Through different lens: The study of anti racism and racism in new times

Year: 1997

Author: Arber, Ruth

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Racism has been a central construct throughout the formation of post colonial Australia. During the last 20 years a series of legal, political and educational approaches have been adopted to confront this. Events show that these concepts have not fully realised their lofty aspirations, have serious theoretical limitations and most seriously, share many of the same understandings which underpin the racist elements about which they are concerned.

Recent British, American and Australian theorists suggest that anti racism be researched through a different approach informed by post structural, post colonial and feminist literatures. This paper analyses key studies centred within these literatures of racism and anti racism discourse and practice, to understand how these theories could best be used to critically examine various practical, conceptual / theoretical and political approaches to Australian anti racist education. The paper concludes that Australian studies of racism and anti racism studies must broaden the way they understand and analyse the conception, effects and dispersal of racial constructs in contemporary societies. The development of a more systematic and coherent approach to anti racism studies calls for us to gaze through different lens: Culture, public discourse, everyday activities and the formation of us and other in body, time and space.