Australia: ‘Angry white male’ not abusive, says Human Rights Commission

Australia: ‘Angry white male’ not abusive, says Human Rights Commission, by Hedley Thomas.

The Human Rights Commission has given short shrift to a section 18C complaint by Senator David Leyonhjelm after he was described by a journalist as an “angry white male” with “the empathy of a ­Besser block”.

Senator Leyonhjelm, who has said he was not offended by Fairfax Media political reporter Mark Kenny’s August 9 article, filed the complaint to highlight what he ­regards as the absurdity of a law that makes it unlawful to offend or cause hurt feelings.

His complaint stated that as he had been referred to as gormless, a rank apologist for the resentment industry, boorish, supercilious, a hate-speech apologist, wacky, a self-promoting misanthrope and a practitioner of infantile reasoning, with these characteristics linked to him being an “angry white male”, Kenny had breached section 18C.

Senator Leyonhjelm complained that the article was “reasonably likely” to offend or insult some white males. …

In a detailed reply to the commission, Senator Leyonhjelm urged it to continue investigating and asked whether it would be inclined to dismiss the complaint if the article were about “angry black female certitude”.

He said the commission was misinterpreting 18C “in an effort to avoid my case becoming a test as to whether the law means what it says, and whether it seeks to ­prevent racist speech against white people as well as those who have historically been its victims”.

“The legislation outlaws insulting and offending on the basis of colour, not blackness. I am not aware of evidence suggesting that white people and black people, on average, have different susceptibilities to insults and offence.”

How unsatisfactory that we need a government body to produce a ruling on whether abusing someone as an “angry white male” contradicts some government prohibition on speech. And even more absurd that this speech is ok, while similar epitaphs directed at those other than white males are unlawful. Anti-freedom and anti-white.