Today, the majority of Australians take pride in being part of a multicultural, multiethnic society. But much like the United States, Australia has a brutally racist history. Immigration to Australia was restricted almost exclusively to whites from the country’s founding in 1901 until the mid-1970s. The legislation was unofficially but universally known as The White Australia Policy, and it was established to give preferential treatment to the British. But the whitewashing of Australia didn’t start with the country’s creation in 1901 as a British Commonwealth. In 1901, Australia’s population of 3.8 million people was already 97 percent white. It would remain over 95 percent white until the 1970s. The nation’s explicit goal, not unlike that of some American states and territories in the late 19th century, was to create a white utopia. Who Are These “White People”? Australia’s racist immigration policies raise one of the most perplexing questions of the 20th century for both America and Australia: What exactly is “the white race”? After all, if you’re going to have an immigration policy that says whites-only, you first have to define what “white” means. The island of Australia has an indigenous population that traces its history on the continent back… Read full this story
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