Racism in Australia: An Essay

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In Australia’s society it’s essential to have respect for others rights, needs and viewpoints due to the idea of all people are created equal and that government or society should not unjustifiably restrict what individuals can think, say or worship, whom they associate with and how they enjoy the rewards of their work.

Racism is defined by the Australian Human Rights Commission as ‘racism takes many forms and can happen in many places; it includes prejudice, discrimination or hatred directed at someone because of their color, ethnicity or national region’. Australia is known as a very culturally diverse country, about half of Australians were born overseas or had one or more parents born overseas. It is stated by the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion survey in 2016 that 20% of Australians had experienced racial or religious discrimination during the past 12 months, these numbers are made up of diverse cultures such as Asian, Indian, Muslim, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Africans. Majority of the cases reported are in public areas including transport areas, in streets and shops (32% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents experienced racial discrimination from local shop owners and/or staff and 7 out of 10 Muslims reported experiencing racism on public transport or on the street). The constant exposure to racism in people’s daily lives, in the media, hearing it in the Australian parliament, being confronted by it every day will undermine people’s sense of self. It can strip away self-worth and confidence in engaging in the Australian society around them. It indefinitely contributes to feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness that leads to far too many of people taking their lives. It is recorded that racism is a factor in the suicide and mental health crisis gripping our communities, examples of this can be described as depression, anxiety, stress, anger and constant fear of verbal or physical abuse. Racism is not only seen within the public, racism can occur anywhere including schools, workplaces, sports, media and online.

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Australia’s culture is flooded with sports Australia is most known for their professional AFL, NRL, BBL and Cricket teams, it is estimated 60% of Australians (11 million) are involved in sports. Racism is widely seen within the AFL (been around for 123 years), the earliest incident being in 1993 and the issue is still present to this day. One of the most known cases of racism seen in AFL is the Adam Goodes saga, in May 2013, during the AFL’s indigenous round, a 13-year-old Collingwood supporter called Goodes an 'ape' (who later apologized to Goodes, did not realize that what she had said was a racial slur). Over the following years Goodes was repeatedly booed at majority of the games he attended. The booing was foreseen to most as unacceptable and motivated by racism, either because those booing felt affronted by his race or by the political positions Goodes had taken on racial issues. Later in 2015 Goodes celebrated a goal by performing an Indigenous war dance in which he acted in throwing an imaginary spear in the direction of the Carlton supporters. Goodes intended this act as an expression of Indigenous pride during the Indigenous Round, not in an offensive or to intimidate the crowd. Following these events Goodes decided the best option was to retire from his beloved sport and end his career short. Goodes would later join ‘Racism It Stops with Me’ scheme in 2019. However, racism in Australian sports isn’t always at the professional league or adult league. Junior sports also face the same attitudes towards foreign players. Osman Jebara (the Paramatta Eels NRL coach) migrated from Lebanon to Australia at a young age, and can still vividly recount his first encounter with racism. In an interview with the ABC Osman states “when I was 12 years old, I was stopped on the street by an older man in a car. He looked at me and then said 'You're a f**king wog. You're a f**king wog, aren't you?'', - he recalls. “I was just a kid … and I didn't want to say anything to him. So, I just kept quiet and didn't look back at him”. Racism is still highly evident within the Australian sporting culture, with the most recent case being only two weeks ago at the start of September 2020.

A national survey of more than 2000 people found 82% of Asian Australians had experienced discrimination, along with 81% of Australians with a Middle Eastern background and 71% were Indigenous Australians. Most Asian Australians reported being discriminated against at shops and restaurants, followed by in the workplace or educational institutions. In September of 2019 the ANU poll surveyed 1996 adults. Results if the ANU poll were astonishing with the highest reports being 82% Asian Australians, 81% Middle Eastern Australians and 71% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. When asked where they experienced racial discrimination 65% accounted in the workplace. Ms Nguyen (legal director of PWC Australia and former president of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association) stated “the barriers included systemic racism and prejudice - including ‘unconscious bias’, which refers to attitudes that people are not aware they have”. A toxic workplace environment leads to a lack of psychological safety for its employees. This leads to disengagement, lower productivity and higher staff turnover, their creativity and innovation begin to suffer, harm towards health and an organization’s productivity and possible boycott of businesses and negative reputations. Australia’s attitudes and values of one another dependent of their race or ethnicity within the workplace is appalling as seen via the national and ANU surveys statistics.

Racism in Australian schooling is quite present as racism is seen within primary and high school students. Researchers from the Australian National University and Western Sydney University surveyed 4,600 primary and secondary students on their experiences of racial discrimination in schools. The study found that 40% of students from years 5-9 from non-Anglo or European backgrounds reported experiencing racial discrimination by their peers, 20% of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds reported experiencing racial discrimination from their teachers and 1 in 3 students from non-Anglo or European backgrounds reported experiences of racial discrimination in schooling. With racism being so prominent in Australian Schools, effects will be a large factor when determining the student’s future attitudes and beliefs to different races. Students who experience racism often consist of having reduced levels of self-confidence and feelings of insecurity or failure, reduced levels of self-esteem and self-worth and feel that they have no place in the schooling system. These incidents may lead to a rejection of their own culture, language and values and a subsequent loss of identity. Students who have been subjected to racism are frequently unable to concentrate in class and may be unwilling to participate or take risks in learning due to fear or being ridiculed, racism is also linked with diminished morale, lower productivity and an increase in the incidence of stress and absenteeism. As stated by the above statistics racism is a blatant factor when addressing attitudes, mental health and lack of education seen within Australia’s schooling system.

As noticed by the above statistics, it can be concluded that racism is still a present and large issue when discussing the importance of having respect for others rights, needs and viewpoints due to the extent of the effects in which it can cause within all generations.

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Racism in Australia: An Essay. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/racism-in-australia-an-essay/
“Racism in Australia: An Essay.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/racism-in-australia-an-essay/
Racism in Australia: An Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/racism-in-australia-an-essay/> [Accessed 25 Jul. 2024].
Racism in Australia: An Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2024 Jul 25]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/racism-in-australia-an-essay/
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