ANDREW Bolt is justifiably upset today at being verballed by Peter Gebhardt in an opinion article published in the Fairfax press. The column cites the former judge's protege, Ryen Diggle, as lamenting, on the strength of an annoying but innocuous conversation with a random idiot, that "people only see me as an Aboriginal." While his account of that waiting-room encounter speaks of his interlocutor's garrulousness, there seems to have been nothing pejorative about it. Yet Dr Diggle finds being identified as "an Aboriginal with whatever negative connotations that may bring in their minds" is hurtful and racist and, well, you name a grievance and the Indigenous intern can probably be counted upon to find it amongst the various chips piled up on both shoulders.
Well here is the funny thing: Dr Diggle has done quite nicely out of being seen as Indigenous, with Gebhardt swearing he is "very Aboriginal in his physiognomy". Indeed, had he been a member of some other oppressed minority, he might not have made it into the school of medicine at Melbourne University, where entry requirements are very tough. The 2013 ATAR score for biomed is 98.8 and it would not have been that much different in 2006, when Diggle graduated from Darwin High School. Here are the Territory's top 20 young scholars from that year, with several of his classmates figuring prominently. We can assume Diggle's score was less than 92, the lowest of 2006's listed best.
He is mentioned in the NT Education Department's end-of -year summary, but only as his school's leading Indigenous student (one hopes he would not take offence at "only").
Now here is the thing: If his Darwin HS classmate Winnie Chen, who scored a remarkable 100, had been out of sorts at one or several exams, would the Parkville Asylum have slipped her into that year's intake under, say, a Menstrual Issues Rectification Scheme or a Bad Case Of The Flu clause? The answer is probably no, which all means that Diggle, for all his bristling at "the negative" of being seen as Aboriginal, is quite happy to be regarded in no other light when there is an advantage to be seized.