All Together Now is expanding its team, and is now looking to fill two paid part-time positions:
The Office Manager is responsible for the administrative details of the organisation. S/he reports to the Managing Director and works 11 hours per week.
This is a 2+ year contract starting in May or June 2018. The Office Manager will work 11 hours per week from All Together Now’s office which is close to Central Station. Specific hours and days to be worked are negotiable.
The Office Manager will be paid a gross package of $60,000 per year pro rata, which is inclusive of 9.5% Superannuation. The gross package will be increased by 2.5% from 1 July 2018. In addition, the Office Manager will have access to Flexi-time and bonus holidays over the Christmas/New Year period.
Since mid-2016, All Together Now has sought to monitor and report on racialised discourse perpetrated by the mainstream media’s opinion leaders. In December 2017 the organisation released a report of findings and recommendations and has since received funding from the Department of Social Services to continue this work.
The Project Manager is responsible for delivering the project in line with the funding agreement, including managing the project staff and volunteers, budget, and timeline. S/he reports to the Managing Director.
This is a 3 year contract starting in July 2018. The Project Manager will work 4 days per week (preferably Tuesday to Friday) from All Together Now’s office, which is close to Sydney’s Central Station.
The Project Manager will be paid a gross package of $71,750 pro rata, which is inclusive of 9.5% Superannuation. The gross package will be increased by 2.5% from 1 July 2019, and again in 2020. In addition, the Project Manager will have access to Flexi-time and bonus holidays over the Christmas/New Year period.
Allysha Gusmardy is a bright 18 years old who has just finished her HSC in NSW and will be continuing on to university next year. She resides in the Inner-West of Sydney with her mother and father and sibilings, and is of Indonesian cultural decent. Allysha also adheres to the Islamic faith and wears her hijab like many of her friends. She went to school in Canterbury located in inner-west Sydney, NSW and always got on well with her peers while in high school. However, in Year 9 Allysha began to experience racial attacks from a fellow student at the high school she attended. Sadly, this is not an uncommon day-to-day occurrence with 1 in 5 students in Australian schools experiencing racism.
Allysha described in an interview of how she, even to this day, was perplexed as to why she was targeted by this one person’s racial attacks.
“I was so unsure of why she was so aggressive when it came to me. Was it because of my religion? But that couldn’t be it because all my friends were Muslim and while only few wore the hijab, she treated them with kindness and often complimented them.”
The perpetrator of the racism was a new student to the school who had been welcomed in to her group of friends and Allysha was in many classes with her. The girl became highly verbally aggressive towards Allysha and made her racial abuse clear. Allysha described what kind of abuse she was targeted with:
“She often called my hijab a tea towel and questioned why I wore it. She even called a Muslim boy from our neighbouring school a terrorists in front of my face, as though she were trying to elicit some sort of anger.”
During Ramadan, our P.E class engaged in a game of basketball. I and a few other Muslim girls asked the teacher if we could take a break seeing as we were fasting and that was when the new girl had mocked us. She pretended to whine, ‘Aw it’s Ramadan, I’m fasting. I’m soooo tired, I need a break Miss. I’m soo tired, guys I’m fasting’ and of course, some of the girls laughed, encouraging her.
She continued to mock Ramadan and fasting until finally I turned away. It was hard not to cry but seeing as no one stood up to her, or condemned her behaviour, it had left me in tears. A lot of my friends had confronted her and that was probably the only reason why she and I were then taken to the teacher in charge of Racism and Discrimination.”
Allysha felt that the teacher in charge of Racism and Discrimination had managed the situation appropriately when it was brought to her attention. As the student who had been committing the racial attacks on Allysha claimed “She’s not from here, she needs to go back to her country. I don’t like her kind” the Teacher responded with reminding her that she had immigrant parents also. Allysha used this opportunity to state to her attacker “I was born in this country. Why do I have to leave?” The student apparently saw the error in her remarks and halted her open discrimination against Allysha.
However, a side effect of this open halt was that the student perpetrating the racial attacks then chose to become more discreet. Allysha tells of how the student used social media and gossip to continue her negative discourse on Islam and herself.
