Causes of Racial Discrimination in Australia
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Published: Mon, 02 Oct 2017
Racial discrimination is any conduct based on a distinction, which have no relation either to individual capacities or to the concrete behavior of the individual person (Brodersen,1999).The issue is extremely significant as it involves the rights of people. This report aims to outline the issue of racial discrimination in Australia by providing background information and explaining its significance to society. This report discusses the main reason of which cause racial discrimination in Australia, what social issues will arise if racial discrimination is not addressed properly and how to address racial discrimination.
- What is the main cause of racial discrimination in Australia?
- What issues will arise in society if racial discrimination is not addressed?
- How can racial discrimination been eliminated?
What is the main cause of racial discrimination in Australia?
Racial discrimination has always been a serious issue in Australia, since more and more immigrants poured into Australia, the migration of Australia grows
rapidly. Figure 1(Dixon, 2013) presents the number of immigrants into Australia from 2005 to 2006. It is clearly shows that approximately half of the immigrants are Asian, followed by European and Africa.
Figure1: The nationality of immigration into Australia in 2005-2006 (Dixon, 2013)
There are reasons for racial discrimination still happening in a modern country like Australia. Firstly, it is the history of Australia that causes the racial discrimination. It stretches back to the 19th century, with the increasing of gold prospectors, causing Australia ethnic contradictions tend to deepen. Therefore, the immigration policy limit non-white immigrations to Australia, particularly Asian immigrations, this is the “white Australia policy”(Dixon,2013).
On the other hand, the indigenous people also played an important role in racial discrimination. Since 1788, Captain Phillip led the first European whites began to come to Australia. At the same time, different color, different beliefs of immigration continuously come to this remote continent (Mukherjee 2014).However, many indigenous people were living in the Australian mainland and they had clan groups. The whites broke the quiet life of the indigenous people by thinking that the territory was free for them to use. The whites even took the land that the aboriginal live on, which completely ignored the existence of the indigenous people and their needs. Even when Australia federated in 1901, the Constitution did not classify Aboriginal people as Australian citizens.
Since 1788, captain Phillip led the first European whites began to come to Australia. At the same time, different color, different beliefs of immigration continuously come to this remote continent. After the Second World War, many new countries appeared in Asia. It was going to be bad for Australia if it continues
to enforce the white Australia policy. “In 1958, the federal government abolished the white Australia policy. Then the Australian immigration will proceed without
discrimination of race, color, religion policy” (Chingaipe, 2014).This policy is a great progress, liberate the limitation of people who are likely to immigrate to Australia.
Furthermore, “For many white-Australians, there was a fear of loss and displacement” (The Guardian,2014). Fear is one of the biggest contributors of racism especially because the whites are worried that the foreign populations would replace them. Figure 2 represents the population increasing in Australia in 2001-2006, it can be seen that Chinese is the mainstream country of migration (Hong,2007).Many Australian felt threatened by the Chinese, who were known to be hard workers and to be accustomed to working long hours. They think those cheap labors would take the jobs of the white-Australian workers. Therefore, it would lower the working standards for white-Australian workers. It was these racist beliefs which formed the basis of a growing notion to keep non-whites out of Australia.
Figure2: Increase in Population in 2001 to 2006 by state in Australia (Hong,2007)
In conclusion, the existence of racial discrimination is due to numerous factors. Both historical root and more and more immigrants are the most important reasons why racism can not disappear. In addition, due to racism does alive in Australia, different kinds of social issues become to arise.
What issues will arise in society if racial discrimination is not addressed?
It probably will become a negative impact on people’s mental and physical health
if racism still exists. The research to date shows that racism makes a significant contribution to these health outcomes. For instance, it would cause diabetes and other external diseases, which can be seen in figure 3 (humanrights,2012). It’s well known that Indigenous Australians have a far lower life expectancy than other Australians and have exceedingly high rates of diseases and other health problems preciselyas aresultofracism.
Figure 3: Selected underlying causes of death as proportion of total deaths, by Indigenous status 2009 (humanrights, 2012)
A report shows that more than 27% of Aboriginal people had experienced discrimination in 2012-2013. Also, 75% of Aboriginal people frequently experiences race discrimination when using primary health care services(Szoke,2012) .According to this, it is evident to say that not only racial discrimination is still alive in Australia, but has also caused numerous grim tribulations to the Aboriginal peoples, who are the majority of the victims. Despite being part of society, they still can not use the public facilities or welfare services successfully, and endures the injustice caused by the native people.
Secondly, racial discrimination might tend to cause people to do unhealthy activities such as smoking, alcohol and drug taking. It even contributes to people committing suicide. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that Indigenous Australians are twice as likely to die by suicide, and three times more likely to experience psychological distress (The Guardian, 2014).Due to those unjust treatments, the stress that the aboriginal person suffer from is far more than the whites. When they are in a public place, people will tell a joke behind their backs. When the indigenous children study at school, they would be isolated by other non-indigenous children. All of these situations appear very often during their whole life, and the consequences of these are participating in unhealthy activities.
Furthermore, racism also affects people’s employment opportunities. The unemployment of Indigenous people far exceeds the non-indigenous people. According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), “only 55.8 per cent of working age Indigenous Australians are actively participating in the labor force, compared to 76.4 per cent of the non-Indigenous population”(Busyatwork, 2013). Also, from figure 4, it states that the employment outcomes for the Indigenous population are mostly in a negative growth. In contrast, employment outcomes for the non-Indigenous population stayed relatively stable. The gap in outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians becomes widened .In fact, there is no doubt that the employer would rather to employ a non-indigenous person than an indigenous person, which is theirinherent cognition. However, such a behavior ignores the feeling of the indigenous people and also plunders their job opportunities without a reason.
