Challenging the Public Denial of Racism for a Deeper Multiculturalism

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Journal Article
Journal of Intercultural Studies, 2011, 32 (6), pp. 587 - 602
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The further development of Australian multiculturalism must squarely address racism, and a primary step must be the acknowledgement of racism. The Challenging Racism Project (2001-2008) data provide a clear picture of the acknowledgement of racism and of Anglo cultural privilege among Australians. Encouragingly, most Australians recognise that racism is a problem in Australian society. A little under half, however, deny that there is Anglo cultural privilege. Perhaps surprisingly, respondents from non-Anglo-Australian backgrounds, including those born in the Middle East and South Asia, were significantly more likely than those from Anglo backgrounds and Australian-born respondents to deny that racial prejudice exists in Australia. Cultural hierarchies of citizenship regulate the acknowledgement of racism, encouraging denial and deflection, and punishing 'complaint' from those more exposed to racism. The broader social pathology identified by this paper is an unevenness in the sense of citizenship across ethnic groups, and addressing this social weakness must be a macro-level ambition for the further development of Australian multiculturalism. © 2011 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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