Previous research has found that people who report negative attitudes toward Indigenous Australians also report acceptance of false beliefs such as “being Indigenous entitles you to more social security benefits”. In the present study, we were interested in examining negative attitudes toward Indigenous Australians across three Western Australian locations, and comments spontaneously generated by participants regarding what is known in the literature as “false beliefs”. To do this, we measured negative attitudes toward Indigenous Australians and content analysed responses to an open-ended question collected from 633 community members. Four categories relating to special treatment for Indigenous Australians were found in the form of Government handouts, education, the legal system, and housing. Participants who reported that they saw Indigenous Australians receiving special treatment were significantly more negative in their attitudes compared to participants who did not. Although some special treatment themes had some validity; others did not. We discuss the circumstances surrounding Indigenous disadvantage that may be viewed by some as preferential treatment. The present study adds to previous work by identifying what issues of “special treatment” are generated by participants without specific prompting. By identifying these themes, and bringing them into the public forum, this may have a significant effect on reducing negative attitudes toward Indigenous Australians.
The information contained on this website has been sourced by the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP) and AIPEP 2. The first AIPEP was funded by the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning. AIPEP 2 is part of the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing Project, funded by the Million Minds Mission Grant. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning or the Million Minds Mission Grant.
Several of the images used throughout this website are credited to Chris Lewis