The Discourse Of Whiteness Has Impacted On The Educational Outcomes For Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Peoples

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The discourse of whiteness has severely impacted on the educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (herein referred to as Indigenous Peoples). The discourse is based on an ontology founded on overt racism, discrimination, prejudice, exclusion and dispossession and towards all Indigenous Peoples. Subsequently, the history of Indigenous Peoples experiences in relation to education is extremely negative. They have been denied the right to the same education as non-Indigenous students, frequently expelled and continually forced to deny their cultural identity. The discourse of whiteness has resulted in pedagogies and pedagogical practices that are overly racist and not inclusive of Indigenous Peoples culture. To improve future educational outcomes it is necessary to decolonise Australia and rewrite the curriculum so that it is inclusive for all students.

The discourse of whiteness began at Colonisation when Indigenous Peoples were dehumanised. To legitimise the colonisation Moreton Robinson (2004) and Phillips (2005) state the traditional owners of the land needed to be ‘othered’, thus lacking innately human characteristics and, therefore, of unequal civil status. Othering of Indigenous Peoples enabled Australia to be defined as ‘Terra Nullius’, and according to McGrath (1995) and Crowley (1980), the myth of Terra Nullius is central to the discourse of whiteness and the white epistemology of Australia. The invasion and subsequent Colonisation

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