Racism is an ongoing problem in Australia. It directly affects significant numbers of Australians. In annual surveys, about one in five Australians report having experienced racial discrimination during the previous 12 months.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and certain migrant communities (such as African Australian communities) are much more likely to experience racism than other people.
Racism continues to take place in organisational settings. In a 2017 study, about one-third of surveyed Australians reported they had experienced racism in the workplace. Racism has severe health and economic consequences for its targets and is damaging to Australia’s social cohesion.
But talking about racism can be difficult. Many organisations do not discuss racism until they are faced with an incident of racism, such as a derogatory comment made by one person to another, or an instance of offensive behaviour. In the aftermath of a racist incident, organisations may not be well prepared to navigate the issues arising with the appropriate level of care. An overt incident may also be seen as an isolated occurrence rather than an indication of a more systemic problem. This may lead those who have experienced racism to feel unsupported, and risk more incidents happening in the future.
SOURCE: “Let’s talk race: a guide on how to conduct a conversation about racism.” Australian Human Rights Commission, June 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia