Whitewashing the Gap
The Discursive Practices of Whiteness
In this article I utilise critical discourse analysis to investigate the discursive practices evident in the Gillard Government’s 2011 ‘Closing the Gap’ speech. The speech is interpreted as a performative activity which normalises the racialised privilege/disadvantage divide in contemporary Australia by framing this divide as meritocratic. Inherently contradictory discourses are used to position both the government and Indigenes in antithetical ways. The government is constructed as a benevolent authority, yet is excused from responsibility for ‘closing the gap’. Indigenous peoples are framed as culturally deficient while simultaneously held responsible to ‘close the gap’. The contentiousness of these discourses is minimised by their portrayal as hegemonic commonsense.