Racism on the rise in Australia

Racism on the rise in Australia

SBS World News Radio: Racism on the rise in Australia

Racism in the country is growing - if the latest Reconciliation Australia survey is anything to go by.

It found that almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population recently experienced racism-a figure almost double that of the general population.

Nova Peris knows what it feels like to be abused and discriminated against because of the colour of her skin.

"It's unpleasant, it's demoralising, you feel like you're inhuman because you're attacked for being what you are born into the world."

It's a problem Nova has seen worsen with the rise of social media.

And she isn't alone.

Reconciliation Australia's latest report suggests racism is on the rise.

The survey found that 46 per cent of Indigenous Australians experienced racism in the past six months-up from 39 per cent just two years earlier.

Only 18 per cent of people surveyed from the general population experienced racism over the same period.

Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive, Justin Mohamed, says the rise in racism can be explained by two factors.

"I think we're a lot more educated about racism and the different forms it takes, and obviously in the different places it can happen so that's the heightened education side of that, the other part too is that we've seen over the last two years since the last report was done, a lot of incidents which have kind of really festered and came out."

Incidents like the booing of Adam Goodes, heightened tensions on January 26 and the dispute over Constitutional Recognition have all added fuel to the fire.

Nova Peris says the debate over removing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has contributed to a racist society.

"What do people want to say that they can't already say about Aboriginal people? You know, when do our political leaders, you know our prime ministers get up and say enough's enough. Why do we want to weaken the discrimination laws? Is it because we want to give the green light to, you know, hate laws, to bigotry."

While many of Australians surveyed say Australia is a racist country, most of those questioned say the relationship between the two communities is important and Indigenous cultures are crucial to our national identity.

Something that Justin Mohamed says is a positive sign.

"That frontline message that's coming out, that our country is being seen by more Australians as being racist, is something we wanna reverse. And so that needs to have very pointed and committed actions from all sectors of the community to see that take place."





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