Moore, Robyn: History textbooks still imply that Australians are white

Robyn Moore

History textbooks still imply that Australians are white‘, The Conversation, 12 June 2017

Looks at textbooks from the 1950s on and concludes:

Australian history textbooks have made considerable progress towards presenting more inclusive and balanced narratives. However, this progress has stalled. My research shows that Australian history textbooks continue to portray Australians as white. Further work is needed to ensure textbooks adequately represent all Australians.

A key paragraph is this, describing textbooks in the second half of the 20th century:

The main narrative describes the experiences of white Australians in various eras such as the gold rushes, Federation, the Depression and the world wars. This implies that Australian history is white history and that Australians are white. By excluding Aborigines from these sections, whites are framed as normative or “real” Australians.

Related is Gwenda Tavan’s chapter in The Honest History Book which discusses how understating immigration in our national story has reinforced the dominance of a narrow, Anglo-nativist view of Australia in which the so-called ‘Anzac legend’ is central. This has perpetuated a tension between Australian nationalist ideals and our multicultural, settler-state reality.

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