Blackness as Deviation from the Norm

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In studies on the sense of belonging among racialized minorities in Australia, the experiences of Indigenous people and African refugees have been discussed separately. However, because both groups encounter social exclusion due to their blackness, their shared experiences also need to be considered. In this study, I examine the intersections of experiences of blackness and their impacts on people’s senses of belonging by using the findings of previous studies in addition to my ongoing fieldwork data on intergroup relationships between both groups. The present study shows that while some individuals of these groups experienced blackness as a deviation from the norm created in the mainstream media, other members reinterpreted or distanced themselves from blackness. Meanwhile, some members of each group found a commonality in blackness with the other group and established their own sense of belonging, stemming from a shared history of colonization, as well as a shared contemporary experience of subordination and exclusion. Awareness of these commonalities in their experiences caused the groups to feel that they were coexisting, rather than competing with each other as indicated by previous studies. The findings indicate a reconciliation of blackness between these two groups and the potential to form a new, shared self-identification as racial minorities in Australia as an alternative to that on the basis of whiteness and Britishness.