Confronting Racism in Communities Project Implications for Action on Anti-Racism David Hollinsworth
Overview of the Final Report findings and Implications • About the Confronting Racism in Communities Project • Project Methodology • Project Findings: Racist Incidents • Discussion and analysis • How to Identify Racism from Incidents • Gaps in Strategies • What works (and what doesn’t) • How to respond to exclusion in our organizations • How to support and assist workers in countering racism • Racialization and the role of politics and the media • Conclusion and future directions
What is the Confronting Racism in Communities Project? The project aims to address the variety of racisms experienced by culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in Queensland.
What is the Confronting Racism in Communities Project? • Project consortium lead by Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care • Three-year pilot project extended to four • State-wide • Funded by Multicultural Affairs Qld • Reference Committee
Project Objectives • Provide support, training and resources to the community sector in order to combat racism. • Work with communities to document the nature and extent of racism in Queensland and provide regular reporting on incidents across the state.
Why Anti-Racism Training? • Developed Racism Training Needs Survey focusing on workers’ experience with racism and on their training needs. • Completed by 50 individuals from multicultural, mainstream and government agencies in metropolitan and regional Queensland. • Produced Racism Training Strengths & Needs Analysis.
Key Findings of needs survey • 72% of respondents felt issues of racism were “very relevant” to their work, while 16% of respondents felt issues of racism were “somewhat relevant” to their work. • 26% of respondents reported they were “not very well equipped/skilled” to support clients who had experienced racism, while 8% reported they were “not at all equipped/skilled”. • 34% of respondents said they had previously participated in anti-racism training. BUT…..
Key Findings • 8% of respondents said their organisation had funds allocated for anti-racism training. • Respondents said they would find the following training options beneficial: - Community development responses to racism - Supporting people who have experienced racism - Identifying racism - Racism in the workforce - Working with the media
Why we need to collect Data on Racism in Communities? • To help us better understand & respond to the needs of people from CALD backgrounds. • So we can demonstrate that racism is a significant issue that needs to be addressed in the face of government denial. • Because there is currently very little data on racism in Queensland. • To highlight the diversity of geography of racism; different places, forms and targets.
How was Data on Racism Collected? • Racist Incident Reporting Form • 70 Data Collection Points throughout Queensland • Bi-annual reports on the nature and extent of racism in Queensland • Reports highlight general trends - they do not disclose identifying information • Indigenous reports not asked for as directive from MAQ
Findings: how many and where? • 398 racist incidents reported between January 2006 to December 2007 • 37% occurred in Brisbane region; 15% in Logan; 13% Gold Coast; 11% Sunshine Coast; 7% Toowoomba; 5% Cairns; 4% Townsville; 3.5% Mackay; 2% Wide Bay and Rockhampton.
Responses to racist incidents • Anger • Upset • Scared • Anticipation • Anxious or distressed • Feeling of exclusion, not belonging • Personal growth, resilience • Sadness • Disturbed or depressed • Isolated • Lack of confidence, helpless, victim • Physical reaction • Shame
Reporting of racist incidents • Reported to authorities 19% • Not reported 70% • Not specified 11%
Satisfaction with results of reporting • Very satisfied 4% • Satisfied 16% • Neutral 8% • Unsatisfied 45% • Very unsatisfied 21% • Not specified 6%
What is racism and how does it impact on us, our families and friends, and our work?
Since racist incidents affect a group as well as an individual, they are experienced as attacks on the values, loyalties and commitments central to a person’s identity and self-worth – their family honour, friends, cultural heritage, religion, community and history. Racist, cultural and religious abuse is accordingly more hurtful than any or most of other kinds of abuse. Bristol City Council (2004) Reporting and Dealing with Harassment in Bristol Schools, available from:http://www.bristol-cyps.org.uk/services/pdf/racial_abuse.pdf
The street as a site for racism • The physical site of racism is often the street. • In the 2006 national study on refugee settlement by USC and VU, approximately 25% of newly arrived refugees reported daily, weekly or monthly experiences of racism – significant proportion on the street. • 16% of racist incidents reported to the Confronting Racism in Communities Project occurred on the street. • In a study by Poynting et al, 58% identified racism, abuse or violence that took place on the street. • Women were more likely to experience racism on the street (62%) than men (50)%. • Spaces of fear and incivility. Poynting S. & Noble G. (2004)Living with Racism: The experience and reporting by Arab and Muslim Australians of discrimination, abuse and violence since 11 September 2001, HREOC, Sydney
Examples: Types of Incidents in the Street • Gazing/Staring – ‘oppression of the eyes’ • Verbal abuse • Physical abuse or violence • Threats of violence • Harassment • Hand gestures (eg.sexual, mimicking guns)
Analysis: Personal Consequences • Fear of public spaces • Withdrawal – lack of access to essential services and resources • Reluctance to engage • Sense of isolation and not belonging • Sense of helplessness • Physical and mental health consequences, can be cumulative and chronic • Settlement consequences for newly arrived migrants and refugees • For refugees, can compound trauma
Analysis: Social Consequences • Control of national/public spaces • Fear – inward looking, society lacking in compassion • Diminishing social capital (trust, reciprocity, networking) • Lack of belonging • Loss of human potential • Lack of representation of minorities in public arena
