While it is very heartening that LARISSA Behrendt has offered an apology to Bess Price for the foul aspersions she tweeted the other day it is rather disappointing that she has chosen to do so privately via email rather than publicly and/or in person.
But in an email to Ms Price yesterday, she wrote: “Dear Ms Price, I very much regret that a recent tweet of mine has caused you deep offence. I unreservedly offer you a heartfelt apology for that and hope you can accept it. Sincerely, Larissa.”
In a statement to The Australian, Professor Behrendt repeated her regret that the tweet had caused offence to Ms Price.
“I take full responsibility for my carelessness in the way I expressed myself and I apologise to Ms Price unreservedly,” she said. “I am in the process of making contact with her to apologise to her personally.”
Ms Price said last night she did not accept the apology as it stood.
“I want her to apologise to me in public, not just via email,” she told The Australian.
“I don’t think it’s good enough. I’ll accept her apology when she says it in public.”
Respected indigenous academic Marcia Langton writes in The Australian today that she has “never witnessed such extreme disrespect shown by a younger Aboriginal woman for an older Aboriginal woman in my life, except where the perpetrator was severely intoxicated on drugs or alcohol”. She says Professor Behrendt’s “foul” tweet “is an exemplar of the wide cultural, moral and increasingly political rift between urban, left-wing, activist Aboriginal women and the bush women, who witness the horrors of life in their communities, much of which is arrogantly denied by the former”.
“The Twitter messages reveal a repulsive hatred of everything that Bess stands for: the rights of Aboriginal women in remote communities to be protected from sexual abuse and violence and to be supported to take up opportunities for themselves and their children,” she writes.
A public pronouncement (yes, even one made via Twitter) that is sincerely regretted can really only be properly addressed by a very public apology that is at least equally prominent to the utterance that originally caused offence. That LARISSA Behrendt seems not to realise this does n0t say very much about her social graces or her personal integrity. It is good to see that so many prominent indigenous voices being raised to admonish Behrendt as the Oz piece I quote from today demonstrates. We are constantly told that respect for the elders is a central part of indigenous culture and I can understand why that is such an important cornerstone of any society yet for the minions of the left respect is something of no consequence however this very sorry example of gross disrespect may provide a lesson to all that an ad hominem attack upon ideas that you don’t like not only fails to make your case, it risks the wrath of your peers and may even totally undermine your standing in the community.