Feb 27, 2013

Marcia Langton sparks academic spat over charges of ‘racism’

Marcia Langton has been accused of ditching serious debate for name-calling. Crikey finds there is much criticism of her approach among academic peers.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

Indigenous academic Marcia Langton has again accused a prominent rival of “racism”, using an internal university mailing list to sledge a critic of her controversial ABC Boyer Lectures.


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11 thoughts on “Marcia Langton sparks academic spat over charges of ‘racism’

  1. j f

    Not sure whether Boris was being racist but he most certainly has missed the point.
    Essentially Langton makes the point that the patronisation of indigenous Australians through race based welfare only serves to perpetuate the notion that aborigines aren’t afforded the same opportunities as non indigenous Australians because they are aboriginal.

  2. Gavin Moodie

    Great work Mr Crook and thanx for the follow up.

  3. Bill

    I first heard Langton on a Q & A a couple of years ago, and she was giving a run-down of the Australian politic. Generally thought at the time the content was a bit lightweight for an academic. Luckily I did not offer a criticism…
    Surely people can critique academics’ work without being accused of racism.

  4. shepherdmarilyn

    jf, that is total nonsense. The problem is not that they are not afforded the same rights as everyone else when it comes to mining it is because unlike anyone else they are forced to give up their own land to mining companies to get even the most basic of services that the rest of us take for granted.

    Langton is happy it seems for land rights to be spurned if some mining spiv. wants the land and thinks it is OK to be paid by the mining companies to spruik the lies.

    How many people in other parts of the country have their land taken for mining in exchange for a school or hospital that they should have anyway?

  5. Helen Lee

    Two important points of clarification about the the email list discussed in this article: firstly, it is not “an internal university mailing list” and secondly, the debate was not “a closed Australian Anthropological Society debate”. The email list is AASnet and it is an open list. Membership of AASnet is not restricted to members of the Australian Anthropological Society or even to anthropologists, nor does the AAS Executive have any role in moderating the discussion. The opinions expressed are always those of the individuals concerned – not of AAS as an organisation.
    Helen Lee (current President of AAS)

  6. David Hand

    The idea that racism is a serious charge is being undermined by repeated mis-use of the word, mostly by urban elites and academics.

    After a torrid few decades of adjustment across the western world to recognise abuses in the past and to redress them, we get this continual stream of accusations of racism from people about others whose main sin is to express a different view.

    After working so hard to recognise it, we are devaluing it for petty point scoring.

  7. David Coles

    Not to bring this matter to the light. Now that would have been racist.

  8. SBH

    would that be the spectacularly unsuccessful Australian Employment Covenant? The one that never got within a bulls roar of its 50 thousand jobs, changed the definition of ‘jobs’ and fudged that target?

  9. Christopher Nagle

    The notion of ‘racism’ has become so imprecise and used so egregiously as an ideological smear, that it has over time been degraded into a third rate cliche.

    ‘Racism’ has become synonymous with any sort of inter-ethnic criticism. This has the effect of turning its prospective critical objects into ‘sacred sites’ and contributes to a culture of silence and impunity.

    ‘Racism’ has become a way of ideologically crying wolf.

  10. Mr. Sandfly

    Seems like the the Greens and the Left know their days are numbered, so now they are going to attack anyone speaking out – read, the truth – about their schemes that have remote Aboriginal people paying the price for the crimes against nature committed by other parts of Australia more densely populated. These schemes which stop Aboriginal advancement in remote areas, and keep them dependent on welfare.

    Most of these white academics who are “fed up” with being accused of racism don’t think they are being racist. Read, denial.

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