One in five young Australians would move from where they are sitting or standing if an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander sat or stood next to them according to a recent survey.
The survey also found that the same percentage would ‘keep an eye’ on an Aboriginal while in a supermarket or store, and more than one in three young Australians believe that indigenous people are ‘lazy’ and have been given an ‘unfair advantage by the government’.
These findings have been published and collated by Beyond Blue Australia, who have recently launched a new television advertising campaign aiming to stop racial stereotyping and discrimination.
The ad, shown above, has been running on our screens since Monday, and it is an authentic look at the realities of discrimination against our indigenous brothers and sisters. It is a short, yet effective campaign which ascertains the attitudes, assumptions, intentions, and behaviours behind discrimination against indigenous Australians; and it begs us to question why in this day and age we still feel the need to have or to maintain negative views and biases on indigenous people.
Beyond Blue chairman Jeff Kennett said he was concerned about the impact of racism upon the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Australians.
“Racism, like any form of discrimination, leads to distress, which in turn can lead to depression and anxiety.”
The message of Beyond Blue’s “Stop. Think. Respect” campaign is simple; stop and think about your behaviour before engaging in any form of stereotyping, racial, or discriminatory conduct.
It is a message which sadly shouldn’t have to be pushed, yet the facts remain that indigenous Australians are amongst the most depressed in our nation, and that the rate of distress amongst Aboriginal people is three times higher than those non-indigenous Australians. The rate of suicide amongst Aboriginal people is also on average two-and-a-half times higher than non-indigenous persons.
“Why should anyone be made to feel like crap, just for being who they are?”
Imagine being judged, criticised, shamed, and put down based on your appearance? Can you imagine what it would feel like having someone get up and move to another seat on the train or bus because of your ethnicity? Being abused for being of a different skin colour? Being turned down at a job interview because of your heritage?
We need to put an end to this gross, unnecessary, abusive behaviour by:
Stopping it: If you notice yourself or somebody else engaging in the discriminatory behaviour as outlined in the campaign, you need to stop your thoughts or call that other person out and re-align and re-educate your thoughts.
Thinking about it: Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Respect others differences. Think about what it would feel like if someone was engaging in this behaviour towards you or a loved one.
Respecting those who are affected by it: Respect other peoples differences, backgrounds, and cultures. Get educated on the impact of racial discrimination and learn about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures and traditions.