chapter  4
15 Pages

Children and the grammar of popular racism

Introduction C hildren growing up in Australia are exposed to contradictory images of “race” relations. On the one hand, they are taught to celebrate the fact that Australia is a multicultural society that values the principles of cultural tolerance and intercultural harmony. On the other hand, they are exposed to images of Aboriginal Australians and of other minority groups that portray those groups as objects of paternalistic concern, or as aliens whose presence threatens the cultural identity and economic well-being of the majority community. Australians are often told that their future is now linked with Asia, yet most media reports represent Asians in a homogenous manner, positing them as the radical other as constructed within the discourses of colonialism. The impact of these conflicting images on the way children view “racial” difference is neither well documented nor well understood.