We asked Allysha what her school was lacking that could have prevented such incidents occurring in the future. This is what she had to say:
Did you feel that your school responded properly to the reports of racism?
“Although the school responded well, I feel like there wasn’t actual any awareness about racism. I wanted there to be an announcement made at school for everyone to hear about.”
Do you think your schools are in need of to be able to prevent and intercede in a better manner to future incidents of racism?
“I feel like racism and discrimination should really be made clear. Everyone knows that racism and discrimination is wrong but there’s nothing that really solidifies it. The schools are always preaching about how they don’t tolerate it but it’s always seemed like a taboo.
Especially on racism, [it is needed] and would definitely reduce the incidents of racial attacks. Especially when they know where it sparked from. Although there will be [a] few ignorant people who will think the same backward thoughts, they would rarely act on the thoughts since the environment around them would be educated and racism would be seen as something serious rather than a petty ignorant thought/joke.”
Within a typical class size of 30 students were will be at least 6 students who have been targets of racial attacks at school. Most of these attack will come in the form of verbal abuse. This is not a healthy environment for any young person to be growing in. It is time to work together to eliminate stories like Allysha’s from our schools. It is time to embrace the concept of racism within our schools to be able to tackle it head on. Now is the time for education on understanding what racism is, how it affects people and what we can do to speak up against it to help eliminate future incidents. The youth are our future, so let’s build our future together starting in our schools.
The concept of “race“ has always been highly discussed and considered as controversial. Indeed, some people deny the existence of race. However, some Anthropologists and Sociologists employ this term as well to define humanity and categorise people according to their ethnic background. So, is there such a thing as “race”?
A society differentiates itself from another through its economical, cultural and social ecosystem. Most of the time, the interpersonal relationships among individuals lead to a formation of groups which define the codes, and the structure of a community. The notion of race as a matter of identification, between people sharing the same culture, the same nationality, and who have physical features in common, are taken into account. So, it seems to have a convergence between a certain biological reality and the social construction.
Anthropologists attribute two different meanings to the term “race”. On the first hand, they compare populations between themselves regarding their biological patterns, including features of the body and the face, and also genetics. This vision implies that races result from biological classifications, and also that geographical localisation has a consequence on it. On the other hand, “race” depends on the social groupings of people, meaning that it is more about social organisation and cultural construction, rather than physical features.
According to Sociologists, “race” results almost exclusively from a social categorisation. Depending on how a given group has been considered throughout history, it will be assigned a particular racial category (Anglo Saxons, Celtics and so on) regarding the group’s experiences and opinions. There are three theories, considered as the main ones to explain the notion of “race” through the Sociological perspective.
The Functionalists theory argues that differentiation by race tends to unbalance the societal order, by increasing conflicts. It leads to a positive issue for dominant groups, as minorities are scapegoated, so it helps to maintain the status quo in favour of the dominant group.
The Interactionist theory studies the social interactions between people issued from a different background. “Race” is considered a “product” of social interaction, and the nature of those interactions stresses tolerance or rejection.
The Conflict theory considers the economical organisation as the main factor in the exploitation of ethnic minorities. This theory refers often to ethnocentrism, Marxism, and the split of labour market to explain the racial prejudice, and thus recognises the existence of an ethnic stratification.
Considering these points, one may ask: can we talk about a “reality of race”? Indeed, depending on what factor is considered predominant, race is denied or real.
For instance, by analysing blood, racial boundaries do not exist, but are perceived as a genetic variation. It explains for example, why it is possible to find a majority of people with blue eyes in Scandinavia, and a high frequency of brown eyes in Africa. Features such as the colour of the skin, hair, lips and nose characteristics, seem to be related to geographical boundaries and especially climatic zones. Thus, nature has shaped humans for better adaptation, for example in the sunniest places, people have darker skin pigmentation to protect themselves from sunburn.
Those who think there is not such a thing as race, but who only give credit to this genetic perspective, refute the biological evidence. So, in this regard, it can be assumed that “racial identity” denial is due to political correctness. Actually, it comes from a good intention, because the proponents are aware of the potential danger represented by such a concept. For them, talking about race leads to the promotion of racism.
