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Widening the gap: White ignorance, race relations and the consequences for Aboriginal people in Australia

Taylor, PS and Habibis, D ORCID: 0000-0001-5491-2089 2020 , 'Widening the gap: White ignorance, race relations and the consequences for Aboriginal people in Australia' , Australian Journal of Social Issues , pp. 1-18 , doi: 10.1002/ajs4.106.

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White ignorance has a critical impact on race relations and is implicated in the maintenance of Aboriginal disadvantage. Addressing this ignorance is a largely overlooked capacity‐building opportunity within Australia's non‐Aboriginal population. It warrants consideration as a key component of strategies targeting Aboriginal disadvantage. Despite the established links between race relations and Aboriginal well‐being, Aboriginal perspectives on non‐Aboriginal people rarely feature in public discourse on “Aboriginal problems.” This paper draws on data from 180 in‐depth interviews with 44 Aboriginal people in Darwin on the topic of White Australian people, culture and race relations. It reports Aboriginal perceptions of White Australian ignorance across areas of great symbolic and practical significance to Aboriginal people's lives. Their experience is that most White Australians are ignorant of the history of colonisation and the complexities of its aftermath. They are ignorant of Aboriginal law, cultures and languages, and of the extent of their own ignorance. The call to address White ignorance subverts assumptions about whose ignorance and capacity must be dealt with in order to progress national goals of reconciliation, address Aboriginal disadvantage and achieve justice and equality for Aboriginal people.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Taylor, PS and Habibis, D
Keywords: Indigenous, race relations, Whiteness studies, White ignorance
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Social Issues
Publisher: Australian Council Social Service Inc
ISSN: 0157-6321
DOI / ID Number: 10.1002/ajs4.106
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 2020 Australian Social Policy Association

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