Acting on incidents of Racism
Once racism or discrimination has been identified it is important that an intervention eliminates the likelihood of it recurring and also educates the perpetrator of the harm that their actions, words or policies cause, so that they or the organisation are able to address biassed attitudes, policies and procedures that impact others.
Calling out racism can come in many forms and there are instances where intervening in physical or online spaces may not be safe or appropriate, however, there are other ways that you may contribute to combating racism that is witnessed. Reporting an incident to the appropriate place can assist in identifying patterns that may be elicited from particular individuals, spaces, organisations or platforms. Data plays a significant role in identifying racism within our community and also guiding reform to policies which relate to racism. Reporting incidents when they occur contributes to data which represents the lived experiences of the Australian population. The Racism. It Stops With Me website provides a number of ways you can report incidents such as:
Other methods of reporting incidents of racism may include:
- Reporting to your supervisor or manager;
- Anonymous feedback surveys to businesses and platforms;
- Call It Out Register
A key document in Australia that serves to protect people in Australia against discrimination and racial bias is the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA). This particular document has been adopted in Australia to protect individuals against the harms of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
Despite attempts by parliamentarians and specifically the federal government’s attempt to repeal section 18C in 2014, a FairFax poll in March 2014 found that 88 per cent of people agreed that it should remain unlawful to offend or humiliate someone on the basis of their race. Whilst debate continues on the limitations that 18C poses to freedom of speech there remains consensus around the need for this section to maintain the ‘balance between freedom from racial vilification and freedom of speech’. Attempts to water down the Racial Discrimination Act threaten to increase the acceptability of discrimination and racism in Australia. Despite the existence of the RDA, the Australian Reconciliation Barometer 2022 report highlighted that racism continues to impact on the right to live a life free from racial discrimination.