Getting ‘post racial’ in the ‘Australian’ state: what remains overlooked in the premise ‘getting beyond racism’?

Fiona McAllan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The election of President Barack Obama in the United States stimulated debate on ‘postracialism’, yet, as many argue, and critical race theory attests (Delgado 1995; Moreton-Robinson 2004), racism is far from being defeated. The premise that racial difference has less purchase in an increasingly multicultured paradigm risks a disengagement with the racist mechanisms fundamental to white hegemonies. These mechanisms remain un-interrogated in public and political discourse, while systemic and institutionalised racism continues. In the ‘Australian’1 situation, unresolved questions of sovereignty and redress for Aboriginal populations maintains a continuing settler colonialism. Measures such as the National Curriculum and Aboriginal histories that appear to be multiculturally inclusive are overtly contradictory when considering the racial oppressions that Aboriginal peoples remain subject to. A dominant Anglo-culture in ‘Australia’ has historically controlled mainstream institutions and culture. This paper draws attention to how the privileging and dominance of settler culture remains embedded in institutions and social practices. The paper first explores the hegemony of whiteness in ‘Australia’ and continued colonialism regarding Aboriginal peoples, before moving on to interrogate two strategic areas, education and recorded history, where racial oppressions are not only continued, but where the maintenance of white domination can become further obfuscated through notions of ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusiveness’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalCritical race and whiteness studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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