The impact of experiencing social exclusion, racism and discrimination cannot be overstated. It costs the Australian economy $45 billion a year and affects over 6 million people. The most known forms of racism and discrimination are interpersonal, as when someone is denied a promotion, discouraged from pursuing higher education, or denied service at a store or restaurant. However, discrimination often happens in more ‘subtle’ but equally damaging forms, when policies and practices in institutions ultimately create disadvantage and exclusion of groups due to their skin colour, ethnicity or religion. This is known as systemic discrimination.
According to Inclusive Australia’s 2019 Social Inclusion Index report, people who’ve reported experiencing discrimination in the last two years also reported 15% lower feelings of personal wellbeing and 7% lower identification with Australia, relative to those who reported not having faced discrimination.
What is encouraging is that a majority of the Australians surveyed also said that they would speak up if they saw discrimination occurring and more than half said that they would be willing to listen and validate the experience of people who claim to have experienced discrimination.
Be part of the change and take actions that reflect the community you want to live in.
If you experience discrimination on the basis of your race, ethnicity or religion, you can:
- Call (1300 292 153) or put in a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission
- Report to the Islamophobia Register
- Visit the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) or call Islamophobia Support online platform
- Visit the Anti-Defamation League to report anti-Semitic action
- Call 9328 206 for orientation on legal and psychological support services
If you see someone experiencing race, ethnicity or religion-based discrimination, you can:
- Stand by the victim, checking if they are ok and inviting them to move closer to you in public spaces;
- In public places and if safe, gently but firmly make the perpetrator know that the behaviour is not acceptable, and they should stop;
- Call the police for assistance, if required.
 Elias, A. Measuring the economic consequences of racial discrimination in Australia. Deakin University, 2015.
 Sternthal, M.J., Slopen, N. & Williams, D.R. Racial Disparities in health: how much does stress really matter? Bois Rev. Social Science Research Race 8, 95 – 11(2011).
 Williams, D.R., Yu, Y. Jackson, J.S. & Anderson, N.B. Racial differences in physical and mental health: Socio-economic status, stress and discrimination. J. Health Psychol. 2, 335 – 351 (1991).
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