Whiteness at work

Document Type


Publication details

Nielsen, JM 2013, 'Whiteness at work', Australian Journal of Labour Law, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 300-325.

Peer Reviewed



Despite the long-standing prohibition of race discrimination in the workplace, Aboriginal peoples continue to experience a significant disparity in employment outcomes. This disparity is, at least in part, a by-product of race discrimination in the workplace. Legal scholars are aware that discrimination laws struggle to respond to more subtle forms of discrimination, and are critical that the jurisprudence fails to grasp the dynamic of racial discrimination. Accordingly, this article explores the nature and dynamic of race discrimination against Aboriginal peoples in the mainstream workplace. It does so by drawing on semi-structured interviews with those ‘involved’ in this problem, to present an empirical account of the practice of race discrimination in the mainstream workplace. It argues that the ‘neutral’ praxis and culture of the mainstream workplace is infused with the racial dynamic of whiteness — that is, a way of knowing and being predicated on racial superiority.

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