Noel Pearson and others have insisted the Voice referendum ‘is not about race’. Does that make sense linguistically? The word ‘race’ has been part of our language since the mid-1500s. It came into English from a Middle French word meaning a ‘group of people connected by common descent’. And according to the Oxford English Dictionary that remains the core meaning of the word: ‘An ethnic group, regarded as showing a common origin and descent’.
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