Racism, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identities, and higher education: reviewing the burden of epistemological and other racisms
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Purpose: Emerging discourses focusing on the social, emotional, educational, and economic disadvantages identified for Australia's First Peoples (when compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts) are becoming increasingly dissociated with an understanding of the interplay between historical and current trends in racism. In addition, it may be argued that the very construction of Western perspectives of Indigenous identity (as opposed to identities) may be deeply entwined within the undertones of the interplay between epistemological racism, and the emergence of new racism today. Methodology: This chapter shall review a substantial portion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational research, with a particular emphasis on the acknowledgment of the impact of racism on the educational outcomes (and other life outcomes) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a focus on higher education. Findings: This review has found that while there is evidence emerging toward the engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in all forms of education, there is also considerable resistance to targeted efforts to reduce the inequities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and all Australians (especially within the university sector). It is argued this resistance, both at the student and curriculum level, is clear evidence of preexisting epistemological mentalities and racism. Implications: The implications of this review suggest that greater effort needs to be placed in recognizing unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences and perspectives, not only at the student level, but such perspectives need to be imbedded throughout the whole university environment.
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