This past week I’ve seen some pretty awful things written about you as people exercised their freedom of speech to write hateful, hate-filled remarks in a forum intended for informative book reviews and product feedback.
I want to write something about you too. But I’m not going to do it anonymously on a public forum. I’m going to write it here, on my blog, with my name attached. Here we go.
Thank you for being a woman of integrity, depth and courage in a society that has little value for such things when they lead someone to question the status quo. Thank you for remaining true to what you hold dear in a society that tells us it values honesty and strength of character until that same honesty and character questions society’s priorities and makes a stand against injustice and inequality.
Thank you for following up your words with actions. I’m amazed that so many are questioning your claim to your indigenous heritage. Five minutes on your blog or Google would demonstrate that your desire to be associated with Indigenous Australian culture is not mere lip service for some personal gain. You are constantly promoting Indigenous artists, writers and cultural events. You visit community groups and speak at public events that promote indigenous culture. You are an enthusiastic, passionate and involved ambassador for Australian Indigenous people.
Thank you for your generosity of spirit. Your ‘grateful’ blog posts are a wonderful reminder that we have so much to be thankful for, both big and small. I love that you use so many of your posts to be thankful for the influence and example of others. Your posts remind me that we are part of a community and our contribution has value and purpose. It is easy to lose sight of the simple pleasures in the midst of our busy lives, but you constantly return to the basics and remember that in the midst of it all we have so much to be thankful for.
Thank you for being an inspiration. Your success despite what society would perceive as your limitations (you are indigenous AND female – a double ‘handicap’) is impressive, but it is your warmth, intelligence, humour, passion and willingness to stand up and speak out for what you believe in that is inspirational.
I’m sure if we met in person, we would find points on which we disagree. I’m not writing this letter because I agree with everything you do and say. I’m writing it because I respect your willingness to stand up for what you believe in, to form opinions and then voice them.
We know each other. I interviewed you over the phone some time ago regarding one of your novels and you have guest posted here on my blog. We have chatted online through Facebook and Twitter. I guess I would call us acquaintances, although I would be proud to call you friend.
I hope that we get to meet in person one day and, because I am always willing to bring people into their world who will inspire them to think deeply and live a life of passion and purpose, I hope that my children get to meet you.
Thank you Anita.
Yours with gratitude and respect,
This post is in response to the racist and personal attacks on Anita Heiss through various sites in response to her recently published memoir Am I Black Enough For You? and her interview with ABC radio journalist Carol Duncan.
I respect the right of anyone to disagree with Anita’s priorities and/or to simply not enjoy her books. The world is a diverse and complex place and, as the saying goes, you can’t please all the people, all the time. What I have found offensive in the recent comments is that they have been so personal. They have not been feedback about Anita’s book or her writing in general and they seem to have been written without any attempt to research the work that Anita does with Indigenous cultural groups or her other professional qualifications and activities.
If Anita and I were to meet in person, I am absolutely positive we would find ourselves disagreeing on various issues. That’s okay with me. I love a good debate. I don’t respect Anita because I agree with everything she says and does. I respect her because she stands up for what she believes in.
If you want to know more about Anita, you might find the following links useful:by