‘It’s Not a Race, It’s a Religion’: Denial of Anti-Muslim Racism in Online Discourses
1.2. Offline and Online Discourses
1.3. Denial of Racism
This appears to hold true even in the more contemporary climate with the rise of far-right politicians, political parties and organisations. Even the far-right fascist British National Party sought to justify their claims about Islam and Muslims by quoting from the Qu’ran in a leaflet they published entitled ‘The Truth about I.S.L.A.M.2’ (Allen 2010). The party even recruited a small number of fringe Sikh and Hindu groups to argue they were presenting an ‘insider’ view (Allen 2010). Similarly, an analysis of Pauline Hanson’s 2016 maiden speech to the Australian Senate shows that she constructed her views as factual, objective and reasonable (Sengul 2019). She presented herself as tolerant of immigrant groups other than Muslims to legitimise her attacks on Islam (Sengul 2019). Thus no matter how extreme the view is, people will continue to justify themselves and deny that they are racist.…it is necessary to make sure that such negative talk and cognitions are not perceived as biased or prejudiced, let alone racist. Closely related to the moves of positive ‘I’ presentation are the usual disclaimers in which speakers deny that they are racist or otherwise biased: “We have nothing against immigrants [or minorities], but…”
1.4. Anti-Muslim Racism and Its Denial
1.5. ‘Reverse Racism’and White Privilege
…racism requires both prejudice towards a group of people based on the social construction of race and the power to oppress those groups of people. Thus it does not make sense—at least within Australia as a country with a history of colonisation—to discuss racism from marginalised groups towards dominant ones. This definition is important in that, whilst acknowledging that individual acts of racism can and do occur, a broader definition of racism involves discourse which functions to further marginalise groups who are already disadvantaged.
Did you know that almost 40% of racist incidents occur in public spaces, including on public transport? Today our Challenging Racism Project launch a series of Bystander Anti-Racism videos the help the public #speakupspeakout. Find out more at westernsydney.edu.au/challengingracismproject
This study is thus premised on the notion that those denying anti-Muslim racism benefit from a system of inequality and privilege—a system whereby dominant group members receive unearned advantages (Sue 2003). Structures, policies and institutional practices are set up to benefit members of the dominant group and hinder other groups3.In principle all members of dominant groups are directly or indirectly involved in systems of inequality such as racism. Even if not engaging in acts of discrimination or ‘everyday racism’, dominant group members often at least profit from discrimination: on the whole they tend to have better jobs, salaries, housing, education, health and status than minority group members.
How do the online posters deny that anti-Muslim racism has occurred?What discursive strategies do the online posters use to legitimise their arguments?
3. Denial of Anti-Muslim Racism
3.1. Reversal and Displacement
Well done for addressing a problem that isn’t a problem. Badly acted, badly scripted, completely unrepresentative of true events. Meanwhile, sharia zones, muslim rape gangs, hate preaching, ISIS sympathisers, all exist as subjects it’s just too edgy to address. But then again, I guess to be racist, you have to be white to begin with.—AB
Oh brother, Here it goes. The propaganda of the left of guilt and how everyone is a raciest. As Muslims invade and change the culture of nations and kill innocent people just living their lives. If you feel any anger or frustration. Here is the campaign to make you feel guilty and liable you as a racist. How Asinine!!! Don’t fall for it.—CD
Why is it when we have more Muslims coming into Australia than Europeans we all of a sudden have to be so tolerant and respectful because it might “upset” them. Whatever happened to free speech? I’m not saying that every person who sees a Muslim should verbally abuse them but we don’t need to make these promotional videos just to show how weak and numb minded we are towards them because if we were a minority in their country they wouldn’t do the same for us.—EF
3.3. Reverse Racism
Pretty sure white Australians get bullied everyday and just because we do not appear physically ethnic or fit the bill of a stereotypical religion of any sort- just plain old white-means that we are the culprits. Let’s face it, if we want to get down to the nitty gritty pretty sure we are all discriminated against and we should all stand up for one another regardless. The media forgets that white Australians with no specific religious background get treated the same its just not highlighted because it’s easier to blame. I am aware that there are many different ethnicities and religious stances in this video and what is happening is wrong but what if the role was reversed and it was a white Australian being bullied by a Muslim woman and a Chinese man? Would that be impactful? Food for thought.—GH
3.4. ‘Muslims Are Not a Race’
So they are not racist hate our way of life hate us and a fucking news flash is its not a race it’s a religion they are not like a aboriginal when u call a aboriginal a black cunt that’s racist do u think the Muslims give a fuck about us y use a women with a rag on her head for a racist add use a native from Australia a race that deserves respect more then these religious bashing terrorists.—IJ
4. Discussion and Conclusions
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
The video can be found on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JUzzBmbchs (accessed on 6 October 2022).
The acronym was deliberately used to stand for ‘Intolerance, Slaughter, Looting, Arson and Molestation of women’.
Institutional settings included workplace, education, policing and court system, and health care; everyday settings included shop or restaurant, sporting event, public transport or on the street, online & social media, and at home/friend/friend’s home; and everyday racism disrespect, lack of trust and name calling.
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Cheng, J.E. ‘It’s Not a Race, It’s a Religion’: Denial of Anti-Muslim Racism in Online Discourses. Soc. Sci. 2022, 11, 467. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11100467
Cheng JE. ‘It’s Not a Race, It’s a Religion’: Denial of Anti-Muslim Racism in Online Discourses. Social Sciences. 2022; 11(10):467. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11100467Chicago/Turabian Style
Cheng, Jennifer E. 2022. "‘It’s Not a Race, It’s a Religion’: Denial of Anti-Muslim Racism in Online Discourses" Social Sciences 11, no. 10: 467. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11100467