Truisms Over the Years

The Bone Is Pointed by Arthur W. UpfieldIn the first half of the twentieth century Arthur W. Upfield wrote an Australian mystery series featuring Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. Bony is a half Aborigine with dark skin and bright blue eyes.

I recently started one of the Bony novels that was published in 1947, The Bone Is Pointed. Bony is talking to one of the large ranch owners, a white man in his 70s. The man is startled when he meets Bony and starts interrogating him. Bony’s response:

“My career as a detective, following my graduation from the university at Brisbane, would take a long time to describe in detail. In this country colour is no bar to a keen man’s progress providing that he has twice the abilities of his rivals.

We still hear that saying kicked around today, 70 years later, for most minorities including color and sex. I can only hope someday the statement won’t be true any more.