11 thoughts on “The State of Racism in Australia

  1. I’m calling BS on this one. 7 in 10 teenagers experience racism ? How is that possible ? 7 in 10 is a majority, so I’m not sure how mistreatment of minorities can apply on that scale. I do know that plenty of teenagers learn the keywords to use to get attention, and overapply them to themselves, so you may get that response if you ASK some teenagers that question. But, my 17 year old does not really know what racism is, she’d call any type of prejudice, racism. 7 in 10 teenagers probably feel pressured to conform to societal norms that are unreasonable ( especially regarding how they look ), but that is not racism.

    I’m interested to know where the $55k figure comes from. If it’s ‘per complaint’, is that how much is spent on following up each complaint, on average ? So, the cost is the cost to do something about it, or a cost endemic in the actual racism ?

    It also troubles me to see the last line being a call for donations, that lowers the likelihood of unbiased reporting, IMO. I agree that racism is a real and probably growing problem. I’m all for fixing it. I am just not sure that everything being claimed here, is true, and the first step in my mind, is to make sure your claims are unassailable, before making them.

  2. Hi Christian, you make some fair points here, after all the list of research reports where these statistics come from is really small at the bottom of the infographic!

    None of the research is ours, however all our work is based on Australian research by academics and other researchers. You can get direct links to the reports behind each of these statistics from here: http://alltogethernow.org.au/racism/

    Specifically, the research about teenage racism comes from a report written by the Foundation of Young Australians (FYA), and the research about the $55k cost comes from the NSW government.

    As for asking for donations, All Together Now is a not-for-profit organisation, which means we have costs that we must pay for in order to continue our work (like insurance, for example). If people want to see us continue to produce evidence-based anti-racism campaigns (and we’re the only not-for-profit in Australia consistently doing this), we need to ask for and collect donations.

    • I have no complaints with not for profit organisations, I support quite a few. My point really is just that, in order to ask for donations, it’s not surprising that the most shocking statistics would be used, although they may not be the most reliable.

      I’m mostly saying that some of the conclusions seem to defy logic. As I said a ‘Foundation of Young Australians’ self reporting racism is almost guaranteed to over report. The suggestion is that there are places where a minority of kids, make fun of the majority for being ‘different’.

      Do you have a link to the NSW government document ? I am keen to know if they are talking about government generated costs in responding, or pure economic costs, and how they are justified.

      One way or another, for 1 % of kids to be subjected to racism, is too many. I do admire what you’re doing and think racism needs to be actively stamped out. I’m just pedantic enough to both think that, AND respond when I agree with the aim, but think the message might be flawed or at least require clarification 🙂

  3. the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.[24]

    People of “asian” appearance, suffer racism but also have been known to be racist against others.
    When people say “wog” this is racism.
    When Pacific Islanders stick to themselves and don’t mix or blend with others, this makes one feel that they are racist.
    When, someone calls another a white “c*nt” this is racism!
    Racism is not a black & white issue (pun not intended) however a huge grey area that, unless you are educated in sociology (racial issues specifically) you really should shut your mouth!
    My children are Afro-Aussies and they have received racism! At age 4!!

    • Danielle, it’s also worth remembering that often race is just an obvious card for weak minded people to play. I am a white anglo saxon male. I don’t get discriminated against for much, so I don’t know what it’s like. I do have an overweight daughter, and I’ve always told her, the people calling her fat, would call her something else if she was thin. Race/weight/etc are often not the issue, the issue is someone starting out looking to hurt someone, and then looking for a way to do it. The best solution is to raise your kids to be resilient, you can teach them coping skills a lot more easily than you can change all of society.

      • But it does have to do with race/weight/etc. If your daughter was thin, they might still pick on her, or they may pick on the other person for being different (The poor kid, the fat kid, or the one who isn’t white). Similarly, if an Asian student is white, they may still be attacked for a different reason, or the attacks they would otherwise have received may be sent to a person who stand out more.

        True, it’s easier to teach people to “Deal with it” rather than change society….but just getting people to be resilient changes nothing. African-americans would still be segregated if all the civil rights movement was concerned about was being resilient. Marital rape and date rape would still be supported in law if women were taught just to be resilient. And it’s worryingly close to blame/fix the victim mentality. The victim is not at fault here. Society is at fault and should be taught to change.

        You’re a white Anglo-Saxon male. So am I. That comes with a certain amount of privilege in this would, privilege that we aren’t aware of, and aren’t aware that people live in the absence of this privilege. I really recommend doing a search for “White privilege” and “Male privilege” online to see the secret world you and I don’t ever have to experience.