Does discussing “race” as a biological assumption, or as a social construction, act in favour or against racism?
Is there a correlation between race and racism? Many people argue that employing the notion of race, when alluding to human beings, would definitely emphasise racism.
Nevertheless, some Anthropologists disagree. Talking about racism would make it possible to have debates and open discussions. Avoiding discussions about race would make this notion a taboo, supressing dialog and the opportunity to use pedagogy to help people better understand the causes and consequences of racism, and teach them how to eradicate it. Indeed, one may wonder if denying the existence of race would lead to the denial of racism.
Even if the concept of “race” seems to be very difficult to clearly define, and sometimes abstract, the fact remains: racism is incontestably real and concrete.
Last night, All Together Now, held its annual general meeting in the presence of its board, members and supporters. It was an opportunity to review our recently released annual report and recognise the anti-racism achievements during the 2013-14 financial year. In the Chairperson’s report, Kylie O’Reilly highlights some of these key achievements including:
Leading up to our fifth birthday in June 2015, All Together Now will be reflecting on the recommendations from the Churchill Fellowship and looking for solutions to achieve racial justice in Australia. It will also be reviewing how it will make its business financially viable so it can continue this important work in the future.
All Together Now would like to invite its community to take a look our annual report to find more details of our major achievements, business activities and financial highlights available here.
All Together Now is concerned with racist attitudes and behaviours that are present in Australian schools creating a culture that sees ‘casual’ racism as being normal.
Racism occurs in explicit forms such as name-calling, teasing, exclusion, verbal abuse and bullying. It is also commonly and indirectly presented through prejudiced attitudes, lack of recognition of cultural diversity and culturally biased practices.
It has been acknowledged racism can have a profound effect on students, teachers and generally affects the overall school atmosphere.
The following effects have been identified by the NSW Government’s project ‘Racism. No Way!’.
Students who experience racism might
- be afraid of going to school
- have trouble studying and concentrating in class
- stay away from school
- feel anxious and unhappy
- have trouble making friends
- fall behind in schoolwork
- get lower results in their exams
- not speak their first language for fear of being teased or picked on
- reject their own culture and parental values
- be confused about their own identity
- be aggressive or disruptive.
Teachers who experience racism might
- not want to go to work each day
- lose confidence in their ability to teach
- feel anxious and unhappy
- stay away from school
- lose enjoyment in teaching
Effects on the whole school
- students making friends only with others
- from the same background
- fights in playground between students
- from different cultural or linguistic groups
- conflict between staff and students from different backgrounds
- unfriendly school environment
- parents not having confidence in the school and education system
Successful learning experiences are dependent on the sustained engagement of students which racism has proven to limit and disrupt. New research by Dr. Bodkin-Andrews of Macquarie University has highlighted such experiences could also negatively impact students’ academic performance.
In a sample of more than 500 high school students more than half the Indigenous and Asian students reported experiencing racism. Results suggest that greater experiences of racism are significantly associated with increased levels of hopelessness across all groups and lower level math and English ratings. One in three students from Anglo backgrounds reported experiencing racism and lower university aspirations, however, endured less of the negative effects of racism due to a strong sense of identity and perceived cultural respect.
This further emphasises inequities faced by Indigenous Australians high school students who on average miss one day of school per week and remain 2.5 years behind their peer.
All Together Now’s recent infographic Racism in Australian Schools, based on a report Experiences of Racism, Racial/Ethnic Attitudes, Motivated Fairness and Mental Health Outcomes Among Primary and Secondary School Students’ by Naomi Priest et al, illustrates that challenging racism in schools requires a sustained combination of early intervention and anti-racism action.
Further, Dr Bodkin-Andrews addressed the Australian Council for Educational Research’s annual conference in Adelaide in early August on how students can be resilient and challenge racism, “It’s not just about feeling good about yourself or denying that racism exists or being motivated.”
He noted in his recommendations that racism is affecting students in different ways and the ways in which students become resilient against racism is also quite diverse. As greater evidence emerges of racism in schools it suggests the issue is often not acknowledged or addressed in an effective manner by teachers or others in authority.
