“White” trajectories in discourse

Just as there is black history to Australian history, a “yellow”, or East Asian, history needs to be told in the spirit of full unconcealment in the aletheia of truth – while at the same time being aware of the interplay between concealment and hiddenness in our primordially existential engagement with the phenomenon of truth.

As long as there is human history, the story of truth can never cease to be told.

Only a few decades after the beginning of human quarantine history in Australia at North Head in the Colony of New South Wales in 1828, an East Asian aspect became interwoven with the mainstream discourse on public health that those in power tried to keep “white” – mainly in the form of the “Chinese question”, i.e. the admissibility or otherwise of East Asians into Australia’s Identitätsraum, an entity that is imagined and referred to in speech and writing, yet at the same time thoroughly, if not primally, visceral. Race talks.

This “whiteness” continues to this day with the established discourse on the history of public health in Australia, even if the norm in academia is that this “whiteness” is a reflective critique of past racist injustices. Yet in careful readings of the products of this “white” discourse, especially by “people of colour”, intellectual blind spots can be detected here and there. After all, a complete self-transparency in aletheia is, according to phenomenological philosophy, an impossible ideal. Regardless of one’s own cultural background and genetic make-up, one can only try one’s best – the moral imperative here is to admit one’s limitations in the methodology of one’s discourse and not to wield the power-imbued yardstick of universal truth, which can exclude and suppress voices of less social power.

Australia, it is time for a resourceful cultural and racial diversity in the established canon of academic and other forms of public discourse.