New Campaign Urges Australians to Reflect and Act on Racism

by Australian Human Rights Commission | 12 July 2022
A new national anti-racism campaign is calling on Australians who do not have lived experience of racism to reflect on its impacts and do more to address it.

The campaign acknowledges that First Nations peoples and others with lived experience of racism have been leading anti-racism in Australia for centuries, and calls on more Australians to reflect on their responsibility and take action.

The multiplatform ad campaign will build awareness of how racism operates at both a structural and interpersonal level and give people tools to recognise and address it.

It features well known ambassadors who appear in a community service announcement where a group of Australians talk about their own experiences of racism and inequality.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan said the campaign, which modernises the Racism. It Stops With Me initiative that launched in 2012, responds to recent events and addresses major challenges to realising racial equity in Australia.

“Racism continues to undermine justice and fairness in Australia. We see it in the lack of recognition of First Nations communities, in ongoing discrimination and power imbalances that create inequitable outcomes. We see it in continued antisemitism and Islamophobia, in the surge of anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, and in the rise of far-right extremism,” Commissioner Tan said. 

“The #BlackLivesMatter movement has demonstrated leadership from First Nations communities and others with lived experience of racism. Now is the time for all Australians to act in support.”

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The campaign seeks to achieve three objectives:

  1. To engage more Australians in conversations about racism and anti-racism.
  2. To expand the campaign’s focus to include institutional and systemic racism, in addition to interpersonal forms of racism.
  3. To provide more Australians with tools and resources to engage in active anti-racism.

The new Racism. It Stops With Me website features educational resources to help businesses and individuals advance racial equity. This includes a resource hub, directing supporters to other initiatives working to address racism. It also includes a new Workplace Cultural Diversity Tool for organisations to evaluate and improve their inclusion, diversity and anti-racism practices.

Author and broadcaster Tasneem Chopra OAM said she hoped the campaign would lead to greater understanding about racism and prompt people with privilege to use their platforms responsibly to make society more inclusive and practice zero tolerance to racism”.

The burden of dismantling racism should not lie with people who experience it, but with those who have the resources to educate and help prevent further harm,” Ms Chopra said.

Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster AM said, “Racism is more than just harmful words or individual actions. It is also about the barriers that prevent some groups from accessing equal opportunities in life – including biases in our society, its laws, institutions, and ways of thinking. Racism affects us all and there is a role for everyone to play in addressing it.”

Commissioner Tan said, “Many of us are often unaware of racial and cultural biases, whether in ourselves or in society – but these biases have significant impacts on racial equity. We see this in areas such as employment, justice, education and health, among others.”

The campaign supports the Australian Human Rights Commission’s development of a National Anti-Racism Framework – a process that will unite organisations from all areas of Australian public life, together with governments, in developing strategies to tackle racism and inequality.