All Together Now envisions a school system where students do not have to be confronted with the adverse affects of racism and can engage in a positive learning experience with equal opportunities. Assisting students to develop a better understanding and respect for cultural differences in the classroom – and ensuring teachers know how to challenge racism if it occurs – will prepare students to engage in the wider society and embrace multiculturalism.
Both of my parents are considered boat people. They escaped the war in Vietnam and sought refuge in Australia. Thanks to them, I can now say that I’m an Australian-born artist contributing to society. Still I want to challenge something: why is it that we fear the arrival of immigrants? Oops, let me rephrase: why are people so blardy scared of boat people?
Remember, my parents are boat people, does that make them illegal? Technically, they are labeled as refugees. Due to the Vietnam War during the 1980s, an overwhelming humanitarian effort helped the displaced Vietnamese refugees resettle around the world.
My mother’s boat story
Under the cover of the night, she made contact with the boat captain. She told me that she was slightly acquainted with him, so she was able to receive passage. The tiny boat was overcrowded, what was meant for 5-10 was filled with closer to 50 frightened people. It wasn’t long before the engine broke down. Did I mention pirates came and took what little they had? They floated for just under two weeks before a Malaysian ship saved them. She stayed in a refugee camp for almost two months before she was given permission to fly to Australia. Long story short: she escaped by boat to Malaysia and flew to Australia.
Asylum Seekers are not ‘illegal’ boat people
Today the word refugee has negative connotations. There’s a misconception that asylum seekers are seen to be illegal arrivals to Australia. Just because they are missing certain papers doesn’t mean they are not trying to escape from persecution from their homeland. Again, lets emphasise that refugee are not illegal under international law. Article 14 of The Universal Declaration states “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” 9 out of every 10 ‘boat people’ are eventually found to be genuine refugees. So what’s the difference between the experiences my parents went through and the ones today? The answer is: there is no difference.
They are people fleeing from persecution, usually running away from being persecuted by their own government
Xenophobia and the boat factor
Largely our xenophobic attitude has allowed us to quickly join the ‘stop the boat’ wagon and contribute to our ‘we’re full’ attitude. The propaganda ‘stop the boats’ campaign doesn’t help, it only adds to the fuel of belief that they are a threat to society. I believe that the seed of doubt was planted long before the anti-boat campaign and pre-SIEV X incidents. Or the way we dealt with ‘Yellow Peril’, where the arrivals of Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush days were seen as an economic threat. We only have to look at the White Australian Policy to realise that we haven’t quite gotten over the the perils of newly arrive immigrants.
Asylum seekers are not ‘queue jumpers’
There is no such thing as a queue for asylum seeker to patiently line up and escape from persecution. In Iraq and Afghanistan, there are no queues for people to flee or ‘jump’ from. Without any diplomatic representation in these countries, standards for refugee request and process don’t exist. Few countries between the Middle East and Australia are signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention, so many of are forced to continue their travels to another country to find protection.
Positive contribution by immigration
Immigration is very much a focal point of life in Australia, it is worth look at some of the benefits of immigration for Australia:
– Economic benefit: We still are relatively small population and readily available skills are in short supply. With the example of the mining sector, we would be near as powerful today if it was not for the every growing influx of skilled workers from overseas.
– Cultural diversity: By celebrating cultural diversity, we have open up a whole range of new opportunities, including trade, education and investments. Also, we only have to walk on the streets to find a range of awesome and amazing diverse range of cuisines.
Happy Refugee Week
I digress from the main topic; originally I wanted to highlight Refugee Week. I wanted to write a story about my parents’ refugee story and I realised that there are more issues that are in place. I feel a slight pain to hear of the plight of asylum seekers in detention centres. There are many times that I wonder and thought to myself, that could have easily been my parents’ story too. I know I’m lucky to be where I am now, to write and share this is something that only happened because my parents escaped and found refuge in Australia.
So yeah, happy refugee week.
Suzanne Nguyen is an artist and story collector. She is currently building a collection that explores race and racism in Australia as part of @TheTwoChairs.