Race And Ethnicity Essay

1675 words - 7 pages

Race and EthnicityRace is a group of genetically related people who share certain physical characteristics or a distinct ethnical group characterized by traits that are transmitted through their children (Anderson, 2002). Ethnicity is a social construction that indicates identification with a particular group who share common cultural traits, such as language, religion and traditions (Becker, 2005). These definitions will be portrayed more thoroughly throughout the essay which will cover many points such as ethnocentrism, racism, stereotyping, how race and ethnicity can affect health status, White Australia Policy and what is meant to be Australian.The term 'Australian' should not be used in ways which exclude indigenous or immigrant minorities. To be 'Australian' is to be an Australian citizen, irrespective of the person's ethnic or racial background or country or birth (Nation Master, 2005). This was not the case from the 1890s to the 1950s.In the 1890s an official policy was introduced that excluded all non white people from Australia-this policy was referred to the 'White Australian Policy'. Although it was ended in the 1950s, some elements of this policy survived until the 1970s. This policy was never officially called the 'White Australian Policy', it actually was a term used in political and public debate throughout the period. This policy is an example of hidden discrimination between the whites and non whites (Nation Master 2005). For instance indigenous children were stolen from their parents to breed out a white population.The stolen generation is the population who are half white and half black (halfe castes).Although they were classified as 'stolen', McMurray (2004) portrayed that they were taken away for their own safety, to save them from abuse and to receive better education. In general terms, McMurray stated that they were taken for their own good (McMurray, 2004). The reason behind this stolen generation was due to the fact that the government wanted only black Aboriginals and white people so the stolen generation was stolen so they could breed out into whites (McMurray, 2004). To minimise the damage made to the indigenous families the government introduced 'Sorry day' and 'Reconciliation'.The purpose of Reconciliation is to construct a new and improved relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with the wider community. It is to heal the pain which these people endured in the past and to ensure the national citizenship is shared equally (Reconciliation Australia 2005). It involves symbolic recognition of the honoured place of the first Australians, as well as addressing the disadvantages experienced by Indigenous people in health, employment, education and general opportunity. It is also a way to prevent ethnocentrism (Reconciliation Australia, 2005).Ethnocentrism is seeing ones own culture as the centre and judging other cultures from that point of view, believing that ones culture is superior to...

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