Tiddas Talkin' Up to the White Woman: When Huggins et al took on Bell

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen M. (2003) Tiddas Talkin' Up to the White Woman: When Huggins et al took on Bell. In Grossman, Michele (Ed.) Blacklines: Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians. Melbourne University Publishing, p. 66.


In Australia, whiteness is invisible but centred in any public discussion on 'race'. Even in feminist spaces where difference is accepted as part of political practice and theory, 'race' belongs to 'other'. Australian feminist literature has been extremely useful in exposing the oppressive conditions of Indigenous women’s existence and it repatriates both Indigenous and white women in Australia’s historical landscape. However, relations between Indigenous women and white women are analysed through the white woman’s filtered lens, a lens which is blind to the way in which white race privilege manifests itself in and through these relations. Whiteness remains invisible, unmarked and uninterrogated and Indigenous women's subjectivity tends to be objectified within the text. As important and as useful as this literature is, it does not reveal how Indigenous women study the whiteness before their eyes—how Indigenous women penetrate the subjectivities of white women and men and have come to understand and be knowledgeable about them. White women and men do not just position us as being the "unseen": we are also perceived as "unseeing" (Roediger 1998:8). But Indigenous women do see, analyse and have knowledge about whiteness—knowledge that is usually dismissed, ignored or rebuffed by whites upon whom we cast our gaze and about whom we write. As I have argued elsewhere, the dismissal and suppression of our knowledge about whiteness is tied to the maintenance of white racial domination and privilege in this country (Moreton-Robinson 1998). In this essay I cast my gaze on the subject position "white woman", which has dominance in ideological constructions of womanhood in Australian society. This subject position is dynamic and finds expression in different ways in a variety of contexts; it is only one in the repertoire of multiple subject positions white women deploy. I make visible this subject position through analysing its deployment in the Huggins et al and Bell debate in Australian feminism, showing how certain forms of knowledge, values and white race privilege operate in inter-racial relations between women (Giroux 1997:296).

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ID Code: 7688
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: Published when working at the University of Queensland. For more information or for a copy of the article see the URL above or contact the author @ a.moreton-robinson@qut.edu.au
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Whiteness, Indigenous women's subjectivity, indigenous, inter, racial relations
ISBN: 0-522-85069-3
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Melbourne University Publishing
Deposited On: 24 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:31

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