I am sure many of you have seen the ‘The Invisible Discriminator’ social advertisement by Beyond Blue which is now a well known social campaign that shows the devastating psychological effect that subtle racism has on Indigenous Australians.
When I first saw this ad on TV, it glued me to the screen and made me wonder if racism is really such a big problem in such a beautiful country like Australia. Paul Knight, Managing Director at Indig HR, started this conversation on LinkedIn in our Australian Public Sector LinkedIn Group, which gladly caused some great discussions. I must admit I am pleased to see that so many people understand the importance of education and racism awareness.
The campaign includes TV advertisements showing non-Indigenous Australians engaging in subtly racist acts such as treating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with suspicion. It is a heart breaking video of people being scared of, ashamed of or suspicious of due to their racial background.
The TNS survey for BeyondBlue, of 1000 non-indigenous Australians, alarmingly found almost ten per cent of non-indigenous respondents admit they would not hire an Aboriginal jobseeker.
A recent survey of Aboriginal people in Victoria found 97 per cent of respondents had experienced at least one racist incident in the past 12 months
“Racism is linked to anxiety, depression, poor mental health, psychological distress, suicide risk, diabetes, smoking, alcohol and substance misuse and emotional and behavioural difficulties,” Commissioner Gooda said. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that indigenous Australians are twice as likely to die by suicide as non-indigenous Australians, and are almost three times more likely to experience psychological distress.
An international review led by the University of Melbourne has found children and young people experience poor mental health, depression and anxiety following experiences of racism. “The review showed there are strong and consistent relationships between racial discrimination and a range of detrimental health outcomes such as low self-esteem, reduced resilience, increased behaviour problems and lower levels of wellbeing.”
In order to help our Indigenous community, we need to attract as many forces as we can including local and federal Government, Health Institutions, Community representatives, media and others.
Jacqueline McGowan-Jones, Executive Director Aboriginal Education Department of Education, WA, and one of our Indigenous Education & Transitions conference speaker, will be talking about long-term partnership between indigenous people and the Australian government. Why is it so important?
A few months back, Indigenous Advisory Council chairman, and our speaker, Warren Mundine warned Tony Abbott against changing Australia’s racial discrimination laws which followed by the recent Attorney-General George Brandis’s comment about people “having the right to be bigots” which was, in fact, found “quite bizarre”. Mr Abbott says the goal is to remove restrictions on “free speech”. However Mundine doesn’t not recognise the good in the reform. “We have thousands of years of history of bigotry, of racism, and how people have been treated – and I’ve been treated badly,” says Warren. Tony Abbot claims though that racial abuse will be prohibited.
Warren will also be joining our conference contributing into examining the current indigenous education landscape.
Whether it is discrimination laws reforms, education or workplace environment, Australian government is committed to cooperate with the Indigenous Community, working towards a better future.
One of the key reform strategies of Closing the Gap, and a focus for the federal government, is enhancing indigenous education achievement and employment outcomes. Our Indigenous Education & Transitions conference on the 25th & 26th Of November 2014 will focus specifically on strengthening transitions for Indigenous students from school into further education, training and employment.