12 July 2021

Jason Wilson: “In Australia, scholars working in the related field of critical race and whiteness studies have for decades analysed Australia’s nature as a colonial state, founded on stolen land, which excluded Indigenous people and non-white immigrants from its commonwealth at its foundation, and where vast inequalities remain between Indigenous and white Australia. There are several possible responses that a white person can have to this. One possible response is visible in the moral panic around critical race theory. … Conservative media, which subsists on hate clicks, has eagerly jumped on this train. Australia’s dim-bulb rightwingers have followed. The real function of these arguments is to close white ears to demands for justice which are premised on simple facts about how their settler-colonial societies were built — including by means of theft, forced labor, and the consolidation of stolen property with state power. In this version of history, white America is itself the victim of the scheming of European marxist academics, with critical race theorists pulling the strings of protesters in the streets. … Another is available for those who see all of this as a compelling analysis of a vast historical injustice, which matches a systemic explanation with a systemic problem. The next step for them is to engage with and listen to the demands emerging from racial justice protests; to acknowledge how, why, and for whom our institutions were designed, and how they and other white people have benefited from it; and to find ways to assist with the enormous task of righting an almost incomprehensible wrong. If you’re white, this approach may be worth a try. Denying history uses up a lot of energy that could be spent on building a better, more inclusive future.”