Engaging with Racism: Open Meeting
Seven GRA members (with 6 apologies from members) attended an open meeting at VAPP on the 29th May 2019, to gauge interest in developing a GRA project on the theme of racism.
Jinette de Gooijer and Allan Shafer proposed the subject for a longer-term socio-analytic project for GRA. Jinette chaired what was a fascinating meeting with ‘discussions ranging across personal and work experiences of racism, with realisations of latent racism within oneself, acknowledgement of our white cultural assumptions, Australia’s history of race relations and its beginnings with colonisation’.
In Jinette’s write up of the evening she notes,
“We recognise that the topic of racism is difficult and challenging to engage with. It is endemic to human nature and serves both individual and group functions. A GRA project on ‘racism’ needs to be based on meaningful work that can make a difference in the world outside of GRA. Exploring questions of ‘How does racism keep going? What maintains it?’ offers scope for meaningful work. Throughout the discussion many references were made to books and films that people had found enlightening and important to re-considering perceptions of Australia’s history, white privilege and power, and the biological and psychoanalytic determinates of our inherent racism”.
In considering how we might progress this project Jinette further noted that,
“The group concluded that a project on the topic of racism is difficult to scope given its complexity and basis in primitive psychic structures. There is a desire to make a difference outside of GRA, to go further into public realm than was achieved by the Seeking Asylum project. However, the topic of racism feels more challenging for a project-based exploration. It was agreed to ‘start with something, such as a panel discussion of a film for example, and see where this leads. There were also suggestions that offer opportunities to grow our knowledge base and to create spaces for public discourse”.
As no-one volunteered to be part of a Project Working Group, no schedule of meetings was decided upon. Jinette and Allan will continue to progress the initiative. Should you be interested in contributing to this project, or want the list of references that arose out of the meeting, contact Jinette or Alan via firstname.lastname@example.org
The Listening Post
Australia and the World at the Dawn of 2016: 13 January
Download report of the evening's proceedings here