Contemporary Racism in Australia: the Experience of Aborigines Essay

January 18, 2022 by Essay Writer


This study provides a critique of a research paper called Personality and Psychology Bulletin by Davis Mellor. The paper was a research study encompassing 34 respondents from the aboriginal community (Mellor, 2003, p. 473). The research focused on analyzing racial experiences by the Australian aboriginal community.

Its findings were largely based on the premise that racism occurred at many levels of social interaction and because many researchers have neglected the victim’s point of view, the analysis of racism on Australia’s aboriginal community has been largely incomplete. The paper therefore sought to analyze how the aboriginal communities, who are the victims of racism in this case, perceive racism. This study provides a selective analysis of the paper.

Methodologies Used

To obtain the racial experiences of the participants, a questionnaire was used to record the in depth experiences of the participants. Parts of the interviews undertaken were recorded in audio format through a tape recorder so that the respondents would be more relaxed in giving their responses.

The interviews were structured in an open ended manner but were also semi structured to tabulate data relating to the examination of racial experiences of the respondents, their feelings towards racists experiences and an analysis of the respondents’ answers. The data was later analyzed through the NUD*IST software which categorized various similar elements to come up with specific categories of racial variables. This system was also used to come up with racial subcategories which summed up the derived racial behaviors in totality.

Why the Methodology Was Used

The above methodology was used because it was a quantitative technique of obtaining data, arising from the sole fact that racial analysis is a qualitative subject.

The methodology also enabled the research to have a descriptive element of racism. However, the biggest motivator for Mellor to use this methodology was so that he could be able to make sense of massive volumes of data and deduce significant patterns that best conceptualized the essence to which the data was meant to expose. In addition, the methodology enabled accurate collection of data because respondents were questioned from their own home environments.

Conclusions Drawn From the Study

It was concluded that the aboriginal community experienced varied forms of racism in various contexts and environments. Perpetrators of these racial elements were also interestingly varied. Racism was also noted to manifest in a number of behavioral and verbal forms which included discrimination and violation of societal norms.

Evidently, it became clear that previous studies majorly focused on the Perpetrator’s point of view as opposed to the victims’. Also, more surprising was the fact that racism turned out to be a very common thing for the aboriginal community and it also occurred more frequently than previously thought.

As opposed to newly advanced views that racism today was much more subtle and modern, the study found out that most of the racial instances being evidenced today among the aboriginal community was overt and old fashioned (Mellor, 2003, p. 473). It was also concluded that if the data used in the study was a true reflection of the real Australian intercommunity interaction, scientific researchers who perceived racism as more subtle and modern may have adopted such a theory prematurely.

More specifically, the study identified that racism currently occurs through name calling, verbal abuse, threats, jokes, ignoring certain people, avoidance, patronization, selective looking, segregation, harassment, denial of identity, assault, over application of the law, lack of concern, cultural domination, and wrong media information (Mellor, 2003, pp. 473- 483).

Alternative Research Methodology

An alternative methodology which could be effectively used in this study is the discourse analysis which is quite effective in the analysis of a multidisciplinary racial analysis research project (Ischool, 2010). A discourse analysis methodology is especially used in a semiotic environment. A discourse analysis has a number of bridges that enable the final information to be well communicated. They include: writing, talking and speaking which are to be analyzed in a coherent manner.

Contrary to most methodologies, the discourse analysis incorporates the study of naturally occurring factors as opposed to invented examples by respondents. In a more detailed manner, discourse analysis can be viewed as more than just a research methodology because it specifically characterizes how a problem should be approached and what channels of thought may be used to solve a given issue.

Discourse analysis does also not give a solid solution to a given problem but instead, it provides the ground through which given assumptions may be formulated (regardless of whether they are of an ontological or epistemological nature).

In more conventional terms, the discourse analysis is expected to expose the various motivations that prompt people to undertake certain actions. A discourse analysis methodology will therefore be able to interpret given problems and not necessarily provide us with their answers but the motivations behind them.


Using the discourse analysis to analyze racial practices among Australia’s aboriginal community poses a number of advantages. This methodology will expose the relations between different structures that perpetrate racism; like the way verbal abuse and discrimination have been pointed out as aspects to racism. Also, since the discourse analysis is closely related with the linguistic discipline, racial prejudices associated with grammatical structures will be exposed in line with ethnic biases which different racial groups’ posses.

Also, because part of the racial divide in Australia is partly caused by historical discourses, the discourse analysis can be used to point out existing relations of today’s racial practices with past events and ethnic relations. In this manner, we can be able to make inferences regarding the attitude various ethnic groups have in comparison to past events.


Personality and Psychology Bulletin by Davis Mellor derives a lot of inferences about racial experiences of the aboriginal community in various ways. As much as the study exposes an unexplored area of research (victims’ point of view), there is still more room for further studies to be undertaken about other aspects, like the historical connections to racism and such like variables. These factors can be best analyzed using the discourse analysis, although the methodology used in the study suits the objectives of the research in a perfect manner.


Ischool. (2010). Discourse Analysis. Web.

Mellor, D. (2003). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 29 (474), 473-485.

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