The 'Culturally And Linguistically Diverse' (CALD) label: A critique using African migrants as exemplar
African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific
School of Arts and Humanities
This article critiques the widely accepted official label ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse’ (CALD), used in Australia to refer mainly to Australia’s non-Indigenous ethnic groups other than the English-speaking Anglo-Saxon majority. Our main contention is that it is a racialised and racialising label that perpetuates institutional racism, providing a conceptual excuse for legitimising privilege and altruistic governmentality over minority groups, while inferiorising and projecting these groups as an analogous population who need ‘fixing’. The article draws on the sociological construct of labelling, through which we analyse the framing of CALD people in the literature as ‘deviants’ using Black African Migrants in Australia as exemplars. We propose that CALD labelling is counterproductive because it hinders social integration, divides people into ‘us and them’, homogenises, blurs particular lived experiences and needs, and ignores intersectional issues.