This is the last post. Kinda sad in a way, because writing up blogs are probably the best type of assignments.. Ok I should begin…
Land and belonging are deeply intertwined. We see the same groups of people belonging in one land, and other groups belonging in theirs. This sense of belonging certainly has its pros and cons, it can be good, but it can be bad.
Tascon refers to refugees as ‘boat people’, like they have been widely known as really. Believe it or not, boat people arriving in Australia receive the most inhumane treatment of any developed nation. Isn’t that sad? But why is this so? Tascon explains that these practices are from the powers of coloniality, race and whiteness. They are the same discourses that allowed colonisation around the globe, treatment of Australia’s indigenous peoples and the creation of the White Australia policy in 1901.
We can see that colonialism has shaped the globe radically, and produced practices that continue now. Aboriginal people of Australia have experienced this consistently but now, the onshore refugees have become the most recent victims of the coloniality of power.
The modern/colonial world has fixed borders – placing some people within and some outside, distinguishing colonial difference. Refugees however are those groups that cross borders forcefully and challenge the ‘colonial order’. Race and whiteness are the invisible granting of colonial power, constructing these borders. Race and whiteness are 2 sides of the same coin: one invisibility granting privilege, the other marking exclusion/discrimination.
Race continues to be a form of domination, but in a changed, kind of invisible form over time. What’s interesting though is that race + whiteness + coloniality are interwoven just like Foucault’s power + knowledge. Because they each provide the means for the other to act on the world and they cannot be separated from each other.
We can see that this power has taught an ‘us’ and ‘them’, ‘strangers’ and ‘friends’ to cause those ‘others’ to be spat out. And that’s why refugees and indigenous people are caught in this net.
Other examples of white power can be seen today, where thousands die in African, Asian or Latin American countries because of deprivation. You see no charity going their way, do you? Even Aboriginal people die 20 years earlier than their non-aboriginal counterparts, and Australia doesn’t even respond. What has this world come to? Seriously.
All in all, what’s sad is that, we are practitioners of the current power regime made hegemonic by colonial power. Colonial powers are haunting the journey of refugees, just like they haunted Indigenous peoples. And the Colonial powers are working terribly behind the scenes and we don’t even know it.
Tascon, S. M. 2004 ‘Refugees and the Coloniality of Power: Border-crossers of Postcolonial Whiteness’, in Moreton-Robinson, Aileen (Editor). Whitening Race: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 239-253.