Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Link list

Posted: September 27, 2012 by juliodecker in Uncategorized

The vasundharaa tumblr provides a great link list for essential texts regarding whiteness, cultural appropriation and white privilege. Here is the copy and past:

This is a resource post for all the Good White Persons out there. You know, the ones who say things like “It’s not my fault I’m white! Don’t generalize white people!”, or “I’m appreciating your culture! You should be proud!”, or “Why do you hate all white people, look I’m a special snowflake who’s not racist give me an award for meeting the minimum requirements for being a decent human being”.

Well, if you are actually interested in understanding racism and how it ties into cultural appropriation, please read instead of endlessly badgering PoCs on tumblr with your cliched, unoriginal arguments and repeating the same questions over and over.

On White Privilege
aka don’t blame me just because I’m white:

On Reverse Racism
aka you are being racist against white people:

On Cultural Appropriation
aka I’m just appreciating your culture:

Assorted Vials of White Tears and Miscellaneous Antidotes
aka I can’t change that I’m white/not all whites are racist/we are all humans:

Okay. I agree. I’ve been socially conditioned not to notice racism and recognize my privilege. What can I do?

I don’t care about this bullshit; you’re making a big deal out of nothing, go home and delete your blog:


Posted: September 13, 2012 by juliodecker in Uncategorized


11 years after 9/11, members of the American Muslim community comment how their lives and the ways they have been perceived have changed.

Fear of a Black President

Posted: August 29, 2012 by juliodecker in Uncategorized

In case anyone has not seen it yet, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an excellent analysis on the state of race during the first Obama administration for the Washington Post. His blog is worth reading, too, one of the few heavily moderated sites where the comments contribute to the discussion. Recently, he did an AMA on Reddit, explaining his personal motivation.


Posted: April 19, 2012 by Madeline-Sophie (Maddy) Abbas in Uncategorized

Encountering Racism Down Under:

Antipodean perspectives on the construction of tolerance and white sovereignty




The University of Leeds


The University of Southampton


The University of Cape Town


The University of Sydney



1. Principal Reading:[1]

Ghassan Hage (1998) ‘Good White Nationalists: The Tolerant Society as a White Fantasy’, in White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society, Sydney: Pluto Press, pp. 78-116.

Aileen Moreton-Robinson and Fiona Nicoll (2006) ‘We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches: Protesting cultures of white possession’, Journal of Australian Studies 89: 149-186. 



2. Synopses

Hage: ‘Good White Nationalists’

~ Rebecca Williamson


Hage’s chapter critically discusses the discourse of tolerance in Australian society as it relates to the history of immigration, multiculturalism and the integration of the ‘Other’ into the national imaginary. Hage’s main aim is to deconstruct the power relations implicit in the discourse of tolerance. He argues that this discourse works to identify the ‘good white nationalist’ – a normative notion of the accepting, non-racist citizen – in opposition to the ‘evil white nationalist’ who is intolerant and racist; a separation that he argues is ideological and strategic. He understands tolerance as a capacity, and describes it as an active practice that is equally constituted by a capacity to not tolerate, thus, tolerance and intolerance coexist. Only a certain segment of society (i.e. white nationalists) can claim this capacity which is based on a sense of ownership over an imagined national space – a kind of spatialised power that involves the active positioning of the ‘other’ within the national imaginary; an act he equates to a form of symbolic violence. Rather than being opposites, ‘evil’ and ‘good’ white nationalists represent different thresholds along a continuum of tolerance. Hage argues that the discourse of tolerance works to mask the fact that practices of exclusion and inclusion are both based on an equal claim to the right to manage national space. Thus, the discourse of tolerance acts as a form of ‘tolerant racism’, which disempowers and objectifies ‘others’ (migrants, asylum seekers, etc.), while also mystifying the very practices and discourses through which they are victimized.


