Thursday, March 22, 2012

Proposed Government Anti-Racism Strategy

Have your say on the National Anti-Racism Strategy

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is supporting the Australian Human Rights Commission and its partners in holding public consultations over the next few months as part of the development of the National Anti-Racism Strategy.

The aim of the strategy is to promote a clear understanding in the Australian community of what racism is and how it can be prevented and reduced.
The Australian Government committed to developing a National Anti-Racism Strategy in Australia’s multicultural policy, The People of Australia. It is anticipated the strategy will be launched in July 2012 and implemented between 2012 and 2015.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke is leading the development of the strategy. She is very keen to hear how racism affects communities around Australia, and what we should be doing about it.

Consultations will be held on:

  • Melbourne: Friday 30 March, 10am–12pm in the Temlee Room, The Meadows, 80 Northcorp Blvd, Broadmeadows
  • Mildura: Tuesday 10 April, 1.30pm–3.30pm at Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities’ Council, 38-40 Madden Avenue, Mildura
  • Shepparton: Wednesday 11 April, 4pm–6pm at Rumbalara Football and Netball Club, Mercury Drive, Shepparton

“Racism is like a disease- It is brainwashed into children from their peers and parents- grandparents- fear of the unknown—so it is bad and must be attacked!

Education and understanding is the only way to approach the issue.” (From an Australian leader who experienced it first hand.)

If anyone watched the INSIGHT program on SBS, re “we are not racist but…,- they mentioned this Government initiative.

It’s worth looking it up on the SBS website. There were some good points made,- but no other conclusion than that we are all influenced by what happens around us.

What I found interesting though was the feeling that we are all more worried about us not to be identified with the negative stereotypes of our own ethnic groups.
But does assessing this negativity make us racists against our own?
So what does the word "racism" actually mean?

Obviously we are all guilty of disliking the ‘ugly…….nationals’,- but we don’t hate them and we are hardly going to kill them! That is not racism. That is a personal feeling of dislike of an individual or a group of individuals.

I call racism the total negativity about a whole ethnic group leading to discrimination.

What to do about ‘racism’ was not exactly clear to anyone,- except to learn more about each other! Most people (80%)tested negatively against minority groups, which shocked them.

The reality is that most people, if they have not experienced it themselves are very naïve about what racism is all about and its dangers! Derogatory remarks in themselves may not be racist,- but continuously repeated do become racist!

Personally, from experience with anti-Semitism, I believe that dangerous racism is a mixture of ‘nurturing hatreds’, -fed through generations via family and ‘tribal’ jealousies, religious institutions and political exploitations of the masses and ignorant individuals. As quoted above, some inbibe it "with their mothers' milk"- a common saying!

An individual has just murdered kids in a Jewish Day School in supposedly tolerant, multicultural France. This is the type of racism which hopefully we will never see here in Oz.

But security has been tightened in the Jewish community,- at great cost!

 All schools as well as NGOs should play their part in the prevention of dangerous racism through educating for tolerance and involving  more ethnic groups and individuals in their ranks  so that all learn about each other.

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