Review of Black Words, White Page: Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 by Adam Shoemaker
A white critic of black subjects is in a difficult position when confronted with Mudrooroo Narogin's (Colin Johnson's) view that 'only Aborigines can really write about Aborigines', or Gary Foley's uncompromising statement that 'I don't feel that any of you (whites) could write about racism any more than I could write about sexism' (276). Shoemaker rightly takes Narogin's point into account: Aboriginal identity has been examined too often by whites who have myopically and persistently presented Aborigines as 'indigenous symbols' rather than people. It is strangely enough not until the conclusion, however, that Shoemaker takes issue with Foley on the grounds that absence of cross-cultural communication would indeed be detrimental to the future of race relations in Australia. Shoemaker's arguments are sound.
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