Friday, June 30, 2006

Browbeating Bolt

Andrew Bolt sets up Professor Robert Manne, then Browbeats him down:

Bolt: You are the nation's foremost scholar, allegedly, on the "stolen generations". You have said more than anyone else. In fact, you got a $50,000 grant from the taxpayers to write about the "stolen generations" . . . After years and years of research and grants, of that 25,000 ("stolen" children), I won't ask you to name 25,000, I won't ask you to name 2000, I won't ask you to name 1000. I won't ask you to name 100 kids that were genuinely stolen for racist reasons or even 25. I'll just ask you, can you name just 10? Just 10?

Manne: I can send you material, I can send you material, Andrew, if you're interested.

Bolt: Name them. Just name them.

Manne: Just listen for a sec. You never listen. The policy started in the late 1890s, a man called Walter Roth in north Queensland. I have the names of, I would say, 200 children that he took . . .

Bolt: But can you name for me now 10 names.

Manne: I don't have the names in front of me because they're names -- usually they're names given by the colonial authorities . . .

Let me sum up. The leading propagandist of the "stolen generations" still cannot name even 10 of the 25,000 Aboriginal children who were allegedly stolen for racist reasons. The best he can do is promise to send me a list he's now found of children allegedly taken by one man more than a century ago.

….Ask yourself: If the greatest expert in the "stolen generations" still cannot name even 10 truly stolen children after years of looking, what must we conclude about this myth?

Bolt doesn't let him get a word in by continually asserting a pointless question, one that at best, only serves to illustrate Manne's poor memory. So from that we can't conclude anything at all about the stolen generation, one way or the other. Though I tend to suspect, like everything, it's not black and white. Of course, an unfortunate consequence, thanks to overzealous "do-gooding", and the fear of being branded a racist child thief if one removes an aboriginal child for their own wellbeing, we have rampant abuse going on, essentially unchecked, in aboriginal communities.

Update: Manne's response to Bolt's column.
(Via reader Ben)

Tagged - .