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›White Sugar‹ in Australia

I examine the strange history of ›white sugar‹ in Australia. There, in the context of the ›White Australia policy‹, a movement emerged, backed by different social and political forces (amongst them not least the labour movement), for the production and consumption of doubly white sugar. It was not only supposed to be refined white but also produced white. To accomplish this goal the Australians – who, at that time, were amongst the highest global per-capita users of sugar – had to pay dearly for their racist notions of an entirely white society. The replacement of ›coloured‹ by ›white‹ work resulted in higher wages, and the more expensive Australian sugar had to be preserved from foreign competition by protective duties. This could only function because the demand for a consumption of whiteness was embedded in an extensive ›white‹ culture.