Breaking the racial silence: putting racial literacy to work in Australia

A new article by Debbie Bargallie, Nilmini Fernando and me has been published in Ethnic and Racial Studies based in research conducted with educators trying to work amid the silencing o trace in the Australian racial-colony and to enhance racial literacy.

Abstract: Race structures the lives of Indigenous peoples and other negatively racialized people in Australia. The language of race permeates institutions, workplaces, and is embedded in everyday life. Racial literacy as pedagogical praxis resists the racial contract that secures whiteness as a structure of possessive power. We explore the state of racial literacy in Australian education, and the obstructions and opportunities for educators to do anti-racism work. To this end, we draw on the preliminary findings from an ongoing research project, Breaking the Racial Silence, and use them to inform a theoretical framework for conceptualizing educators’ racial literacy practices. We bring to the fore effective strategies, practices, and programmes used to interrogate race and racism. Despite the efforts of educators, racial literacy in formal and informal education is oftentimes suppressed and concealed by languages and practices that sustain the practices and pedagogies of whiteness.

Alana Lentin