Shortlist

By Rachel Lobo

How Racist Are You? Test yourself and find out!

Most individuals within the 18 – 24 age range would credit themselves as holding progressive, anti-racist attitudes. Care to find out?

 

If you had the opportunity to experience a snapshot of seven days as an Indian international student, Indigenous man or Muslim woman, would you? The Everyday Racism app, launched earlier this year and promoted on our campus during O-Week, provides the chance for participants to engage with scenarios over seven days. When players choose the character of “yourself”, you will be asked to respond from the perspective of a bystander.

 

The Everyday Racism app was created by a coalition of universities – the University of Western Sydney, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne – partnering with the anti-racism, not-for-profit All Together Now. It allows participants the opportunity to explore the concept of subtle racism or racial microaggressions – an indirect or covert form of racial discrimination highly prevalent in Australia and globally.

 

The project placed second in the United Nations sponsored competition for the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award, which credits grassroots projects that “encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation across the world”. Eleven finalists were drawn from 600 entries from over 100 countries, with the app being described as a “world first”.

 

It’s FREE and is compatible with both Androids and iPhones – so there’s not much of an excuse not to download when you’re in between lectures or waiting for public transport.

 

Altering the right to respond to free speech

The Attorney-General’s department has proposed modifying the funding and service agreements of community agencies. In effect, these changes would limit the freedom of Community Legal Centres (CLCs) to advocate for legal reform. In 2012, Senator George Brandis, the self-proclaimed freedom fighter of Australians’ right to express themselves, stated, “The measure of a society’s commitment to political freedom is the extent of its willingness to respect the right of every one of its citizens to express their views, no matter how offensive, unattractive or eccentric they may seem to others.” Those without the financial means to access legal representation outside of CLCs are often marginalised in one way or another. As a result, CLCs tend to be in a position to advise the government of unfair impacts of legislation.

 

The People’s Champion, demonstrating with effortless tact his commitment to free speech, continuously challenged the right for the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, to convey his views on the changes to the RDA during mid-year Senate estimates hearings. Yet another contradiction in an old white man’s endless quest for “freedom”. One skim of the applications of defamation laws in this country and the question arises, “Whose freedom is being defended exactly?”

 

Solidarity in life and death

Hamid Khazaei, a 24-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who contracted a skin disease on Manus Island, resulting in his passing on 5 September 2014, will be honoured with an Aboriginal passport. Organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), and in agreement with Hamid’s family, the gesture was in recognition of his unlawful suffering at the hands of the Australian government, and his parents wish to donate their son’s organs to Australian citizens. ISJA sees the passport as an expression of solidarity from the traditional owners to new arrivals in Australia.

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