Moreton-Robinson & Nicoll: ‘We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches’

~ Rebecca O’Brien


Moreton-Robinson and Nicoll’s (2006) article presents the concept of ‘patriarchal white sovereignty’ as the underlying regime of power that ensures that white, particularly male members of the Australian nation retain more rights to enter, exist and act within public spaces than their non-white counterparts. Patriarchal white sovereignty is presented as an ideological tool utilized primarily to reproduce, confirm and cement whiteness and masculinity as the central keys to ownership of Australia as a nation. It is not logic enacted through explicit legal or social inequality, but is instead based upon the denial of the systemic privileges afforded to white people through historically established legal discrimination.  According to Moreton-Robinson & Nicoll (2006:150) this ensures that even though all citizens may have equal rights under the law, ‘not all citizens have the resources, capacities and opportunities to exercise them equally’. In accordance with Hage (1998), Moreton-Robinson & Nicoll (2006) suggest that patriarchal white sovereignty extends beyond the right to occupy a physical space, but also to exercise tolerance of the ‘other’ as well as define the limits at which this tolerance may be revoked. Two case studies are presented as examples of points at which patriarchal white sovereignty has explicitly exposed itself in response to perceived transgressions of ‘white behavioural norms and morality’; the 2006 ‘violent attacks’ at Cronulla Beach and a heritage protection claim by Indigenous peoples in Victoria over land ‘owned’ by a white male. Through these cases, Moreton-Robinson & Nicoll highlight the assumption of the right to ownership imbued within patriarchal white sovereignty, the ways through which the uncooperative ‘Other’ is presented and excluded from the umbrella of ‘Australian’ and the ever-present threat of violence that is most often underlying, however at times (such as at Cronulla in 2006) may become manifest in order to remind the racialized ‘Other’ of the repercussions of pushing the limits of tolerance outlined by the white, Australian ‘local’.


3. Food for Thought


Rebecca and Rebecca have raised some (thought-provoking) questions to help get the conversation going. Please feel free to engage with any of these or to offer your own interpretation of the two readings and their relevance (or not) to your own research and/or experience.


  • Spatial metaphors have particular prominence in the Australian context, where the national borders are (relatively) clearly defined and as reflected in the symbolic importance of the beach. How are nationalist spatial imaginaries/borders deployed in other contexts (beyond the US) to reinforce racial dominance?


  • In Australia, racist commentaries have been justified as a protest against ‘political correctness’ (i.e. the discourse of tolerance) that purportedly blocks ‘freedom of speech’ such that the either/or logic seems to have short-circuited any alternative spaces for constructive or critical dialogue. Has this been invoked in other contexts and are there any alternatives that move beyond the tolerator/tolerated binary?


  • Hage has been criticized for essentialising the categories of ‘white’ and ‘non-white’ Australians, and undermining genuine attempts to support migrant integration and ethnic diversity by the white middle-class. Does this criticism have validity?


  • Moreton-Robinson & Nicoll’s work has been developed out of, and applied largely to, the Australian context. Is there a place for analyses utilising patriarchal white sovereignty in other contexts?


  • Is the concept of patriarchal white sovereignty applicable in postcolonial societies within which the Indigenous population is numerically larger than the colonial or settler population?


  • Moreton-Robinson’s body of work demonstrates the existence and repercussions of patriarchal white sovereignty, but does little to develop responses through which it may be challenged. How might we begin to develop a response to these issues?


  • To what extent can the power of the media be challenged in the face of its repetition of representations of otherness based on exclusionary discourses of white possession?


  • The way in which discourses of tolerance work to mask power relations are a feature of both articles. How are these articulated in other contexts/countries? (e.g. does the discourse of race relations in the UK operate in the same way?)



  1. 4.     Network and Institutional Contacts


Say Burgin




Maddy Abbas




Daria Tkacz




Lwando Scott


Cape Town


Tristan Enright






[1] N.B. Reading material available electronically from institutional convenors.