Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

New campaign highlights effect of subtle racism

Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative has welcomed the launch of a Beyondblue campaign that highlights the damage subtle racism can cause.

SIONNIE KELLY August 7, 2014 3:32am

Leon Saunders

Beyondblue has launched an Australian-first campaign called the Invisible Discriminator that plans to show the psychological effect subtle racism can have on Indigenous people.

The campaign will use television, billboard and online advertisements to show non-Indigenous people acting subtly racist towards Indigenous people by avoiding them or treating them with suspicion. Beyondblue commissioned TNS Social Research to do an online survey of more than 1000 Australians to learn their thoughts on discrimination.

The survey found 42 per cent of non-Indigenous people believed Indigenous people received unfair advantages from the government, 37 per cent believed they were sometimes lazy and 31 per cent thought they should behave more like ‘‘other Australians’’.

Rumbalara community support officer Leon Saunders said the campaign was a great idea.

‘‘It’s really ignorance, you’ve got to walk in someone else’s shoes before you can judge anyone or discriminate,’’ he said.

Mr Saunders said it was important to give everyone in the community a chance no matter what race they were.

‘‘We’ve lost a lot of young people and it’s a very sad plight on our young people and you don’t know what they’re going through,’’ he said.

‘‘All we ask is give our young ones a go to walk through your door, give them the training and they’ll be outstanding citizens in our community. It all comes back to respecting other people’s culture and beliefs, isn’t giving a person a fair go the Australian way?’’

Beyondblue chief executive Georgie Harman said many people were unconsciously biased towards others.

‘‘Unfortunately, many people don’t realise when they are discriminating against Indigenous people and therefore, don’t understand the profound effect it has on how they feel about themselves,’’ she said.

‘‘This campaign challenges everyone to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and ask how they would feel if they were treated with suspicion, laughed at and avoided.’’

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