In the lead up to the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21st March, we should reflect on how discrimination on the basis of race, colour, age, disability, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation demean and diminish us individually and collectively as a society.
We need to remind ourselves and others that diversity is richness, not a threat.
Diversity enriches us!
Diversity is colourful! What if everyone who surrounded you was exactly like you, in every way? Where is the fun in that? We need new ideas, views, and practices to stimulate and inspire us, to show us the way others eat, celebrate, and love!
People from a diverse community are healthier and happier than they would be in a less diverse society, according to research compiled by the University of Manchester’s Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity.
Research also shows that people with diverse backgrounds often provide new perspectives, and that’s an essential ingredient for innovation. People with global experience and those with multicultural identities display more creativity and are better problem solvers and more likely to create new businesses and products. Culturally diverse teams can access a deeper and wider knowledge bank, leveraging this to generate new ideas, products and creative solutions.
Gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform their industry peers and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to overachieve, according to research done by McKinsey & Company, an international business consultant.
Together, our differences make a strong, beautiful, world community, so why do we tolerate discrimination?
- One in ten Australians (1.5 million of the nation’s adult population) believe that some races are inferior or superior to others
- 18 per cent of Australians surveyed said they had experienced discrimination because of skin colour, ethnic origin or religion. A recent study by Australian National University found that 82% of Asian Australians have experienced discrimination.
On the other hand:
- Most Australians (86 per cent) support action to tackle racism in Australia.
- The vast majority of Australians (84 per cent) believe that multiculturalism has been good for Australia
Now, more than ever, we must work together to create a society that includes rather than divides.
“All of us need to call out and openly condemn all messages – especially political messages or discourses – which disseminate ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, or which incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
How can you support inclusion?
- Create awareness of racial discrimination in all its forms, from the “casual” to the extreme, as well as institutional or organizational racism (beyond the interpersonal)
- Create empathy about how it affects individuals and the broader community, thereby helping to change attitudes and behaviours
- We all have a role to play in countering hate speech. Even if we are not the targets of that hate speech, we need to get involved in addressing it, simply because we need to stand in solidarity with those who are being targeted. We need to make sure that whoever is being subject to hate speech, feel supported. We need to come together to empower the voices of those victims.
- Avoid imposing values on others that may conflict or be inconsistent with other cultures
- Recognize and understand that concepts within the helping profession, such as family, gender roles, spirituality, and emotional well-being, vary significantly among cultures and influence behaviour
- Within the workplace, educational setting, and/or clinical setting, advocate for the use of materials that are representative of the various cultural groups within the local community and the society in general
- Intervene in an appropriate manner when you observe others engaging in behaviours that show cultural insensitivity, bias, or prejudice
- Be proactive in listening, accepting, and welcoming people and ideas that are different from your own
Unfortunately, racism, xenophobia and intolerance are problems prevalent in all societies. So, every day, each and every one of us can stand up against racial prejudice, discrimination of any form and intolerant attitudes.
Be a human rights champion, #fightracism and #Standup4humanrights.