Marriam Bajawray 27/5/16
Are we born Racist or Are We Learnt it?
Are we enforcing Racism in Our kids? The question we need to ask ourselves as Australians everyday.
“1 in 5 School students experience Racism”
Racism is a vital issue that is confronting Australians today. Being a very Multicultural country almost everyday someone is exposed to Racism, be it psychically, internally or externally (viewing someone else treated different due to their physical appearance, voice or where they come from). But the question to ask is how is it that a Country that is based on refugees and Multiculturalism is advert to have one of the highest rates of Racism in the world.
It could be because if we see Racism happening and we don’t say or do anything about it, it allows our children to grow up with a mental perception that its okay to judge someone because they are different to us. Its okay to treat someone differently because they have different facial features or because they dress differently or because they don’t sound like different or better yet because weren’t born in Australia.
Fatima, who wears a Burka was confronted with this very question whilst buying groceries.
“What is she wearing?” a young boy asks his father “Oh that’s just Batman’s new costume”, the father replies.
As an Australian being born in this country the first think that I thought was, “WOW”! If my parents raised me like that I don’t even think I would be wearing a Burka today, yet I wouldn’t have any Asian, Turkish, Afghan or even Mexican friends. No, its definitely not that I was insulted buy the Fathers statement I was saddened. I went home and asked myself. That’s our next generation? And sadly that’s what our Future is going to look like, says Fatima in a concerning tone.
Through this very experience we can note how we are portraying Racism in our Children. Most definitely we are allowing our Children to be Racists.
From the National Breuer of Statistic, we find that 1 in 5 School students experience Racism and in accordance Primary School Students Are Reported to be 26% more likely exposed to exclusion than High School Students.
It is a fact that exposing your child to Racism allows for those very Children to grow up being Racists. Additionally, if our Children are taught to stand against Racism our Adults would also put a stand towards Racism.
Children will develop racism not only from how their raised, or the friends they hang out with but as well through the television programs they watch. For example, we not in Disney Cartoons themselves, the princesses are always Prominent of being Fairly white, slim and blonde Hair, where those who are slightly darker and overweight are maids or better yet Evil Queens. Through programs like these children tend to belief that you will only be successful in life if you have blonde hair, fair skin or are a size 0. These ideologies are the problem of Australia’s teenage girls who are starving themselves to be Bulimic.
More Educational programs need to be put in place not only for Children but Parents too. Advertisements similar to those of the Violence against women, ‘he Just did it cause’ he likes you” or the Alcohol advertisement where its shows the cycle of alcohol from parent to child, child to parent.
The figure to the right is illustrated from the facts of the the Challenging Racism Research, where 85% of citizens believe Racism is a current issue in Australia. This research implemented that those who were born overseas experienced higher rates of racism than those born in Australia and were twice as likely to experience Racism in the workplace.
Racism up brawls have become to common in Australia that just yesterday where a march was designed to say “No to Islamophobia and Welcome Refugees” by the Moreland committee were clashed by the Anti- Islam rally in Coburg. This riot lead to a numerous victim being psychically abused as well as 11 individuals arrested.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told 9 nine news that the rally was not an accurate representation of Australia’s views on its multicultural society.
“One in five Australians say they have experienced race-hate talk such as verbal abuse or racial slurs, and more than one in 20 people say they have been physically attacked because of their race”
Wearing the Burka in Australia is also one the highest risk of racisms a person can attract to themselves. In The Advertiser article on how Australians felt to women who were the Burka had responses such as “Were’ not Racist, as long as our migrants act Australian” and “People who live here should live as Australians” was a common thought amongst the community.
The hijab is a piece of cloth Muslim women are obliged to wear to cover their hair and conceal their modesty. The burka is also a piece of cloth but covers the entire face allowing a gap between the eyes to see. The burka is not obliged to wear but some women chose to still wear it, giving them a level of spirituality.
In 2014, a Federal bill was passed to Ban the Burka in Australia, although it was never accepted due the controversy that came with it; The burka was quoted as not only being un-Australian but also associated with men that wear helmet gears. It was influenced by the decision of other countries around the world that have Banned the Burka, such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Muslims who do wear the Burka in the following countries will be at high risk of either being fined or Jail time.
Maryam, (who wanted her identity anonymous), chose to wear the Burka at the age of 19, says relentlessly, “It’s strange because when a girl decides to wear a bikini everyone’s okay with it but when the same girl covers from head to toes suddenly it’s oppression”.
Maryam feels that Australian society is so against women wearing the Burka because she believes not many people know the true reason why Muslim women choose to wear it. “Its always assimilated with Oppression, I always get questions from clueless women, ‘Were you forced to Cover?’.
