A possessive investment in patriarchal Whiteness : nullifying Native Title

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen M. (2001) A possessive investment in patriarchal Whiteness : nullifying Native Title. In Nursery-Bray, Paul & Lee Bacchi, Carol (Eds.) Left Directions: Is There a Third Way? University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, Western Australia, pp. 162-177.


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). Subsequent governments, Labor and Liberal/Coalition, 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), (Cth) and recent decisions made by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Patriarchal whiteness is an invisible unnamed organising principle that surreptitiously shapes social relations and economic development. Indigenous people continue to be the most impoverished group in Australian society in critical areas such as housing, health, education, criminal justice, employment and economic development. Race and gender are salient in determining who rules and who accumulates property and wealth (MacKinnon 1993:367).

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ID Code: 7901
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information, please contact the author: a.moreton-robinson@qut.edu.au
Keywords: Patriachal Whiteness, Whiteness, Politics, Indigenous
ISBN: 1876268646
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 University of Western Australia Press.
Deposited On: 30 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2009 03:13

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