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Beyond black and white: essentialism, hybridity and indigeneity
journal contributionposted on 2006-12-01, 00:00 authored by Yin ParadiesYin Paradies
Non-Indigenous conceptions of Indigeneity have historically focused on controlling the socialization, mobility and reproduction of Indigenous people. In the Indigenous community, we have only recently begun to demarcate our own space in which to debate the nature of Indigeneity in Australia. To date, we have successfully deployed notions of Indigeneity, via the strategic essentialism of pan-Aboriginality, to create an effective political community. However, such a deployment of Indigeneity also results in every Indigenous Australian being interpellated, without regard to their individuality, through stereotyped images that exist in the popular imagination. The essentialized Indigeneity thus formed coalesces around specific fantasies of exclusivity, cultural alterity, marginality, physicality and morality, which leave an increasing number of Indigenous people vulnerable to accusations of inauthenticity. Only by decoupling Indigeneity from such essentialist fantasies can we acknowledge the richness of Indigenous diversity and start on the path towards true reconciliation in Australia.