Racism takes many forms and can happen in many places. It includes prejudice, discrimination or hatred directed at someone because of their colour, ethnicity or national origin. People often associate racism with acts of abuse or harassment; however, it doesn’t need to involve violent or intimidating behaviour. Sometimes racism can occur in more subtle ways. The Human Rights Commission provides further definition of what is racism?
Much of the racism that occurs can be characterised as casual racism – everyday incidents of racism that aren't necessarily violent or consciously malicious, but perpetuate stereotypes about different cultures through jokes and offhand comments.
Racism can also be systemic – that is, some groups and organisations can have rules that seem to be fair to everyone – but in actual fact these rules often make things more difficult for people from particular cultural or ethnic backgrounds.
Racism also includes treating someone less fairly because of their ethnic identity, religion, cultural practices or nationality.
Racism is more than just words, beliefs and actions. It includes all the barriers that prevent people from enjoying dignity and equality because of their race. Experiencing racism can have a detrimental effect on people’s health and welfare and this impacts the individual as well as our communities.
The “Do Something About Racism” bystander anti-racism campaign calls on members of the Western Sydney University community to act when they witness racism – that is to be active anti-racism bystanders. When bystanders don’t speak up to support the target of racism, this displays a lack of support for the person/s who is the target but also implies alliance with the perpetrator.
As part of the campaign the University ran training/workshops, a social marketing and communication campaign and a series of culturally and linguistically diverse community dinners. A research project was conducted in conjunction with the campaign asking the question: "Does participation in organisational bystander anti-racism activities increase knowledge about responding to racism and confidence to undertake bystander anti-racism at Western Sydney University?". The results of this research are summarised in the report "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Three Organisational Bystander Anti-Racism Strategies" (Opens in a new window)
What is Western Sydney University doing to combat racism?
Periodically the University holds Anti-Racism training workshops for all staff to understand the impact that racism has on the workplace and how to contribute in creating an inclusive workplace. There are also many research projects and anti-racism initiatives currently in place across the University such as: Celebrations of Cultural Diversity, provide accurate information to dispel ‘false beliefs’, everyday Anti-Racism and more.
Race discrimination is against the law. The law provides for protection in the workplace, in universities, and in the community amongst other places. If you feel you have been discriminated against, speak with the appropriate person in the circumstance. If you need further assistance you can contact the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW.