African Australian Identity

2685 Words11 Pages
This paper is centred on the topic ‘sameness and difference’, relating the concept to African refugees and their integration into Australian society. In first section I will examine theoretical perspectives of ‘race’ and identity, observing a number of contemporary sociological perspectives in an attempt to explain African Australian’s identification with African American or ‘Black’ culture. Included in this section, attention will be given to understanding Australian identity and its exclusive nationalism. I will then shift from a predominantly conceptual approach, to examining a variety of empirical studies conducted on the bicultural identities of African Refuges residing in Australia and their physical distinctiveness that has caused employment…show more content…
The term ‘Black’ became a source of pride and led the liberation movement of empowering blacks with equal rights and opportunities (Giddens 2007: 488). While this comprises no direct affiliation to the plight of newly arrived African Australians, theories of ‘deterritorialization’ (Papasterigidias 2000: 102) would suggest that they could relate their identity to ‘Black’ Americans, predominantly though having physically distinct features and common experiences of racial discrimination. Examples of African Australians adopting African American’ popular culture is evident through their assumed fashion and ‘rap’ music. This trend is by no means distinct to the African migrant population, but rather infiltrated through many aspects of Australian society due to the mass media and consequent ‘Americanisation of global culture’ (Papastergiadis 2000: 111). However it does provides an example of how hybrid identity can be adopted through the need to feel a sense of belonging, even if it comes from the other side of the…show more content…
However in a situation where the host country resents or rejects the cultural heritage of a migrant culture, migrants are inclined to reject the majority culture and cling to their own (Wakholi 2007: 19). In approaching the rationale of the Australian majority population, Turner (2003: 415) argued that ‘Australia is now a community overwhelmingly defined by the necessity of exclusion and increasingly marked by the revival of a nostalgic, even sentimental, refutation of the pluralism that informed the ethics of multiculturalism’. Turner stated that the foundations of this concept of Australian identity stemmed from government endorsement of a ‘globalising market capitalist’ and a ‘backward insular nationalism’ (2003: 414-7). Similarly, Ghassan Hage (2003: 161) identified Australian identity as entrenched in ‘a paranoid nationalism’. Understanding majority Australia’s reservations in accepting migrants is directly applicable to the situation facing African refugees as they look to establish a bicultural identity. It is important to understand the racial historical barriers present, given that the One Nation political party in the 1990s stemmed from a common perception Australian identity was under threat from non-white immigration (Hage 2003:
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