Dr Debbie Bargallie
This presentation draws from recent doctoral research that demonstrates the ways in which racial logics frame and order the everyday experiences of Indigenous employees in the Australian Public Service. That study also explored the impact of these racial frames in the functioning of Indigenous affairs in Australia. The voices of Indigenous participants exposed everyday racism in the workplace. Against this backdrop, cultural competency workshops and reconciliation action plans that are deployed as strategies to build cultural capability focus on cultural differences and neglect to address the embedded structures of race and racism. This form of professional development, I argue, serves to maintain a racial contract. This session uses critical race scholarship to reveal the racialised workplace practices that are systemically mediated by institutional racism which justifies a system of privilege in Australian institutions. I argue that racial literacy must become fundamental to education at all levels of Australian institutional systems. I demonstrate how the concepts of racial literacy and critical race frameworks can engage conversations about race and racism as foundation for building culturally competent employees.