence to Andrew Bolt. Andrew Bolt as a newspaper column, a television program and a blog site, and ought to be capable of a robust debate, that is a dialogue rather than a monologue. The debate concerns the fate of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and whether this section should be removed. I say it should not be removed and he has demanded of the government that it be wholly removed. If the Parliament removes this section, he, and others who hold his views, will be free to continue to attack Aboriginal people on the grounds of the colour of their skin.

I believe that his obsessive writing about the colour of the skin of particular Aboriginal people is malicious and cowardly. The question should also be asked as to whether, by publishing photographs and personal details about these people, he is drawing attention to them for the benefit of his followers, who regularly demonstrate in the social media their extremist racist views. If you would like to read some of this abuse, much of it explicitly disgusting in its sexual, racial, gender and other references, follow me on twitter (@marcialangton) or search Twitter for my name and you will read the deluge of abuse I have received. Clearly some of his followers are psychotic. Is he putting Aboriginal people’s lives and physical well being in danger from the mentally unwell among his fans? Note that so many of the reports about the Aboriginal people he attacks come from this readership and that Bolt acknowledges them by their first names. This is a very dangerous practice and I reiterate that my concern is for the safety and wellbeing of the Aboriginal people he attacks. Some are my friends and colleagues, and many I have never met. They not deserve the horrendous treatment that he metes out to them in his column and blog. I am astonished that the media and the Australian public allow this to continue.

He believes that he is not racist, and I believe that he is sincere in this belief. Nevertheless, I am particularly concerned about the harm that his attacks do to these young people, the impact on their self esteem, and the harm to other young Aboriginal people. I am concerned because of the very high rates of suicide among our youth and I believe that this kind of abuse contributes indirectly to this outcome.

Read the whole thing.

Here is where Bolt and Langton completely agree:

The issue of identification as Aboriginal must be separated from the question of what welfare and other benefits ought to flow to people who identify as Aboriginal.

This has been Andrew Bolt’s argument all along.

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262 Responses to Marcia Langton – The nature of her apology

  1. Joe Goodacre

    Although taking your question to its logical extension, the question should have been ‘Blosgtrop, what makes you think that’s it’s real name?’

  2. Gab

    Not really given I believe you to be human rather than an inanimate object and thus one of two genders and guessed you to be male based on your written syntax.

  3. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1232869, posted on March 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm
    [...]
    [M]y judgment is that they are consistent with each other.

    Right, so these statements are consistent:

    1) “It would appear to me that skin colour is irrelevant in determining whether what someone says is racist.”
    2) “If the Black Stream Train is saying that fair skinned people aren’t Aboriginal too, that would be racist as well.”

    If it is racism to say that a black person is unable to access benefits for white people, then it is also racist to say that a white person is unable to access the benefits for black people.

    Well, it’s not. But by all means, ignore what the word ‘racist’ means, and substitute whatever lexical meaning you care to formulate.

    While we could go to the effort of arguing over this – to what point?

    To what point indeed where such invincible stupidity intersects towering arrogance? What a bloviating bore you are.

  4. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1232874, posted on March 20, 2014 at 5:56 pm
    Although taking your question to its logical extension, the question should have been ‘Blosgtrop, what makes you think that’s it’s real name?’

    Please. Gab knows how to use the apostrophe, for starters.

  5. Aristogeiton

    Further, ‘it’ is not used as a pronoun when referring to a person in these circumstances. I would get Quirk et. al. off the bookshelf and give you a reference, but I imagine that you would argue that the authors were wrong and ‘it’ takes whatever grammatical inflexion you decide.

  6. Joe Goodacre

    Gab, the premise of your question was that you can’t know what’s on the other end of the keyboard. It was clever.

    You started with a name – I joined in the fun to extend that premise to other things you can’t know – species/object or sex.

    You then departed from your original premise (that we can’t know what or who is behind a keyboard) to adopt your own set of assumptions, which is no different than someone else assuming that I am, who I say I am. Not so clever.

    Aristogeiton then nailed me on the apostrophe.

