The Wheeler Centre
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Not Racist, But …: Why Are We Afraid of Being Called Racist?
How can we have constructive conversations about racism when everyone is so defensive? Are laws enough to tackle racism? And what’s the deal with identity politics? In this panel – the first in a series of four talks curated by Santilla Chingaipe – Beverley Wang, Luke Pearson, Helen Ngo and Oishee Alam explore definitions of racism, looking not just at overt examples but also implicit bias and systemic racism, with examples from Australian history.
Beverley Wang is a journalist, broadcaster and creator of the ABC podcast It’s Not A Race, which has been hailed as a ground-breaking series opening up conversations on race in Australia. She is also the producer and co-host of Stop Everything! on ABC RN, focusing on the politics of pop culture.
Oishee Alam is a sociologist of race and religion, with a research and teaching focus on racism and anti-racism, Islamophobia, racialisation, nationalism, secularism and whiteness.
As a Research Fellow at the Challenging Racism Project at Western Sydney University, she is working to increase understandings of bystander action as a means of countering racism among Australian school students. Oishee completed her doctoral thesis in 2016, where she explored how white Australian converts to Islam conceptualised and negotiated race and racial identity after their conversion to Islam.
Helen Ngo is Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University. She completed her PhD at Stony Brook University (USA), specialising in phenomenology, critical philosophy of race and feminist philosophy. Her research explores the phenomenological and existential dimensions of racism, and the relations of self, body, and world entailed in its lived experience. She is author of the recently published book, The Habits of Racism: A Phenomenology of Racism and Racialized Embodiment (Lexington 2017).
Luke Pearson is the founder of Indigenous media organisation IndigenousX. He is an editor, writer, consultant and public speaker.