: Blog

Community-focussed efforts to combat violent extremism are critical in light of ASIO’s annual threat assessment

On the back of this 2020 ASIO threat assessment address in Canberra, All Together Now has today called for a greater investment in community-focussed programming on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). The address by the ASIO Director General Mike Burgess last night highlighted the real and growing threat of rightwing extremism in Australia.

All Together Now is a national charity, based in Sydney, with a primary purpose of educating Australians about racism. However, since 2012, All Together Now has also been running a CVE project in NSW called Community Action for Preventing Extremism (CAPE) which is funded by NSW Government until 30 June this year. The program undermines recruitment processes by training and supporting a network of frontline workers who work with young people at risk of engaging in far-right extremism.

All Together Now Managing Director, Priscilla Brice, said the response to the threat of far-right extremism needed to be multi-pronged, including significant investment in community-focussed CVE programs designed to prevent recruitment by rightwing extremists.

“Security and intelligence measures are an important part of the response, but governments cannot ignore the value of effective community-based CVE programs,” said Brice.

“Working in the community to prevent the recruitment of young people is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to counter this rising threat of far-right extremism in the long-term.

“Funding for CAPE is uncertain beyond the current financial year but I hope that, in light of the threat assessment from ASIO, all governments strongly consider expanding this type of community-based CVE program,” Brice said.

New research into racialised media

All Together Now’s latest research into racialised media found more than half (57%) of race-related social commentary in Australian mainstream media negatively targets racial minorities. A copy of the report is available on the Media Monitoring page of our website.

The study, which monitored Australian mainstream media from April 2018-2019, found that social commentators express racist views in overt and covert ways, deploying a range of tactics such as dog-whistling, decontextualisation and irony to target racial minorities. 

Muslim Australians were the most frequently targeted, with 63 of the 281 media pieces sampled discussing Muslims specifically. More than 80% of these pieces discussed Muslims and Islam in a negative way.

All Together Now partnered with the University of Technology, Sydney, in designing the framework used to analyse media for the report.

“The way the media represents all Australians is of critical importance,” said Jacqueline Nelson, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney. “Problematic representation of particular cultural groups, whether covert or more blatant, reinforces white dominance and can undermine a sense of belonging for those targeted.”

Most (91%) of the 159 negative race-related media pieces were published in three newspapers: the Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian. Of these, the Herald Sun was the most serious offender, publishing 73 (46%) of all negative race-related pieces.

Currently, media regulatory frameworks such as the Australian Press Council’s Statement of General Principles fail to hold media agencies to account for racist and offensive content. In addition, complaints to the Australian Press Council and Free TV Australia must be made within
30 days of the first publication unless special consideration is sought.

The ongoing availability of media pieces in the internet age necessitates a reform of these complaint mechanisms to ensure that racist and offensive material can be contested at any time.

Our investigation, conducted in partnership with the Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre Australia (CIRCA), found that the majority of race-related opinion pieces were authored by people of Anglo-Celtic and European backgrounds. This is despite the fact that nearly one-
quarter of Australians are from non-Anglo-Celtic or European backgrounds. The report therefore argues for greater diversity in media organisations to promote more inclusive depictions of race.

For further information about this and previous reports about racism in the media, please see the Media Monitoring page on our website.

We’re recruiting Board members

All Together Now is recruiting two Non-Executive Directors (volunteers) to join its board.

About All Together Now: All Together Now is a small Sydney-based not-for-profit organisation that educates Australians about racism. It does this by imaging and delivering innovative and evidence-based projects that promote racial equity. It is community driven, it utilises partnered approaches and its work is intersectional. Many of All Together Now’s projects have won awards for social impact, including two awards from the United Nations.

Background: All Together Now was established in 2010. In approaching its ten-year anniversary it is looking to appoint two Non-Executive Directors to help take its work to the next level. One NED will have a strong focus on securing income from philanthropy and major gift income, while the other will have a strong focus on strategic communications with the media and parliamentarians.

The Present: The organisation’s current foci are:

  • Providing training for youth workers and other front-line workers so they are able to prevent recruitment by right-wing extremists in their community
  • Monitoring the media for racialised discourse and providing analysis on its findings
  • Working with affected communities to create solutions to racism

Over the past year, the organisation has trained over 100 front-line workers, and analysed over 150 opinion pieces and current affairs articles for racism. It has worked with not-for-profit organisations and government agencies to challenge racism and has secured project funding to continue to do so into 2020 and beyond.

The Future: All Together Now’s vision is for a racially equitable Australia, and over the next five years it will continue its work towards this vision by expanding its current programs interstate.

The Opportunity: Two NEDs are sought to compliment an existing board made up of the Founder and Independent Directors. As such, the successful candidates must bring complementary skills (as set out below) to the board but will also be tasked to use their demonstrable passion for anti-racism and specific connections to drive and guide the success of the organisation. The NEDs will also be required to work with the board to manage risk and contribute to meet the strategic, regulatory and governance challenges of the organisation.

