chapter  4
29 Pages

‘Is Australia racist?’

Interpretive denial and the politics of anger
ByMaria Elena Indelicato

Chapter 4 approaches the media debate accompanying the protests Indian international students staged in 2009 and 2010 in Sydney and Melbourne as a complex system of responses to racism and to the accusation of racism. Indian students and media’s accusation that the attacks were racist is examined as a response that aimed to hold Australian authorities accountable for the violence they endured. Australian authorities’ and media’s response to the accusation of racism that this was ‘hysteric’ is conversely analysed as a refusal to be held accountable. The first section analyses the Australian authorities and media’s response to the accusation of racism and untangles the ways in which this response sought to uphold their moral authority over their Indian counterparts. The second section reviews the feminist literature on anger to show how it can function as an affective response that upholds dominant authorities and groups accountable for racism. The third section demonstrates how the Australian authorities’ and media’s dismissal of their Indian counterparts’ anger as an excessive affective response to the attacks functioned as a discursive strategy that aimed to protect Australia’s moral authority in the Asia-Pacific area more broadly.