Part 3 of the sport of looking for racism series…
….But don’t be alarmed or lose hope. There are positive outcomes for perpetrators of racism
The infamous branding that the nation of Australia is racist, is reflective of the long-standing and problematic components of the white culture of this country. Of course, no one is inferring that every single person holds racist ideations and attitudes.
Some then argue that if this is the case then why individuate those individuals? That strategy of isolating individuals has been attempted time and time again but racist and xenophobic attitudes and behaviours persist and worsen e.g. the public opinions and treatment of asylum seekers. Another example is the enablement of the One Nation Party’s existence thus illustrating the hidden beliefs and attitudes of the majority of the country.
From that, it is then appropriate to hold the entire country accountable to reduce and eliminate tolerance of:
-political parties that overtly express their racist and xenophobic attitudes to a round of applause,
-“light-hearted racist and ignorant jokes” by comedians & hosts,
-an all Caucasian cast that also provides expert opinion on racial issues,
-bumper stickers that read “we are full” and
-extremist nationalists that still believe in the “White Australian Policy”.
Holding the country accountable forces legislation and policy to reflect the physical reality that is multiculturalism. Despite having a mixed pot of ethnicities, representation in parliament, media or in senior positions of power remain shamefully and “whitefully” homogenous hence the importance of holding the nation accountable.
The reason being that the notion of institutional racism perpetuates a cycle of systemic power imbalances. Prompting society to be accountable of the wrongfully accepted ignorance and bigotry will foster inclusivity of ethnic diversity in positions of power. By having balanced power and representation, cultural awareness and sensitivity will increase. Unified intolerance of bigoted views assists in weeding out those people that negatively portray this country as racist.
What can you do?
Be an ally
Being an ally assists in combating racist and discriminatory language and behaviours. This is achieved by being aware and correcting yourself or others for making ignorant comments.
To summarise an allies role, you can either confront the perpetrator on behalf of the victim or choose to remain silent but support the victim and/ or report the incident depending on the scenario and your comfortability. Allies recognise their own privilege (check your status on the diversity wheel), previous or ongoing unconscious biases about other races and most importantly they put in the mental work to change those attitudes
Now how do you recognise your privilege or notice that you are being racist? Simply put, it does begin and end with you. Whether you are uncertain about your privileged or racist status, the transtheoretical (stages of change) model can be applied here. The stages operate on a cyclical continuum as there is a possibility of relapse. I don’t want to bore you with the processes that lead to this change, therefore, I will simplify it.
Stages of change: racism edition
Depending on the stage of change you are, the Harvard Implicit Bias Test is a great place to start. I briefly mentioned this online quiz in an earlier article. It attempts to determine whether you have an increased or (un)favourable interest and view (bias) towards a certain race, ethnicity or religion etc. This is a great tool to use if you profusely disagree that you have any biases, privilege or even exercise racism.
As you progress through the stages, there is an element of recognition and motivation to change the problem. Strategies to address bias include but are not limited to:
-becoming self-aware and accountable for your internal and external dialogue and actions,
-educating yourself further if uncertain about a comment that may be perceived ignorant,
-having open dialogues to practice having appropriate conversations (some would call it political correctness, more on that later),
-being mindful and culturally sensitive when conversing with someone from a different background
-becoming an ally who calls out bias, privilege and racism amongst their friends, families and others,
-where you recognise your privilege, relinquish or use it to benefit everyone. Reliquishing your “head start in life” will truly foster equality because you will “run the same race as everyone“. Using your privilege encompasses uplifting those around you.
-seek true egalitarianism by recognising and addressing the inherent privilege that white Australians have e.g. systematic discrimination towards the Indigenous community e.g. in the work place or health care system
With that, I leave you with the ball in your court. Remember allies listen to survivors. They don’t darvo a survivor
From the roundtable of equality,