Figure 4: Change in Indigenous employment outcomes by state – 2006 to 2011
(The conversation, 2012)
In conclusion, it is obvious that racism has become a significant influence among the indigenous people. They suffer from a variety of harms without a reason, even violence. All of these stresses will cause health problems to them. Consequences are racial discrimination causes them to never be same as other local people, who are treated more fairly.
How can racial discrimination be eliminated?
In actual fact, there is no specific way to solve racial discrimination at all. However, it can be diminished a little through some solutions. For example, education that insists on racial equality can decrease racial discrimination. Also, both government and the media power would play a significant role.
Firstly, the easiest and effective solution here is education. Parents and teachers should not tell any racist jokes to the children as by these jokes, children might consider racism as a correct thing. Furthermore, they should teach children racial equality and there are no superior races or anything (Szoke,2012). As they learn from young that racism is criminal and a serious thing, they are not going to do it again when they grow up. Therefore, racial discrimination will be improved bit by bit from a generation to the next generation.
On the other hand, the law that relates to eliminating racism should be promulgated by the government, which can restrict some extreme behaviors. The Racial Discrimination Act was enacted in 1975. “The Act prohibits race discrimination and gives people who have been discriminated against, whether in the workplace, education or in accessing goods and services, the opportunity to obtain redress by apply for complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission”(Thomson,2012). The Act is such an effective in eradicating discriminations such as people not being hired or could not get access to services because of their race. This act protects people who experience direct or indirect discrimination and they cancomplainto the Commission which also creates a chance to protect their rights(Sweet,2014).The act gives effect to Australia’sinternational human rights commitment. Once when someone gets unfair treatment from others, the act allows him or her to complain. Although the act does not work well, it does minimize the racial discrimination.
It is impossible to get rid of racial discrimination completely in Australia, which is a deep existence in the culture more than numbers of years. Everyone has their own
human right and they should protect and insist to their own right. Racism is an unrealistic thought and also could not be solved effortlessly at this moment. However, some organizations and institutions, including government and the media, can implement some measures to achieve denial of racism ultimately.
Albeit racial discrimination does live in Australia due to many reasons, it does not mean that people have to adapt it or endure it without any reactions. In the evidence being shown here in the report, the government does do some helpful implements to minimize racism. Therefore, it can be said that as long as the government, the media powers and the individual person who are willing to contribute, it would make a bright future to the next generation.
The biggest problem was finding a relevant table or figure and that took me the longest time. Therefore, I need to search for them through other ways. In addition, I have to search the information that relevant to Australia only and more recent ones. Thus, it makes it more difficult to find. I did find out other resources- the e-book, which is a good reference for my report. All information in e-book is good to be used. However, it is hard to paraphrase some words. Moreover, it is best that the reference link is done with each question, otherwise it would be quite wasting time to do that later.
A clear point in the presentation is that not only you can hint the audience what you are talking about, but you also can summarize briefly the point. Making a good example relating to the topic can impress the audience. Also, showing a video can attract the attention of the audience so it would not let the presentation be boring. In a presentation, a simplified analysis is good for the audience to know the idea. And through the analysis, the audience can comprehend better what you said. Last but not least, practice is quite important. Through the repetitious practice, it will be the best way to feel confident.
Keeping each question separately is a good idea which does save much time. When you want to do some changes, it is easier just to look for the file you saved, and correct it. After each part is finished and all of them have been checked correctly and then combined together, it makes it more efficient and also it would help to form a good structure.
It is necessary to search information from different areas, rather than only from websites. Moreover, when the graph or table has been used in the report, it had better be saved in a separate file, as it would easier to correct. Once each question is finished, the reference list had better be finished as well. It will be difficult to go back to write the reference after the whole report has been done.It really wastes time. This time, I am not good at linking some relevant tables or graphs, as it is just a few there, and I need large amount of time to do that. Thus, I will definitely do that in future to make sure my report include as much information as possible.
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Dixon,R 2013 “Immigration and the “White Australia Policy” viewed 30 July 2014
Humanrights, 2012 “Questions and Answers about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples” viewed 11 August 2014
“John Howard the false nationalist: Just another traitor in patriot clothing”,2008, destinymagazine,14 February, viewed 30 July 2014
McCarthy.M 2008, Racism and Structural Solutions, viewed 26 August 2014
Mukherjee,R 2014,“Top 10 Reasons Why Racism still exists” Istcrux, viewed 30 July 2014
Personally-selected-aboriginal-art,2010 “A Short Aboriginal History ”viewed 30 July 2014
Sweet.M 2014, The Racial Discrimination Act needs strengthening – not weakening: a public health perspective, viewed 27 August 2014
Szoke, H 2012 “Racism exists in Australia – are we doing enough to address it?”, human rights, viewed 11 August,2014
The conversation,2012, “Closing the gap on Indigenous employment? Notquite” 31 October,viewed 11 August 2014
The Guardian 2014, Racism causing mental health issues in Indigenous communities, survey shows, viewed 11 August 2014,
Thomson, N 2010, review of indigenous male health, viewed 11 August 2014,
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