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Am I Black Enough For You?
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Am I Black Enough For You?

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  330 ratings  ·  79 reviews
I'm Aboriginal. I'm just not the Aboriginal person a lot of people want or expect me to be.

What does it mean to be Aboriginal? Why is Australia so obsessed with notions of identity? Anita Heiss, successful author and passionate campaigner for Aboriginal literacy, was born a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, but was raised in the suburbs of Sydney a
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Paperback, 346 pages
Published April 2nd 2012 by Random House Books Australia (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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PattyMacDotComma
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Aboriginal current affairs
4★
“I don’t tell time by using the sun; rather, I tell time by Dolce and Gabbana, a gift from my late father on the first Christmas after his passing.”


This is a warm, easy-to-read book by a woman who, in spite of not needing to, seems still to be trying to justify her achievements. She earned her PhD in 2001, has written books, has travelled, and has, oh yes, maintained a close, loving relationship with her family, both Aboriginal and Austrian. Her story is mostly about her family, her growing up
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S.K. Munt
I would hardly label myself as a spokesperson for the Aboriginal community of Australia, and yet last year, when I had the privilege of attending one of Dr Heiss's public speaking events, I found myself riveted- and changed- within two minutes of hearing her speak, which led me to this book. Every second sentence that comes out of her mouth is either witty or profound and she deserves to be recognised for those attributes, not for the scandal generated by people who would rather oppress progress ...more
Deborah Biancotti
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm hoping this book makes it into every library in the country. From the title I was expecting a kinda kick to the pants & heck, I'd gotten sick enough of the racism of my upbringing & the privilege of my (white) life that I figured I might just deserve it. But Heiss disarmed me on the very first page. She made the political personal, she showed the effects of racist comments (by Andrew Bolt & followers) on her family & particularly her mother. And she allowed this book to be the gentle memoir ...more
Amanda Jane
As Indigenous Australian, I could completely relate to this book. It gives a wonderfully honest insight into not just being Indigenous person but also a professional woman in modern day Australia.
I would like it to be noted that in no way is this book about bashing the white man or the colonisation of Australia. It is about learning how to move forward as a nation with understanding one and another.
Anita is wise beyond her years and she has helped me as an Indigenous woman see many topics from a
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Jennifer (JC-S)
‘What does it mean to be Aboriginal?’

I’ve had a copy of this book sitting on my desk for a while. A comment on my review of another book by a fellow reviewer prompted me to read it. Thank you, Lisa.

Now I have read it, I’m annoyed with myself for not reading it sooner. Anita Heiss was one of nine Aboriginal people who sued Andrew Bolt. I was vaguely aware of the legal case over two articles he published in 2009 entitled ‘It's so hip to be black’ and ‘White fellas in the black’ but I hadn’t really
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Sara
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In Am I Black Enough for You, Anita Heiss directly tackles the belittling idea that there is only one identity to be found within a specific cultural or ethnic background. With her trademark humour and razor-sharp insight, Anita gracefully explores her identity as an Aboriginal woman, and the intersecting lines of sameness and difference to the people around her. Through her own story, Anita raises numerous questions great and small as to how we all respond to this idea of ‘otherness’, and makes ...more
Kevin Klehr
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
For those not in Australia who don't know why this book has this title, it's in response to an opinion piece published in the press. Read here to get the background - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media...

This thought provoking and often light hearted read is not an attack on the columnist who was in breach of Australia's anti discrimination laws. In fact, very little is written about the court case. Instead it addresses the notion of identity and what it means to be the individual known as An
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Rob
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, politics
I read this book because I was very interested in the case where Andrew Bolt was sued for racial vilification in claiming that Anita Heiss and a number of other Aboriginal people were accused of being 'really white', 'professional Aborigines' and 'white Aborigines' As an average progressive white Australian I found his article odious in the extreme. Heiss and the others won the case.
I had hardly heard of Anita Heiss until the storm of controversy over this case. I heard her on the radio and thou
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Thoraiya
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Everyone should read this. That is all :)
Robyn
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I really, really enjoyed this book. I learnt a lot, which is the very reason the author wrote it in the first place - to teach, to share knowledge. I found the level of detail sometimes detracted from the imagery BUT I believe I know precisely why that level of detail was there, for I have received similar comments myself. When we write to set the record straight or to detail controversial topics we include the detail to make damn sure people are aware of the facts and those facts are harder for ...more
Lisa
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was going to start this review with some ruminations about what makes people self-righteous or how I don’t understand how anyone could enjoy making a career out of being a spiteful shock-jock; I had also thought to share my puzzlement about why media proprietors would want to be associated with such people and programs. But I’ve decided not to. The catalyst for Am I Black Enough For You? by Dr Anita Heiss may well have had been some unpleasant redneck media commentary, but I don’t want the foc ...more
Calzean
There is a lot to like in this set of memoirs. Anita Heiss gives the reader a great example of how Aborigines view themselves and the rest of the people who call Australia home (especially the Anglo-Australian male).
Her motivation for writing was in response to the now notorious article "It's so hip to be black" and the subsequent court case. Some of the best writing was in the chapters devoted to this issue.
The rest of the book is a series of chapters of Heiss's family and life so far. Some of
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Kerrie Paterson
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If an autobiography makes you feel like you've walked in the shoes of the writer for a little while, and teaches you something about yourself and the history of your country, that counts as a win in my book.
In her memoir, Am I Black Enough for you?, Anita Heiss explores what it's like to be an urban Aboriginal - growing up in the suburbs of Sydney with an Aboriginal mum and an Austrian dad. She talks about her work, her activism and her life as a non-camping, Black Australian woman who loves buy
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Louisa Reid
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women
For non-Aboriginals, Anita Heiss adds a new dimension to the understanding of just what "Aboriginal" means to those who identify as such. As a Kiwi, I saw many of the same kinds of criticism (not black enough) levelled against those who identified as Maori if they didn't "look" Maori. The simple fact is, in a multi-cultural and multi-dimensional country, people of mixed race are the norm, and it is - and should be - their prerogative as to how they identify. The detractors, who intimate that ide ...more
Bri
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was really drawn to this book because my daughter is also a ‘fair skinned’ Aboriginal person and also because I despise journalist Andrew Bolt and I was interested to read of Heiss’s experience in taking him to court for racial discrimination. I was disappointed on this front because Am I Black Enough for You? doesn’t talk much about the court case at all. Heiss talks about her personal history and that of her family, as well as her more immediate history but she barely mentions the court case ...more
Michelle
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, e-books
This memoir covers both Heiss' experience as a "concrete Koori" living in Sydney, her life while maintaining a focus on her reaction to Andrew Bolt's attack on her identity and racial background and the subsequent legal proceedings.

The identity issues associated with being an urban Indigenous dweller are unpacked and explored with a relatable tone that is both appealing and educating. For me, the best part of this book is that it is easily read, there are some brilliant discussion points and as
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Theresa
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
An accessible book about REALLY important issues. Especially given current discussions about free speech and 18c, this should be required reading. It certainly will be, at least parts of it, for my own students. Heiss discusses complex issues like identity, place, structure/agency, and racism in a way that makes it feel as if you're sitting at a cafe chatting to her. I don't agree 100% with her, but her overall message is bang on.
Beth_Adele
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really need time to digest this one. Needless to say, this book shall hence forth be known as the book that changed/inspired and moved me in a place so deep I have yet to find the words to describe it and I hope to someday soon write the review that does it justice.
Michelle
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Courageous, funny, openly honest. This memoir engaged me from the first word - I read it in three days!
Lisa Walker
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved Anita's story about growing up as a 'concrete koori'. She rises above mean-spirited people with grace, humour and a lot of style. A feisty role model for all women.
Samantha Kukuljan
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandy O'sullivan
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Perfectly articulated and incredibly touching life story that informs and edifies!

The backdrop of the memoir is the very public racial discrimination trial she participated in. Held in Melbourne a few years ago, the trial focused on a journalist who challenged a number of public figures on their Indigenous identities and motives. I won't give away the outcome of the trial which brought findings celebrated across the country (and probably some commiserations). It's treated very sensitively here,
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Ross Hamilton
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you read something that makes you think. Or laugh. Or feel absurdly pleased with things. Or maybe ashamed. Am I Black Enough For You? covered all those bases with me.

I find it a joy to read something that is so easy to read. I don’t mean simple or dumbed down. I mean well written in a conversational style as if you were sitting down having a yarn with the author over a cuppa. And that is precisely what I found Am I Black Enough For You? A great part of the charm was the wit, wry humour
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Newtown Review of Books
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Anita Heiss claims the right to be herself.

One of the fundamentals about books is how they allow us to see through another’s eyes. In this part memoir, part polemic, part primer on Indigenous Australia, Anita Heiss gives a sharp, funny, moving account of what it’s like to be an educated, urban Aboriginal woman with an Austrian father, and the freight of expectations that come with that.

The book’s genesis lies in the court case that Heiss and eight others brought against News Ltd columnist and b
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Natasha (jouljet)
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
An important read for all Australians, to work on our understanding of Australia's First People, the inherent racism that taints our nation, and the reality of Indigenous Australia's gap experience.
The distinction of First People, rather then Indigenous and Aboriginal - the importance of Welcome to Country - the sharing of connection to Nation and people - the challenge of stereotyping and living as a modern Black woman in Australia: all such powerful insights.
The powerful reminder of the lack o
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Janet Temby
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
A memoir book written by a writer and more enjoyable for this very reason. After learning about white privilege versus aboriginal inequity, it was interesting to hear a different perspective, i.e. Anita's aboriginal AND privileged upbringing. A very enjoyable read. It was an easy yet thought provoking read.
Helen
Loved the first quarter of the book but found it started to lose momentum. Nevertheless this is a valuable read on what it means to be Aboriginal, about the harsh and ignorant judgements made by others, and the need for all Australians to recognise, learn about and take pride in our Aboriginal history.
Olwen
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Well worth reading. Confronting but also enlightening. I actually almost abandoned the book by page 160, the haranguing became so intense. But after an interlude with a much lighter book I returned, and actually enjoyed the last half of the book.
Crystal
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Interesting memoir that takes us into the life of "an urban, beachside Blackfella, a concrete Koori with Westfield Dreaming". A world away from the typical documentary, media focuses, Anita reveals her life to better our understanding of dynamic and diverse first people's of the land.
Brindi Michele
I was bored out of my mind. I didn't find her writing witty or entertaining, mostly annoying. if I didn't need it for a reading challenge, I never would have picked it up.
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Read Women: Australia: Am I Black Enough For You?, Anita Heiss 12 46 Nov 10, 2018 07:03PM  

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Professor Anita Heiss – bio

Anita is a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, and is one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors, publishing across genres, including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction and children’s novels.

Her adult fiction includes Not Meeting Mr Right, Avoiding Mr Right, Manhattan Dreaming, Paris Dreaming and Tiddas. Her most
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