Gaps in Strategies • Legislative changes: systemic racism; indirect discrimination; punitive rather than conciliatory approach from AHRC and ADCQ. • Inclusion of religious discrimination under federal RDA • Positive Duty as in UK to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination; whole institutional approach with sanctions for managers • Explicit anti-racism campaigns not just celebrating diversity and ‘harmony’ projects • Effective media campaigns to rebut myths and promote human rights
What Works (and what doesn’t) • Leadership: government, opinion leaders, media and activists • Avoidance of culturalism and essentialism (even when applied to reverse racist beliefs) • Highlighting shared commonalities (not sameness but intersecting parallels) rather than stark or inherent differences • Building community capacity for resilience and self-advocacy including skills with media • Identifying (covert) racism within institutions and dominant ideologies, not just isolated incidents
What Works • Strategies for inclusion and accountability, not just getting a CALD person on the board • Community activities that are safe, shared, equal status and control between groups, common goal with official support and credibility • Avoid ‘preachy’ or guilt inducing approaches that cause denial and resistance • Document and publicize successful activities • Evaluate and conduct research to identify unintended exclusions and appropriate counter-measures
How to Respond to Exclusion in our Organisations Identification of Institutional Racism Strategies for Inclusion
Forms of Racism Different levels or forms of racism: individual or personal racism (insults, harassment and discrimination directed at individuals) institutional or systemic racism (conventional practices or structures and processes of institutions that have the effect of excluding or discriminating against individuals or groups) cultural racism ( beliefs, stories and assumptions that naturalize social inequality as caused by inherent characteristics of the disadvantaged eg. dysfunctional families or poor choices, and/or universalize dominant values or hide privileges)
Intended or unintended racism • Racism can be present in hostile acts, as well as in apparently neutral or mundane arrangements. • It can be the result of activities or arrangements that set out to discriminate or harm, or it can result from ignorance or inadvertence or lack of awareness. • Thus, racism can be intentional or unintentional; it may however be detected by its effects (need data).
Defining Institutional Racism The collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage Black and minority ethnic people. Macpherson W (1999) The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny (Cm 4262), London, The Stationary Office.
Interplay between institutional and cultural racisms Institutions validate rules, roles and certain understandings about entitlements which are often seen as fair or universal, but which actually reflect and protect dominant social interests – through, for example, understandings about who is a good parent, a reliable tenant or borrower, or the best for the job. But these rules are not applied mechanistically or deterministically. They are activated by bureaucrats, social workers, receptionists and so on, whose own perceptions, priorities and values are fused with cultural meaning that speak of their own personal histories and social location. Within particular constraints and in their own ways, they ‘do their job’. Pettman, Jan (1992) Living in the Margins: Racism and Feminism in Australia, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, New South Wales.
Key Issues • Institutional racism is not always explicit, as in the 19th or 20th century – often covert. • May be unintentional – This form of racism reflects the cultural assumptions of the dominant group, so that the practices of that group are seen as the norm to which other cultural practices should conform. • Resulting from universality of treatment. • Treating everyone the same does not equate to fairness and equity – substantive equality requires different treatment (Charles Husband 2004).
Institutional Power • The core of the concept of institutional racism is the irrelevance of the intentions of the actors involved. • Need to look at institutional power, practices and responsibilities: - Where the power lies in institutional structures. - Points in the institution where people are able to exercise discretionary power – to make decisions, set rules and allocate resources. - Ways in which these rules and norms are legitimated. - Ways in which they produce discriminatory outcomes. • Institutional racism begins to enter into practice when institutional routines reflect the interests of only one group, usually the majority.
Unpacking Institutions • Professional identities, roles and their boundaries • Institutional processes and routines: • Organisation of work spaces • Times • Resources • Policies • Procedures • Level/type of staffing • Power relationships between staff • Decision making processes • Governance arrangements • Advisory-consultative mechanisms • Management ideologies: cost saving, efficiency.
Responding to Exclusion • Changing occupational culture. • Policy and planning. • Employment – recruitment and selection, retention, training, grievance and disciplinary, appraisal. • Service delivery and customer care. • Consultation, partnerships and multi-agency work. • Communication, information, marketing and corporate image. • Leadership. • Accountability and transparency.
How can we support and assist each other to combat racism in our communities?
Racialization • Racialization: discursive process of “racing”, of imposing racial meanings to an individual or group • Examples include “dysfunctional” Aboriginal people or “queue-jumping” asylum seekers or “oppressed” Muslim women or Islamic “terrorists” • Essentializes negative stereotypes as inherent or fixed racial characteristics
Racialization and politics • Often used by politicians to pander to populist fears and hatreds • But this use entrenches such beliefs and encourages violent and abusive behaviors • “Violent racists are always a tiny minority. However, their breathing space is determined by the degree of ‘ordinary’ non-violent racism a government and culture will allow” (Hage, 2003: 247)
Racialization and media • Media: key source of racialization, fear, anxiety, threat and hostility • Examples especially in crime reporting, international and non-state conflict such as terrorism and civil war • Strategies to combat media racism: complaints, right of reply, advocacy stories, media skills training, community media and arts projects, social networks and interNet