In his column today Bolt attempts to portray George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin, an African-American youth, dead, as a person who cared for African-Americans because he and his wife had ‘served as mentors to two teenaged children of an African-American woman’. This, infers Bolt, is proof that Zimmerman was not a racist – that plus, according to Bolt, the killing was a ‘black-on-black’ incident (Zimmerman is Hispanic) which somehow proves it wasn’t racially motivated.
Bolt’s comments highlight two things about Bolt. First is his astonishing ignorance about racism in the US and, in particular, the racial tensions that exist between African-Americans and Hispanics; and secondly, that ‘mentoring’ others based on race is often a patronising form of passive racism that can often lead to a more aggressive or even violent form of racism later.
Bolt himself is a classic example of this form of passive racism.
Bolt once told me that in his seventh grade at school his best friend was an Aboriginal fellow student. Since knowing about patronisation often being a passive form of racism, I’ve no reason to doubt this – especially given Bolt’s present devotion to attempting to obliterate indigenous heritage and denial of Aboriginal identity.