This is an exciting opportunity to be involved with Australia’s largest anti-racism not-for-profit organisation that truly punches above its weight. It offers the rare opportunity to get involved in a human rights organisation that puts evidence at the heart of all of its work.

Core Requirements

All Together Now is seeking the following experience and qualities in a Non-Executive Director:

  • Governance: Demonstration of prior governance experience, ideally at a small not-for-profit organisation.
  • Skills & Experience: A strong understanding of the role of Non-Executive Directors, particularly in contrast to the role of Management. Evidence of one or both of the following to achieve strategic goals:
    1. Major gift fundraising
    2. Strategic communications (specifically with media and state/federal governments)
  • Networks & Connections: Desire to leverage your personal network to deliver All Together Now’s strategic goals. Ability and desire to forge new relationships with potential donors or in-kind supporters to secure funding that delivers structural capacity for All Together Now.
  • Cultural Fit: A demonstrable passion for innovation; experience working in human rights or social justice; a genuine passion for racial equity in Australia; and a strong alignment with All Together Now’s mission, vision, and definition of racism.

Location and Time Commitment

All Together Now has a national remit with its Executive Director based in Sydney. Directors may be based anywhere in Australia providing they have a good internet connection.

The Board meets once every three months in person (for Sydney-based Directors) and by Skype (for Directors based outside Sydney).

Directors are expected to follow through on actions as agreed at previous board meetings. This may include meeting with supporters, reading papers, and other activities that further All Together Now’s activities.

Remuneration: Volunteer

Application Details

Please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter outlining how you meet each of the core requirements to Priscilla Brice, Managing Director. People of colour, people from ethnic or cultural minority backgrounds, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are strongly encouraged to apply. Closing date is Sunday 9 June 2019.

How could a children’s toy be so divisive?

All Together Now’s volunteer Erika Rodriguez questions the support of the Golliwog in Australia

Why are some Australians still fighting for the right to produce, sell, or own the Golliwog doll if it has become such a controversial symbol?

These dolls have got a very honourable past and I don’t think it’s fair to inflict any sick connotations of racism onto something that’s got nothing to do with racism… People need to get a grip, it’s a doll.”  

Jan Johnco, National Sales Manager at Elka, the Australian soft toy manufacturer

Although the doll has been gradually removed from shops in the U.S., Europe, and the U.K., it is still being sold in many shops all across Australia, mostly to older, nostalgic baby-boomers who are missing the toys that they grew up loving. It’s even showing up in hot air balloon form, and criticised for being banned from the Canberra festival last month.

For a large community around the world, however, the Golliwog is more than just a doll. So, what exactly is a Golliwog, later Golliwog (without last “g”), where does the word come from, and why is this cuddly toy so divisive?

History

The creator of the Golliwog doll, Florence Kate Upton, was born in 1873 in New York to British parents during a time in U.S. history when minstrel shows were still rising in popularity. Early minstrel shows in New York allowed white performers to paint themselves black and don primitive, exaggerated African American features, now known as Black Face. With augmented noses, lips painted red and other features protruding, dressing up as poor and representing a caricature of an African American, these shows dehumanized and have perpetuated a negative, racial stereotype of Black Americans.

In 1887, Upton moved back to England where she illustrated a children’s book, “The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg.” The Golliwogg in her story was depicted with the same exaggerated features that were popular in the minstrel shows back in New York, and was described as “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome,” that made the other dolls “scatter in fright.

A similar racist, fictional character and childhood tradition was also created for children’s books in The Netherlands. Zwarte Pete, or “Black Pete,” and was said to have been inspired by a slave from Egypt who was brought to the Netherlands during the slave trade. This character was also designed with an exaggerated and insulting appearance said to have been influenced by the “Blackface” minstrel shows in the U.S.

While Black Pete remained mostly a Dutch tradition, interest in the Golliwog doll began to grow outside of the U.K. The image soon made its way around the world in various forms of childrens toys, advertisements, perfumes, and even mascots. During the civil rights movement in the U.S., the backlash and criticism of the Golliwog spilled over back to the U.K., as the blackface doll symbolised racial insensitivity toward people of African descent and a mockery of Black people during and after slavery.

The word, “Golliwogg”

If all of that isn’t reason enough to justify removing the doll from shops to avoid passing along this overt form of racial parody and disregard to younger generations, the word itself should at least spark some discussion in the diverse community that makes up Australia today.

In the early 1900s when the Golliwogg doll became popular in Britain, so did the shortened version of the word, “wog,” an offensive racial slur that referred to people who were dark-skinned. Years later the term was carried over to Australia during the nation’s White Australia Policy and was also used as a racial slur. In Australia however, the word “wog” referred to those who immigrated from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, especially large groups from Greece and Italy, and in some cases, anyone darker than the average White Australian. While some present day Mediterranean communities in Australia now wear this title almost with a sense of pride, the term in Britain still remains undeniably offensive and is considered on-par with the n-word in the U.S.   

Some people also theorise that the term “golliwog” actually originated from the Working On Government Service (WOGS) laborers in 19th century Egypt who were supposedly referred to as “ghouls” by the British soldiers. The Egyptian laborers’ children playe