Witnessing Anti-White ‘Racism’: White Victimhood and ‘Reverse Racism’ in Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Intercultural Studies, 2018, 39 (3), pp. 339 - 358
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. In a national survey of witnessing racism, ten per cent of respondents reported an event where they perceived a white Australian had been the target of racism. We discuss the social and political context in which claims of anti-white ‘racism’ have come to the fore. The paper introduces three analytical entry points from which to approach the problem of anti-white ‘racism’: an individual analysis, an analysis of power and its effects, and a historical and structural analysis. These entry points cascade into each other, revealing both divergence in how these reported experiences might be understood and the tensions between different ways of approaching the analytical problem of claims of anti-white ‘racism’. We explore the characteristics of those who report witnessing anti-white ‘racism’ and examine the contexts within which anti-white ‘racism’ is perceived to have occurred. The racialised incidents reported are analysed in their specificities; we attend to the individuals involved and their social positioning, the historical context and how the event relates to structures and histories of domination. The paper highlights the asymmetry of claims to race based victimhood, emphasising the differences between anti-white ‘racism’ and other experiences of racism.
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