One thing about Australia is that there is always a hesitation to confront that issue that the country is a “racist one”. This is why campaigns which highlight the detrimental effects of racism in Australia is always important to highlight and just a few weeks ago, “The Racism. It Stops With Me” campaign was launched by the Race Discrimination office of The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
For those who have been doing community work for a very long time would remember that this was the similar campaign launched back in 2012 by the former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutsphommasane. At that time, the campaign was called “Racism. It Stops With Me” with AFL superstar Adam Goodes being the campaign’s ambassador after he called out the racism he has received as a First Nations AFL player by the crowds. This new anti-racism campaign features several ambassadors (which is different from the old one) including Kamilaroi and Yorta Yorta woman Keyarny Lamb, former Socceroo Craig Foster, and cross-cultural consultant Tasneem Chopra among others.
The ambassadors appear in a public service announcement where they are asked questions about their experiences of racism, discrimination and inequality. There is a good cross sections of cultural backgrounds and includes those of white/Anglo background, to show that as a white person with skin colour privilege in Australia, there still is a responsibility to acknowledge and call out the privilege and the racism which often occurs in Australia.
Here are some comments offered by the Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan about the importance of the campaign (via SBS News):
“Racism is a long-standing problem in Australia,”
“It denies people the opportunity to access justice and equality, whether we are in the arena of employment, health, or the legal justice system.
“By standing together against racism, we can then build a more just, fair, equal, and safe society for us all.”
The campaign is a response to recent events that were posing a barrier to racial equality in Australia, particularly the “continued anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, in the surge of anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, and in the rise of far-right extremism,”
In addition to the public service announcement video, there is a new website featuring educational resources about structural and interpersonal racism, as well as a tool to help organisations evaluate and improve their inclusion, diversity and anti-racism practices.
You can check out the website via this link. A needed campaign for sure, but of course more work needs to be done to combat the racism in Australia at all levels.
FYI, the COVID-19 Racism Incident Report Survey created by the Asian Australian Alliance is also featured on the site. You can access it by going to this page: https://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/take-action/responding-to-racism .
Images via the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) website and The Racism. It Stops With Me Campaign YouTube.