Dr Aileen Moreton-Robinson
Convenor, Indigenous Studies, School of Humanities, Griffith
A Possessive Investment in Patriarchal Whiteness: Nullifying
Whiteness in its dominant contemporary form in Australian society
is Anglocised, institutionalised and culturally based. Australian
culture is less White than it used to be, but Anglocised Whiteness
forms the centre where white men established institutions encouraging
a possessive investment in whiteness (Moreton-Robinson 1998:11).
Colonial and subsequent governments legitimated the appropriation
of Indigenous lands, racialised incarceration and enslavement
and limited naturalised citizenship to white immigrants (Lipsitz
1998). While blackness was congruent with Indigenous subjugation
and subordination, patriarchal whiteness was perceived as being
synonymous with freedom and citizenship.
This paper argues that patriarchal whiteness is imbued with
power. It confers dominance and a property right that has consequences
for the distribution of wealth, status and opportunity in Australia
for Indigenous people. This will be demonstrated through an analysis
of the discourse about native title with reference to the Mabo
and Wik decisions, amendments to the Native Title Act (1993)
and recent decisions made by the United Nations Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Dr Aileen Moreton-Robinson is a Geonpul woman from Quandamooka
(Moreton Bay). She has been involved in the struggle for Indigenous
rights at local, state and national levels, and has worked for
a number of Indigenous organisations. She is currently convenor
of Indigenous Studies at Griffith University.
30 min paper