How The Media Industry Can Help Tackle Racial Discrimination In Australia

How The Media Industry Can Help Tackle Racial Discrimination In Australia
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, UnLtd reveals what it learned when it reached out to its charity partners working directly with Indigenous and other racially diverse groups of young Australians, and discusses how the industry can fight racial injustice…

Our role at UnLtd is to give our industry the power to help. To use our talent, resources and influence for good.

When the protests against racial injustice started, many of you reached out to us to ask ‘how can we help?’. It was clear that so many feel strongly and passionately about fighting racism here in Australia but many people don’t know where to start and how to help.

To help educate ourselves and our industry, we reached out to some of our charity partners working directly with First Nations communities, refugees and other culturally diverse groups, to get their views on what the key challenges are and what we can do collectively as an industry and as individuals to help fight racial injustice in Australia.

These are people who deal with the impacts of racial injustice every day and who have dedicated their lives to give every young Australian a brighter future, no matter what their background, culture or colour of their skin.

This is what we learnt.

The challenge

The first step is acknowledging the issue. Acknowledging that white privilege and systemic racism exists in Australia.

Dr Cath Keenan AM, co-founder and executive director of Story Factory said: “Racist attitudes and behaviours have been built into social structures and institutional practices over generations, and are internalised by individuals, then perpetuated indefinitely. To overcome this we all need to constantly call it out where we see it, challenging the status quo and opening everyone’s eyes to the day-to-day realities and crippling impacts of racism for all those it undermines and victimises.”

Sasha Lawrence, Acting CEO, Reach added it was time to unlearn to re-learn: “Just because you don’t say something racist doesn’t mean there isn’t a prevalence of racism. We need to unlearn what we know about racism, re-learn and learn about what anti-racism is about.”

The other key issue is diversity, having true diversity across our organisations and communities, to represent the real multi-cultural Australia. Sasha added: “Right now, most executive rooms, leadership teams, positions of power and the people we see on TV screens, do not reflect the diversity that exists in Australia. We need true representation in all industries so that young people of colour and diverse cultural backgrounds can look up and feel like it’s possible for them to achieve. Achieving representation will enable all young people to feel like they can achieve, irrespective of the colour of your skin.”

The one thing that stood out most in all the responses was the importance of education. Educating ourselves but also improving the educational outcomes of our First Nations communities. The importance of all Australians to understand the truth about colonisation and its lasting impacts and the intergenerational trauma caused.

Dr Rose Whitau from Shooting Stars said: “I would love for all Australians to understand the context and history of racial injustice in Australia. For Australians to understand not just the enduring ramifications of European colonisation, but to appreciate the innovation and diversity of peoples who have lived in Australia for 65,000 years; peoples who undertook humanity’s first major maritime voyage, invented edge ground axe technology, bread, and aquaculture.”

Karen Williams, CEO of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation added: “Focus on the positive stories; stories about how strong the culture is; how talented the children are, speaking 3-4 languages before school; and how complex Indigenous culture is; how rich their art, music and literature is; and how strong our First Nations people’s connection to country is.”

Tackling the issue at a young age is also key, both from educating children at an early age, so our children grow up understanding the history of our First Nations people, but also understanding the long-lasting impacts racism can have.

Lawrence explained: “It’s important for Australians to understand that it begins at a very young age. Young people who are Indigenous are at a significant disadvantage in Australia. We see this in suicide rates, disengagement from school and also how many young people enter in and out of the justice system. Young people who are Indigenous, of colour or of diverse cultural background exert considerable energy trying not to be different, or experience covert racism daily. Things like “you don’t look Aboriginal” or “how come you have an English name” can cause considerable harm to the identity of a young person. Adolescence is complicated enough without needing to overcome barriers to race and identity.”

What can the media, marketing & creative industry do to help fight racial injustice in Australia?

Our industry holds incredible power to educate, change attitudes and amplify voices that need to be heard. There are several ways our industry can play a role in fighting racial injustice.

Dr Cath Keenan says the first thing is to “recognise the harm done by perpetuating old, poisonous racist stereotypes. It’s important to pass all content through this filter and expunge anything that does not come up to scratch”.

The second is around true diversity, by changing the face of our industry. Hang Vo, CEO of Whitelion said:

“The mainstream media, advertising and marketing is almost exclusively represented by white Anglo Australians. This is not representative of multicultural Australia. What we see, read and hear in TV, magazines, adverts, should be a reflection of the diversity that exists in our society.”

Providing balanced reporting was highlighted as another key area to tackle. Sharing honest stories about the issues and struggles but also sharing the positive stories of First Australians, other culturally diverse groups  and the many organisations doing great work to help fight racial injustice.

Williams said: “Play an active role on educating (and even entertaining) people by focussing on the positive stories; capture the gold – how lucky we are to be able to learn from the oldest living civilisation on our planet.”

Finally, calling out and speaking up on racism in the media. Vo said: “Speak up, don’t be a bystander and conform to powerful shock jocks and media moguls.”

What can an individual do to help?

