The paper " History, Honesty, Whiteness, and Blackness by Lillian Holt " is a great example of an article on history. In any multi-racial nation, interracial relations constitute an important national discourse that is worth interrogating especially when one race has a bearing over the other as they go down in the annals of history as a critical aspect of that nation and offers insights on nation-building. One such article is the work by Lillian Holt titled ‘ History, Honesty, Whiteness and Blackness’ which was the keynote addresses in a conference themed ‘ Historicising Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of an Identity’ which was hosted in the University of Melbourne from 22 to 24 November 2006.
The purpose of her article is to outline the impact of the deliberate notion of white race being superior to the indigenous black individuals and how it influenced the construction of the identity of indigenous people in Australia and how interrogation of whiteness can be utilized to drive towards reconciliation through total racial inclusivity. Indeed her article manages to show the impact of the white race on the construction of the identity of indigenous individuals through various case examples.
However, she points out that she is not limited to being labeled an aborigine. In this context, she utilizes the case example of her mother and the constant reference her past experiences and the corroboration from her white counterparts who confesses that being white works in Australia. Her point of entry for solution finding is the admission by her white colleagues that white works. She sees this as owning up process which is integral in building reconciliation in Australia where social construction of whiteness and ethnocentrism is deconstructed to create an equal society. Summary The ultimate focus and the purpose of the conference paper by Lillian Holt (2007) are to describe how the earlier belief induced on indigenous people by whites that their system of life was superior/ right than the former has influenced their construction of identity by instilling the notion that everything from whites is right.
In this regard, whiteness is treated as a social construction created by racial ethnocentric white individuals so as to marginalize the indigenous black people.
She gives a historical walk through whiteness dominated racial relations as aboriginal Australian through past experience or in situations where black natives hoped to be whites since there is where all good things originated; relies on the interaction she had with her mother pertaining racial relations by then and how they informed her mother about white superiority; and the confession from her white colleagues whom she terms as ‘ conversational corroboree’ who indeed affirms the belief that system in Australia favor white-skinned individuals. The subsequent question that emerges is which audience does she target?
The target audience for this presentation can be conceptualized from two perspectives. The first is based on her topic which has two important adjectives. These are Whiteness and Blackness. From this observation, there is a clear indication that her target audiences are Australians of white descent and those of black descent. Indeed, this anchored on the fact it is the two owing to prevailing societal dynamics had strained relations with the white having a bearing over the natives who do not have white skin with the latter being the ones their social identity was being constructed to believe that everything white is right or superior.
Secondly, her target is the whole Australian population as she states that interrogation of racial relations within the context of whiteness is significant in attaining reconciliation.
Andersen, M. & Taylor, H. (2011). Sociology: The Essentials, 6th edn., Wadsworth Cengage, Belmont, CA Learning.
Babb, V. (1998). Whiteness is visible: The meaning of whiteness in American literature and culture, New York, New York University Press.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Brewster, A. (2005). Writing whiteness: the personal turn.
Fanon, F. (1976). The Wretched of the Earth, (1965), tr. Constance Farrington. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Frankenberg, R. (1996). 'When We are Capable of Stopping We Begin to See: Being White, Seeing Whiteness', in Becky Thompson and Sangeeta Tyagi (eds), Names We Call Home: Autobiographies on Racial Identity, New York: Routledge, pp 3-17.
Frow, J. (2002). Never Draw to an Inside Straight: On Everyday Knowledge. New Literary History, 33: 623-37.
Green, M. J., Sonn, C. C., & Matsebula, J. (2007). Reviewing whiteness: Theory, research, and possibilities. South African Journal of Psychology, 37(3), 389-419.
Hartmann, D., Gerteis, J. & Croll, P. (2009). An Empirical Assessment of Whiteness Theory: Hidden from How Many? Social Problems, Vol. 56, No. 3, p. 403-424.
Holt, L. (2007). History, Honesty, Whiteness, and Blackness [online]. In: Boucher, Leigh (Editor); Carey, Jane (Editor); Ellinghaus, Katherine (Editor). Historicizing Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of an Identity. Melbourne, Vic.: RMIT Publishing in association with the School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, 2007: 1-5. Melbourne University conference and seminar series; 16.
McLaren, P, and Torres, R (1999). Racism and multicultural education: Rethinking 'race' and 'whiteness' in late capitalism. In Critical multiculturalism: Rethinking multicultural and antiracist education, edited by S. May. Philadelphia, PA: Falmer Press. 42-76.
Moreton-Robinson, A. (2000). Talkin’ Up to the White Woman. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
Morrison, T. (1992). Playing in the dark: Whiteness and the literary imagination, MA: Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Nicoll, F. (2004). Are you calling me a racist?: Teaching critical whiteness theory in Indigenous sovereignty, Borderlands, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 1-8.
Stets, J. & Burke, P. (2000). Identity theory and social identity theory, Social psychology quarterly, p. 224-237.
Thompson, A. (1999). Color talk: Whiteness and Off White, Educational Studies, Vol. 30, p. 141-160.
Thompson, A. (2001). Summary of whiteness theory, viewed 3rd Jan 2014 from http://www. pauahtun.org/Whiteness-Summary-1. HTML .
Wiegman, Robyn. (1999). 'Whiteness Studies and the Paradox of Particularity', boundary 2, 28 (3): 115-50.