Australia is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. With a population of over 25 million people, it is no surprise people can differ greatly in their religious beliefs, traditions and ways of life.
Findings from a recent study on multiculturalism in Australia found 48.2% of the population had at least one parent who was born overseas and almost one quarter (24.8%) of the population speak a language other than English at home.
Cultural diversity is a large part of what makes Australia great and is something to be celebrated. However, there is also another side to this. These cultural differences can sometimes stir up unfortunate issues like discrimination, bullying and racial abuse.
A 2021 study conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies showed 1 in 3 teens reported experiencing discrimination at school due to being “different”.
The report found discrimination towards Indigenous teens was high with 34% having experienced it, followed by those who spoke a language at home other than English (31%) and those with one or both parents born overseas (25%).
The findings also indicated young adolescents who reported discrimination were at a higher risk of poor mental wellbeing. This is a concerning fact and demands our attention, particularly when considering the teenage years are already a vulnerable time for mental health issues.
Collectively, we can all work together to make a difference. Acts of discrimination and racial abuse are preventable. Individuals, schools, groups and the community at large can all play an important role to stop it from happening.
Educating young people about how they can embrace differences and encourage inclusivity is a great place to start.
Constable Care Foundation’s Youth Choices division offers a range of high impact programs designed specifically to educate high school students on the issues impacting them the most. Understanding racism and cultural diversity is one of the key focus areas.
Our No Offence program explores how people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can experience racism, bullying, and microaggressions.
A ten-minute film forms a critical part of this program and was informed by the real experiences of culturally diverse Australian students. It provides a unique and engaging platform to stimulate discussion about this important issue.
To find out more about No Offence, or to book a session, click here.