Anita Heiss was born to an Austrian father and Aboriginal mother, and yet has always considered herself to be “Wiradjuri” (an Aboriginal tribe originating in Southern New South Wales, around Wagga Wagga). However, she has often been faced with torment and questioning of her background, with people claiming that she is not “black enough.” One such critic was Andrew Bolt, who in 2009 wrote an article claiming Heiss was using her Aboriginal background to gain notoriety. Heiss went on to challenge Bolt in court, claiming he had breached the Racial Discrimination Act (Bolt was found guilty).
“Am I Black Enough For You” is a deeply personal memoir which deals with questions of race, family, belonging, and identity.
I found the memoir to be absolutely fascinating and extremely hard to put down. Heiss’ stories of growing up and claiming her identity were inspirational, and her writing style was absolutely gripping.
Heiss challenges the stereotypes many white Australians have about Aboriginals, and sets out to show that your identity is what you decide it to be, and nobody can tell you otherwise.
I not only enjoyed reading Heiss’ memoir, but I found it to be very educational. I had never thought of myself as ignorant, but after finishing the memoir I realized there was so much I didn’t understand about modern Aboriginality and their ways of life.
“Am I Black Enough For You?” is a fascinating read that I wholeheartedly recommend to all Aussies.
Available now: Random House RRP$34.95