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Power Plagiarism

One of my many jobs is supervising maths homework. At the top of each exercise sheet is the command to ‘Show all working out’. I was thinking about this when reflecting about the common failure within academia to show the traces of our work, the lines that connect us to…

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Researcher of the Year 2020

I was touched to have been awarded the School of Humanities and Communication Arts Researcher of the Year award 2020 at my institution, Western Sydney University. The prize was awarded for the paper, ‘Looking As White: anti-racism apps, appearance and racialized embodiment’, published in the journal Identities, and soon in…

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Understanding Race 2019

Last year, the course I run at Western Sydney University as part of the Masters of Research degree, ‘Understanding Race’, was well received among a wide range of people because I posted the readings and the blogposts I wrote weekly online. This year, I am running it again starting tomorrow, Thursday 25…

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White supremacy, white innocence and inequality in Australia

I gave this talk a year ago, just after so-called ‘Harmony Day’. Thinking about white supremacy and white crisis’today so I thought I’d post it here in case of it’s of any use. My 8-year old daughter was getting ready for ‘Harmony Day’ the other day, laying out her Indian…

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Racism, look, it’s over there

Last week Jeff Sparrow was doing the rounds promoting his new book, Trigger Warnings: political correctness and the rise of the right. I used it as an example in the seminar I gave at the University of Amsterdam, on ‘Misplaced Identity’, organized by Sarah Bracke and Paul Mepschen to make my basic point that talking about identity politics as a distraction from antiracism is a distraction from antiracism. Then I came across this post I had in my drafts folder about Sparrow’s writings from 2016 which I never published. I guess his book is a culmination of those articles, so maybe this is a useful time to actually publish the post. But maybe one of the reasons I didn’t post it is because of how boring these ‘critiques’ are.

At the end of my last post I ended by saying that I had something to say about the ways in which liberal and ‘left’ journalists miss the point about not patronising, tokenising, and otherwise coopting migrants and refugees to other agendas and in fact reinforce it. I was thinking mainly of the articles churned out with relative frequency these days by Jeff Sparrow, either for Overland or for The Guardian that all turn around the same tired point, summed up by the following quotes:

 'On asylum seekers, a 'lesser evil' approach still mandates evil. That should be a warning' by Jeff Sparrow, The Guardian 14 December 2014.
‘On asylum seekers, a ‘lesser evil’ approach still mandates evil. That should be a warning’ by Jeff Sparrow, The Guardian 14 December 2014.

Supplemented by:

'What's the end game for Australia's border policy – a world of walled city-states?', Jeff Sparrow, The Guardian, 6 May 2016
‘What’s the end game for Australia’s border policy – a world of walled city-states?’, Jeff Sparrow, The Guardian, 6 May 2016

You can see that I’ve handily archived them in my Scribl library:

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 20.38.05In addition to the polls cited by Sparrow, the academic research he may be referring to is that conducted yearly by Andrew Markus for the Scanlon Foundation (which by the way @attentive has nicely diagrammed the murky ‘detention, logistics, urban development, political parties’ links of). These annual reports underplay societal racism by arguing that the issue of asylum is not close to the top of respondents’ agendas and that most of those surveyed are positive about ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘diversity’. The argument plays perfectly into Sparrow’s mantra that popular racism in Australia is not that bad.

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By Rejecting the Uluru Statement, Australia Recommits to Colonial Rule

I was invited to comment on the Australian government’s rejection of the Uluru Statement of the Heart by the ABC Religion and Ethics website. This is my conclusion. Until we all start to work actively to decolonize Australia – that is, to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by…

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Alana Lentin