  7. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    Not so clever. You’ve assumed I was referring to a person.

  8. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1232893, posted on March 20, 2014 at 6:23 pm
    Aristogeiton,

    Not so clever. You’ve assumed I was referring to a person.

    Don’t you have homework to do?

  9. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    A definition of racism… (Oxford)

    The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:

    Govenment benefits have at their premise assumed inferiority/superiority.

    Where benefits put someone above someone else, they assume superiority.

    Where benefits raise someone to the level of someone else, they assume inferiority.

    If you introduce race as a basis for determining access to either of these categories of benefits then you are discriminating based upon assumptions of inferiority or superiority in regards to race – this is racism.

    Therefore affirmative action for Aboriginals is racist because it has at its premise, the inferiority of Aboriginals to non-Aboriginals.

    A number of Bolt’s quotations imply that he doesn’t believe fair skinned people should be able to access benefits for dark skinned people – that they effectively are not ‘proper’ Aborigines. Therefore implicit in these comments is that dark skin, identifies the Aboriginal race and the Aboriginal race can receive benefits which are premised on inferiority.

    Bolt could have avoided any connotations of racism by saying full stop that race should not determine access to benefits. I’ve seen Bolt make the argument elsewhere that race and government shouldn’t mix however he has obviously not been consistent on this point throughout otherwise the articles Langton referenced would not have existed.

    In regards of the ability of people to comment on people and what race they identify with, I think that I have been incorrect of my usage of the word racist on this point – which is good to know since I called myself racist. I was incorrect in failing to see that a person can comment definitionally on what characteristics define a race without having an opinion on the relative inferiority/superiority of those races. I’ve been incorrect of my usage of the term in this context.

  10. Aristogeiton

    Joe Goodacre
    #1232941, posted on March 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm
    [...]
    Govenment benefits have at their premise assumed inferiority/superiority.

    Where benefits put someone above someone else, they assume superiority.

    Where benefits raise someone to the level of someone else, they assume inferiority.

    Holy fucking shit. Did you just write that? What is surprising to me is that it actually gets worse from there. I’m going to leave aside the linguistic nonsense of the construction ‘at their premise’ and the fallacious personification which involves government cogitating, ‘assum[ing]‘, and perhaps enjoying a Scotch after a hard day at the office. I want you to know, and I mean this sincerely, that this is the most ridiculous thing I have read this month. I’m not going to converse with you further because you are too stupid for it to be possible in any meaningful way.

  11. Aristogeiton

    I think that I have been incorrect of my usage of the word racist on this point – which is good to know since I called myself racist. I was incorrect in failing to see that a person can comment definitionally on what characteristics define a race without having an opinion on the relative inferiority/superiority of those races. I’ve been incorrect of my usage of the term in this context.

    “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race[...]“.

    You’re still a racist.

  12. Joe Goodacre

    Aristogeiton,

    In all seriousness, thank you for pointing out my errors.

    You’re still a racist.

    Inherent in the definition of racism is using the characteristics of race to judge one race as superior to another. I don’t believe any race is superior, and though I’m aware of having said that some races have genetic advantages in some areas as opposed to others, I’m not aware of having said that these differences made one race as a whole superior to the other. Do you agree or is there some other basis upon which you base the claim that I’m racist?

    The options available in a society for people to treat each other are limited to three. They can either treat people equally, or for some people to be treated as superior or inferior.Do you disagree?

    If you agree, then when people prescribe benefits that don’t apply to all, we are left with either these people being viewed as inferior/superior.

    Benefits given to people who are poorer than the average person, treat the poor as inferior in their capabilities (they won’t be able to rectify their poverty on their own), but superior in their rights (they are assumed to have a right over the produce of others). Conversely the person who is forced to pay for the poor, is viewed as superior in their capabilities (they don’t need assistance), yet inferior in their rights (they are forced to serve someone else).

    Are we in agreement that we can either treat people equally, inferior or superior to each other?

    If we are agreed, then treating people as superior or inferior to each other on the basis of race appears to fall within the definition of racism.

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