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The War on Critical Race Theory has its own variant in Australia. But, as in other places, the object of the onslaught is not the academic discipline of critical race itself but rather the entire idea that there should be any interrogation of the function of race in ongoing (settler) colonialism. In this sense, the war on CRT is a proxy war. However, the attacks on ‘critical race theory’ should not be separated from the question of how we speak about race. This is the essential paradox of the situation those of us who act against racism through our teaching, writing and speech are faced with: while the proxy nature of the war is clear, we are nonetheless forced to ask the hard questions about what we are doing, what we wish to achieve, and whether what we have been doing is the best way to withstand the current onslaught.
Alana Lentin is a Professor in Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. She is a Jewish woman who is a settler on Gadigal land. She works on the critical theorisation of race, racism and antiracism.