The Cultural Deconstruction of Racism: Education and Multiculturalism


  • Mary Kalantzis


In this paper I examine attempts at the deconstruction of racism in the con-temporary Australian context, particularly in the fields of education and multicultural policy and practice. By this, I mean deconstruction not only in terms of the epistemological explanation of racism and multiculturalism in schools, but also the practical imperatives arising from analysis, which include an attempt to dismantle racism. What I am referring to then is a dual analytical and interventionist project which is struggling to make its mark.


I choose the areas of multiculturalism and education for two reasons. First, schooling in Australia is a compulsory, universal experience and therefore an important site for examination, both as the reflection and reflector of processes of socialisation. Second, the questions of so-called 'race' and 'race relations' as introduced through multiculturalism, although misshapen and problematic, have made their most widespread inroads into education, albeit often only obliquely through the concepts of culture and ethnicity.