Today in Australia, we are still seeking to articulate ways of addressing and regulating racist behaviour and other forms of discrimination and prejudice through actions such as recently proposed and controversial anti-discrimination laws. But these represent a response to only part of the problem. The cultural and attitudinal contexts in which racism takes place are complex, persistent and deeply rooted in how we define identity and belonging. The evidence suggests that not only is racism pervasive in the places where young people live, such as schools and local neighbourhoods, but is also related to how they define who "fits" in society and who doesn't. And while the language of policy around multiculturalism and cultural rights are under fierce debate, we have yet to articulate another means of describing and therefore addressing widespread racism in Australia today. Finding ways to address the bystander effect is an important part of how we can address racism. Another is to unambiguously affirm and nurture the cultures of diversity that must be present if the rights and other forms of legal recognition of diversity are to have any practical meaning in the everyday life of Australians, young and old. Schools are a good place to start. And we must do more than recognising this through the conventional "food and festivals" or one-off events like Harmony Day. We are talking about the very fabric of identity and society in contemporary life.
|Number of pages||1|
|Specialist publication||The Age|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Feb 2013|
- racism in schools, health and wellbeing, cultural diversity
- bystander effect