White Australia is coming for you

Type
Article
Category
Politics
Racism

In his new book Between the World and Me, the American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses the experience of whiteness. ‘My experience in this world,’ he says, ‘has been that the people who believe themselves to be white are obsessed with the politics of personal exoneration. And the word racist, to them, conjures if not a tobacco-spitting oaf, then something just as fantastic – an orc, troll or gorgon. … There are no racists in America, or at least none that the people who need to be white know personally.’

There are no racists in Australia, either.

White-Australia-propaganda
Aotearoa
Type
Editorial

The Aotearoa nonfiction issue

This digital collection complements the special Aotearoa issue of Overland and is a testament to the response that our call for submissions received. These four essays shouldn’t be regarded as the ‘next best’, but rather as other directions in which the print issue could have gone, and which our writers wanted to explore.

10_Soviet_Invasion_of_Czechoslovakia_-_Flickr_-_The_Central_Intelligence_Agency
Type
Article
Category
Politics
Syriza

Greece with a human face

Could the Eurogroup meeting of July 12-13 represent the EU’s Prague Spring moment? The timelines of the two historical phenomena are uncanny: a government promising radical reforms comes to power at the beginning of the year, only to meet with continued opposition from the conservative old guard within, and dogged antipathy from its supposed international allies without.

theworld
Type
Article
Category
Identity
Racism

Where are you from?

Some people will ask, ‘What’s your background?’ Others, usually with a drunken drawl, will demand, ‘What’s your nationality?’ even if I’ve explained that I’m Australian. Some will put it simply by asking, ‘Where are you from?’ And this question, without fail, vacillates from the obvious to the awkward. Not Geelong, Blackburn or Carlton – no, these places do not suffice as places of origin. What they want to know is where my coloured skin comes from even if, in a locational sense, I’m not from there.

boats
Type
Article
Category
Politics

Monster machine

The problem is even those of us who object to these actions are ultimately affected by them. We are the ones staring into the abyss of the horrible things done in our name: the detention centres, the deaths, the sexual, mental and physical abuse, the lives scarred and hopes ruined by successive governments’ inability to ignore the votes of the least among us ­– the narrow-minded, fearful, compassionless and xenophobic. The abyss is staring back at us. It has been for some time. Each lurch toward a crueller policy response normalises something that was once horrible in the past. And something in us changes too. We might still disagree with the policies, but we are becoming desensitised.

stock-exchange
Type
Article
Category
Economics

The Chinese capitalist romance

The idea that formed the cornerstone for much of the West’s analysis of China for the past two decades was that as China opened up its economy the political system would inevitably follow. But Beijing has never had any interest in implementing US-style neoliberalism.

scientology
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Debate

Belief as a prison

In a recent edition of his podcast Waking Up, Sam Harris differentiated religions and cults in this way: ‘Every religion is a kind of cult – it just has more subscribers.’ A million members will get you a religion, a hundred (or, in the case of Heaven’s Gate, just forty) a cult, with all the stigmatic baggage that label brings.

bones
Type
Article
Category
Culture

Descended from designers

There is much contemporary designers can learn from this type of early archaeological find. It might not be immediately obvious why designers might look to archaeological theory to develop ideas of design, however, the crucial thing to recall is that archaeology is fundamentally about material culture, and as a form of anthropology has much to offer design anthropology and by extension design itself.

library
Type
Article
Category
Identity

A brief history of homophobia in Dewey decimal classification

Dewey numbers for LGBTI topics have been and at times continue to be homophobic, reflecting the society and times in which the numbers are developed, from the nineteenth century to present. Melvil Dewey, a man so obsessed with efficiency he shortened the spelling of his first name and considered spelling his surname as ‘Dui’, invented Dewey decimal classification in 1876. Given the nineteenth century origins of DDC, many have noted the inherent cultural bias including a Christian concentration, racism, sexism and homophobia.

Ormond2011
Type
Article
Category
Feminism
Reading

Why Helen Garner was wrong

The feminists ‘consumed with rage and fear’ that Garner condemns in The First Stone are still having to be vigilant, and still cop the same criticisms she threw at them twenty years ago: that they are throwing stones when they too have sinned. Such logic implies women are equally capable of inappropriate behaviour, that we use our sexual prowess when it is convenient and should be merciful when those of the opposite gender ‘get it wrong’.