Critical Reflection: Dismantling White Privilege From Within


  • Timothy Lancaster Hunt University of Sydney


Whiteness dominates Australian social, economic, legal and political culture. It is a powerful tool of oppression that has confronted the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population throughout the history of European colonisation and continues to do so on a daily basis in contemporary, neoliberal Australia. There are several challenges to addressing this racial inequality including the fact that white privilege is the dominant discourse, the ‘norm’ within Australia society, and therefore invisible and difficult to identify. It can also be staunchly defended by those it benefits when threatened by other discourses. I have only recently gained an awareness of my own white privilege (perhaps due to its normality within society) and its associated social injustices and endemic existence across society including the field of social work. So, what exactly is whiteness and white privilege? The objective of this essay is to explore white privilege, examine some of the obstacles it presents to Indigenous social work practice and to determine how as a non-Indigenous social worker I can most effectively participate in dismantling this dominant culture of systemic oppression of which I am a part.


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Beyond “cultural competency”: Confronting whiteness in social work