Abstract: When I was asked to write ‘something on whiteness’ by a friend of mine, I thought “what” – what can I write on ‘whiteness’? I am an Aboriginal woman, not a white woman. I don’t know the mechanisms of white minds although I’ve been married to a Dutch man for many years”. The request from my friend was food for thought. Although I had tried to fathom the mind of my husband, colour played no part of our sometimes heated disagreements. It was more of a gender struggle, a clash of wills between a husband and wife; a man and a woman – unless I called him a ‘bull-headed Dutchman’ and he would call me a ‘hard-headed Aboriginal woman’. But his whiteness and my Aboriginality never entered the equation when tempers flared over some trivial domestic matter during our forty-five year union. So when Anne asked me to write my perspectives on ‘whiteness’, I thought, “Here’s a challenge. How do I begin this paper”? My best approach to this quandary was to be honest with myself, the reader and the white people who have helped me over the years. With this problem solved, here are my perspectives on ‘whiteness’ and ‘white privilege’.

Copyright © Rosemary van den Berg 2011.