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The Construction Of Australian Identities Essay

1174 words - 5 pages

The national identity of Australians has been one of the controversial issues among the region. Fair go, mateship, equalitarianism, multiculturalism are some commonly accepted national identities among Australians. Nonetheless, since the British’s in1788, the Anglo-Saxon heritage had inevitably led to the developing of “Britishness” and “whiteness” as one of the core national identity of Australians. This essay will focus on how the Australian national identities of “whiteness” and other identities have been constructed by silencing and exploiting the ‘Other’ non-white histories as on political, economic and cultural aspects. Examples would be given as evidence to support the standpoint of this essay.

“Whiteness” is one of the core and crucial national identity of Australians. The construction of “whiteness” as an identity is apparently linked to Australian’s colonial history. Robinson (2004) suggested that “Whiteness is not a basic categorical object and being socially constructed. Instead the concept 'white' denotes nothing more than skin colour. It is the Indigenous 'other' who is the focus of racialisation and its effects.” (ppg 145) His statement implies that Aboriginals are the major community being silenced and discriminated in the Australian society. There is a prevailing belief among Australians that “White represents the norm, the natural order of things, or self while non- White represents the Other who may threaten, degrade, pollute or contaminate the White race” (Kamp, 2008,ppg.413). Those who are considered as “white” are mainly determined by sharing common interests and culture with the British colonizers.

The British invasion in Australia in 1788 has already symbolized a starting of non-white histories being silenced and exploited. Throughout the construction of Australian’s national identities, there has been events and issues implicating that non-white histories has been silenced, and the embedded idea of white supremacy and non-whites inferiority.

In the early colonial era, Aboriginals who have been occupying the land of the region since 60.000 years before have suffered from unequal actions of the British colonizers. These original inhabitants of Australia appeared not only as “Other” in the colonizers eyes, but they were even “categorized along with the flora and fauna” (Waitt, 2000, ppg 175). Such disrespectful and insulting act of lowering the status of Aboriginals as objects rather than human beings implicates the embedded white supremacy in the British colonizers’ minds.

As the colonizers started settling on the land and establishing their lives in Australia, construction of national identities appeared to be an important issue. Approaches adopted by the colonizers in constructing identities varied, but silencing the non-whites voices and cultures has been premised in order to contribute on universal identities shared by Australians. In addition, Aboriginals had been forced to be silent on different...

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