Race, ethnicity, prejudice: white Australia policy

2059 words 9 pages

Part 1
What is Race?
What is Ethnicity?
What is Prejudice?
What is Racism?

Part 2
Introducing the ‘White Australia’ policy
From White Australia to Multiculturalism


This paper is divided into two parts. In the first part the concepts or race, ethnicity, prejudice and racism are defined and how they are connected is discussed. Part 2 of the paper looks at the ‘White Australia’ policy and why it was introduced. The impact of such a racist immigration history on contemporary Australia is also discussed in terms of attitudes and behaviours of the population.
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From early European settlers until the late 19th century Australia had an open immigration policy (Cope, Castles & Kalantzis, 1991). Everyone was welcome and encouraged to come as populating the land was the primary concern. However, immigration legislation changed as unemployment rates started rising and fears of over population from the Chinese was ignited. As a result, the White Australia policy was introduced in 1980 and lasted through to early 1940’s (Van Krieken et al, 2010; Jupp, 2002).
Economic and cultural reasons were the main reasons for introducing the White Australia policy (Windschuttle, 2005). Social cohesion was a real concern at the time and it was believed that solidarity could not be maintained with so many ‘inferior’ races populating the nation. It was believed that, in accordance to Darwin’s theory of evolution, the fittest race will survive and the weakest would be eliminated accordingly. These were the main underlying rationales for keeping Australia as ‘pure’ as possible.

Impact of Australia’s Immigration history on the attitudes and behaviours of contemporary Australians As contemporary Australia becomes more diverse, racist attitudes embedded from immigration history and previous policies can still be felt. Expression of racism through attitudes and behaviours has taken on new