By Pamela Nathan
Re: “Brandis’ race hate laws are whiter than white”, by Waleed Aly, published in The Age, 28 March 2014
I am not going to summarise Aly’s EXCELLENT paper, but I recommend everyone to read it. He says, “Unspoken at the heart of this debate is a contest over the way race relations work in this country – and on whose terms”. He presents an intricate analysis of the legislation on sections mostly ignored – “see subsection (3)” – (my emphasis). Aly states, “Who gets to decide whether something is intimidating or vilifying …is to be determined by the standards of an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community…. not by the standards of any particular group within the Australian community”. As Aly says, “Of course only white people have the chance to be neutral because in our society only white is deemed to be normal; only whiteness is invisible.”(my emphasis). “Every other race is marked by its difference, by its conspicuousness-by its non-whiteness.” He says earlier: “That’s what struck me most about the proposed legislation. It’s just so..well, white. In fact, it’s probably the whitest piece of proposed legislation I’ve encountered during my lifetime”.
So the legislation is about white supremacy and white people will decide what is racist and what is not for the racial minorities, so called. We need to overt whiteness – and the whiteness that is associated with purity and neutrality! This legislation goes to the core of race relations in Australia.