        I had no idea how much racism and discrimination occurs in Australia, until I heard it first hand from friends and family, and saw it directly. See people being turned over for jobs because their name was a bit too ethnic, workers assumed to know nothing about their job because of their accent, constant indecent propositions from strangers (in the freakin’ streets) because they stand out, outright dismissals at stores by attendants because no one can be bothered to listen to them.

        We think these problems are small, because we don’t have to deal with them. We think people can just get over them, because we never have to get over them. But if we step out of our comfort zone (A white guy going to a foreign country, or a straight man going to a gay bar) can give the tiniest inkling of what is the norm for most people in the world.

  4. Christian, while bullying is a problem, it is not the same thing as discrimination. It is certainly not the same thing as systematic discrimination.

    To take the example of your daughter, since you brought her up; you are right, people certainly would call her something else if she were thin. But is that because they dislike her and are bullying her – the person they know – or is it because society has taught us that it’s okay to police women’s weight?

    • It’s because society has taught us to judge women on their weight, so when they see she is an easy target ( that is, she is insecure ), that’s what they zero in on. If we were Asian, and she was thin, the same people would zero in on that, but they’d be as concerned about her race, as they are about her weight.

      I see the differences, but I still maintain that there’s something fundamentally the same about people who look to belittle others, and looking for an excuse to do so.

      • Why is your daughter insecure then? It wouldn’t be because she knows there’s an ideal beauty standard society expects women to conform to, and that she doesn’t fit that ideal, would it?

        Yes, if your daughter were thin, or Asian people would still zero in on her insecurity, because she most likely WOULD still be insecure because she would still be a woman or non-white and a woman and would therefore still be experiencing institutionalised discrimination. Which she would know about far more than you, a white man who by his own admission barely experiences discrimination at all.

        Can you see how this works yet?

        PS. For the benefit of your daughter, and in the hope that you have her welfare at heart, the ideal beauty standard for women is literally non-viable. Fit models, who are the people fashion labels tailor their clothes to are usually on the verge of starvation.

        I also recommend Kaz Cooke’s books if you’re looking for something that boosts self esteem while giving well researched and factually correct information on body image targeted at girls.

  5. I suspect societal pressures have something to do with it, but it’s also her personality to make a victim of herself. It’s complicated. I’ve certainly raised her to respect herself and see that her worth cannot be found on a set of scales. Of course, I deplore that our society sends these sorts of messages to women, although in my observation, it’s more other women doing it, than men.

    Yes, it is true that I have the luxury of not having anything for people to discriminate against. I was still bullied all through high school, just for being different in other ways ( essentially a lack of ball skills, and a high level of literacy, combined with poor social skills ). So, I do know first hand that, if you’re vulnerable, the bullies will find the weak spot, what ever it is. I do think that cries of sexism are often wide of the mark, I don’t think there is much of it any more. For example, my daughter went to a girl’s school and was full of moral indignation that women are paid less than men. However, plenty of studies have established that most men earn about the same as most women, but men tend to get the really high paying jobs, because they are willing to throw away all work/life balance, and their family life, to get high paying jobs. This is, of course, a gross generalisation, but it IS true, on average, and thus skews the figures. On the other hand, when I was hiring two new programmers, one senior and one junior, there was only one candidate we considered seriously for the senior role. That she was the only female who applied was never a factor in any of our thinking. We cared about who was most capable, and I am sure most employers are the same.

    I’ve downloaded the app offered by the people who wrote the post at the head of this. I am aware that I can’t possibly know that discrimination is, in the way that those who experience it, have. I am interested in seeing it through, and trying to broaden my understanding.

    I am well aware of the issues with what is presented as ‘ideal’ for women, and how much the images they see, are altered, etc. My daughter has a number of Kaz Cooke’s books, I’ve been pretty proactive in giving her resources, trying to make sure she knows she can talk to me, offering her support, and so on. But, I appreciate the suggestion. Raising girls is tough, and society does not make it easier.

    I can still remember when the film Titanic came out, and people were amazed that Kate Winslett appeared semi naked in the film, and that this was a victory for overweight women. Except, she looked incredible. And, I see a lot of that. The definition of overweight, seems to be ‘girls who look normal’, not actual obesity. That’s how far we’ve come from realising the range of what is normal for the female shape. I think the only possible defence, is to see the media for what it is, and to live your life apart from it, in terms of understanding what is real and what is important. That is, more than anything, what I’ve tried to teach my daughter. The media is trying to keep you insecure, so you’ll spend more money. You can choose to not take part.

  6. Pingback: I’m not racist but … – /media. and me`/

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