It all starts with education. Keenan explained: “Educate yourself. Read, watch, listen and absorb everything you can being shared by Indigenous Australians right now. They’ve been generous enough to articulate their own personal experience and opinions at a difficult time. The least you can do is show some respect and hear what they’re saying. Open your mind to learning about how life in Australia looks – and feels – to someone who is Indigenous. Be willing to get out of your comfort zone and really understand how different that is to your own experience. Then be humble – and strong – enough to accept what you have got wrong up till now, and what you are going to have to change. Do it.”

Lawrence said it was important to extend our knowledge of Aboriginal history: “Books like Dark Emu enrich our history and paint a very different picture of what colonisation did to Australia. There are so many resources out there for people to learn. One of our favourites has been from the Children’s Community School who have mapped out how race informs a child’s development.”

And go beyond the books for your education. Vo suggests to expand your network of colleagues and friends: “Make it your mission to get to know someone of a different racial background.”

It’s also important to start conversations with colleagues, family and friends about racism and what can be done to stop it. Lawrence said: “We actually need to talk about race in Australia. It’s not meant to be comfortable. It should be uncomfortable. But these conversations are critical to shifting hearts and minds and calling out unconscious bias. We are particularly mindful not to rely on people of colour to facilitate these conversations and carry the burden for others.”

We all have the power to show kindness and speak up when we see inappropriate behaviour or comments. Call it out when people make racial slurs or jokes.

Finally, a practical way to help is to support First Nations businesses and the many organisations that are helping to tackle racial injustice and close the gap.

Here are some ways you can directly support through some of UnLtd’s charity partners:

  • Mentor an Indigenous child through volunteering or donating to The Pyjama Foundation
  • Invest in improving young Indigenous girls educational outcomes by supporting Shooting Stars
  • Help Indigenous and refugee children build their confidence and share their stories with the world by donating to Story Factory
  • Purchase books or donate to Indigenous Literacy Foundation to support their work to publish books in First Languages, written and translated by children and community members in remote Australia
  • Support young Indigenous people through mentoring and skills workshops through Reach and Whitelion

 

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

UNLTD white lion

Latest News

Highsnobiety Partners With Citizens Of Culture To Help Lead Its Media Partnerships In Australia
  • Media

Highsnobiety Partners With Citizens Of Culture To Help Lead Its Media Partnerships In Australia

Culture-leading publisher Highsnobiety continues to evolve its local operations with the appointment of Citizens of Culture as its strategic partner across media operations within Australia.  Highsnobiety is a premium global brand dedicated to cultural pioneers, with work spanning across digital platforms, print media, documentaries, cutting edge events, a shopping platform and a full service creative […]

Investigation Reveals That Amazon Destroys Thousands Of Dollars Of Unsold Stock, Including Laptops, TVs And Face Masks
  • Technology

Investigation Reveals That Amazon Destroys Thousands Of Dollars Of Unsold Stock, Including Laptops, TVs And Face Masks

An investigation by British broadcaster ITV has found that Amazon is destroying millions of items in unsold or returned stock. The report specifically focuses on one of the 24 warehouses the company has in the UK. According to ITV News, the destroyed items are largely unused and new, either returned items or those which never […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Witchery Partners With GlamCorner To Boost Subscription Shopping
  • Media

Witchery Partners With GlamCorner To Boost Subscription Shopping

Australian fashion brand Witchery has partnered with B Corp GlamCorner as part of GlamCorner’s subscription box offering as the demand for everyday essentials soars. This partnership marks another milestone for the Australian fashion industry towards becoming more circular and introducing more paths to reduce textile waste. Customers nationally will be able to rent more of […]

Curry Club For COVID-19 Relief, Powered By UnLtd, Challenges AdLand To Raise $100,000
  • Marketing
  • Media

Curry Club For COVID-19 Relief, Powered By UnLtd, Challenges AdLand To Raise $100,000

The media, marketing and creative industries are being encouraged to host their own ‘Curry Club for COVID’ before 30th June to help meet the ambitious $100k target set by its organisers. Curry Club for COVID, which was conceived by long-time adtech executive Peter Bray, sales director at Impact, and is powered by industry social purpose organisation […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
UnLtd’s ‘Goals for Good’ Soccer Tournament Celebrates 10 Years
  • Media

UnLtd’s ‘Goals for Good’ Soccer Tournament Celebrates 10 Years

The UnLtd Cup is returning for its tenth consecutive year, marking a decade of soccer shenanigans that’s raised nearly $500,000 for children’s mental health charity, KidsXpress. On July 22-23rd, 28 teams from across the industry will battle it out on the soccer field in the two-day tournament at Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre, Darlington. […]

Mobile Pnone Shopping Online With A Debit Card
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Ultra Commerce Acquires Vesta eCommerce

Australian-bred company Ultra Commerce has acquired New Zealand-based company Vesta eCommerce, a global software business providing leading product data management solutions. The recent acquisition is a significant move for the business, which is Australian born, owned, and headquartered, but has built out a global presence as it pursues rapid growth in the eCommerce market. Connecting […]

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign
  • Campaigns

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign

Canteen’s latest campaign features the combined talents of Director Luna Laure and creative agency Crater. The campaign strives to raise awareness for young people affected by cancer. The awareness campaign centres around Harry Barentson, who at 12 years of age found out his pregnant mum had cancer. The campaign aims to bring awareness to Canteen’s […]