“It’s a part of who I am, the reason why I decided to wear it, is because it brings out my personality, my character, it’s an expression of who I am. When people see in my burka they can quickly resemble me as a Muslim and that’s how I want to be identified”.
“I never want to be a shamed of who I am, and being born in Australia, I also hope I never have to be either.’’
Nesha Essa, the wife of the sheik at Isomer Mosque in Lysterfield, used to wear a burka but decided to take it off and continue wearing a hijab instead “I feel like the burka was a barrier for me to communicate with others, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a burka and I didn’t take it off for that reason, …but I just feel there’s a better communication when you get to see someone’s face,” she says.
Yuhan Yang, a Chinese migrant is a stern a critic of women wearing burkas and hijabs.
“If you decide to come to Australia maybe you should be more open minded. If you go to a different country, you have to belong. I’m from China and the first thing I thought was I needed to learn English so I can talk to the people around me, you need to see their face and their reaction too.”
Gujort Gopal, an Australian born Indian questions such thinking. “Why do you need to see someone’s face? You can tell what kind of person someone is and how they react to certain events by the tone in their voice.”
Nazir Dawar who is an Immigration Lawyer believes that there is underling concern with Racism in Australia and it is growing regardless if your Muslim, it doesn’t matter what Race you are from you’ll receive Racist remarks. Its not only through our children that Racism is interrupted but through television programs we watch everyday.
Osman Faruqi a journalist for SBS News illustrates in one of his articles that, Theres no two ways about it: Australia has a problem with diversity on Television.
He continues to argue that shows on Australian Television such as Neighbors and Home and Away that broadcasted in Melbourne and Sydney and are both the most diverse cities in Australia both have very prominent western actors. On Home and away you wouldn’t have an actor called Mohammed from a Lebanese background dating Michele instead your more likely to have an Anglo Saxon David with blue eyes and blonde hair dating Michele.
Controversy of why Australian Television broadcast could be seen as in diverse in how overwhelmed Australia felt when, The Projects co Host Waleed Aly was nominated for a Golden Logie, especially since he comes from a Muslim background. These can be noted from Facebook comments below retrieved from The Projects Facebook page.
The Australian Human Rights Commissions recent research with Arab and Muslim Australians and African Australians suggests that these communities are at a higher risk of experiencing discrimination and prejudice. This significant found that it underlying with previous research where by visible ethnic and religious minorities such as Arabs, Muslims, Africans, Palestinian’s, Turkish people and Jews are subjected to Racism everyday. Members of these communities have identified that their “difference” in terms of skin color, dress or cultural/religious practices singles them out as targets of racism.
Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Southphommasane, said that “Although the majority of Australians welcome multiculturalism and reject racism, there’s still work to do,”
Dr Soutphommasane continues, “Racism takes many forms. It can be the result of ignorance as well as hatred. Racism doesn’t always need to be violent or overt, either. Sometimes it can be subtle and insidious, delivered as ‘just a joke’”.
These factors can conclude in the depth of Refugees in Australia. “As many Australians feel that Refugees who are coming into Australia are taking over Australian Jobs, better yet if there not taking their jobs they are leaving of the Doll (Centerlink)”, says Afghan Refugee spokesperson Shabnam Safa. Who has also created her own Non for Profit government association called Noor Foundation which is based on Refugees who come into Australia, Melbourne particularly with helping adjust to culture shock as well as language barriers.
Nonetheless not only Muslims are facing racism, a wide range of Asians, Indians and Jews have been victims of racism, as a growing problem in Australian.
Its Fair to argue that its not only Muslims that face Racism but every Race is facing Racism and where to stop it is with us and begin with our children, instead of deceiving exclusion we should bring our kids fourth the best of our educating our society is by educating our youth.
Donald Trumps allegations towards Muslims and Immigrants could be a trigger to the Rise of Racism in Australia, Where Mr Trumps comments “They’re (referring to Muslims) are not Welcome in this Country”. Mr. Trumps believes that if he stops immigrants coming through, it would decrease racism in America and thus “Make America, great again”.
Alternatively, Dr Southphommasane, says, “One of the most powerful things we can do to counter racism is to take a stand against it, wherever it occurs.”
Further explaining if we see or hear Racism, we should offer support to the person experiencing it.
“We can also report the incident, and we can start a conversation with the people involved. It’s not always easy, but it’s powerful.”
There are many support groups that educate individuals to take a stand against Racism as well as volunteer programs you can join to help the fight against Racism in Australia.
- It nots with me Campaign https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/race-discrimination/projects/national-anti-racism-strategy-and-racism-it-stops-me-campaign
- RacismNoWay http://www.racismnoway.com.au
- NSW Education Anti Racism https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_serv/equity/antiracism/schoolstrat.pdf