Title

'There's always an easy out': how 'innocence' and 'probability' whitewash race discrimination

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Nielsen, J 2007, ''There's always an easy out': how 'innocence' and 'probability' whitewash race discrimination', Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1-15.

Published version available from:

http://www.acrawsa.org.au/ejournal/?id=23

Abstract

This paper analyses the jurisprudence in certain Australian discrimination cases to demonstrate how anti-discrimination laws function discursively to both create and reproduce whiteness through defining how and why race discrimination occurs. It demonstrates that whiteness is not only an embodied practice within mainstream workplaces, but is also embedded in its terrain as a racist ideology that supports the privileged condition of whiteness accorded by colonialism to whites. The operation of whiteness at work is then endorsed by the anti-discrimination jurisprudence because it promotes white interests and uses white standards, attitudes and behaviours to measure what is and is not legitimate. In particular, the jurisprudence constructs the knowledge that race discrimination is an inherently ‘aberrant’, and thus unlikely, behaviour that is probably not something that ‘nice’ white people do. Ultimately, these laws function to produce and reproduce the whiteness that protects our society’s inequitable distribution of privilege, as yet another legal fiction that perpetuates the violence inherent in Aboriginal peoples’ relationships to the colonial present (Watson 1997, 1998 & 2005).