Tag Archives: everyday racism

“I’m not racist. I have black friends.”

Coming from our blog last year about “10 signs you might be a casual racist” we have designed some easy to use step-by-step infographics you can use and share around. Here is part 2 of the new visual series:

Episode #2: “I’m not racist. I have black friends.”

You can catch up on Episode #1 here.

Casual Racism_2_Friends (2)

I’m Not Racist, but…

Coming from our blog last year about “10 signs you might be a casual racist” we have designed some easy to use step-by-step infographics you can use and share around. Here is part 1 of the new visual series:

Episode #1: “I’m not racist, but…”

Casual Racism_1_Racist

Intercultural Innovation – a trip to Spartanburg

You may remember that last August, All Together Now’s Everyday Racism app won an Intercultural Innovation Award. Part of the prize includes attendance at capacity building workshops to build our organisation’s sustainability.
So, last week I flew to South Carolina in North America as a guest of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group tolearn more about fundraising, leadership and interpersonal excellence. I had the chance to practice pitching All Together Now’s work to several philanthropists and gain some useful insights into how we could improve our strategy and communications.

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I am extremely grateful to both UNAOC and BMW for their support, encouragement, and connections, enabling us to improve our work in Australia.

As a result of this prize, All Together Now is able to expand on what it learned from building the Everyday Racism app. Our team is now creating an educational iPad app for 8-10 year olds to teach them about racial bias. This app is expected to be launched in mid-2016. We are currently working very closely with some academics in both Australia and the USA to ensure this app will be evidence-based and independently evaluated.


10 signs of casual racism

While everyone is quick to recognise overt racism when we see it—we share it on social media and read about it in the news—many of us overlook a subtle form of racism that’s often disguised as a joke, stereotype or subconscious decision we make. Here are 10 signs you might have inadvertently done something ‘casually’ racist:

1. You start a sentence with “I’m not racist but…”

Prefacing a potentially racist statement with “I’m not racist but” doesn’t make it less offensive. So next time you feel the need to start a sentence this way, remember: it’s unlikely anything good will follow those four words…

2. “I’m not a racist. I have black friends.”

Having friends from an ethnic minority background does not give you permission to make racist comments. What might be acceptable to your close friends, may be offensive to someone outside of your trusted circle.

3. “You speak so well for an Asian.”

While you genuinely think you’re giving someone a compliment, what you’re also saying is that Asian people (or other ethnicities) have an inferior grasp of English. And even as Australia continues to welcome new migrants into our society, the fact is many people of Asian backgrounds are Australians who were born or raised here.

4. “Yes but where are you really from.”

This innocent question stems out of curiosity, but also implies that people who don’t have white skin or an Australian accent can’t call Australia home or couldn’t possibly have grown up here. As a multicultural society, it’s important to respect every resident’s right to call Australia home. We suggest asking the less derisive question: What’s your cultural heritage or background?

5. You get nervous around Muslims or Hindus on airplanes.

Racial profiling happens every day and it’s not just by law enforcement officers or airport security staff; many regular Australians also hold prejudices towards people of certain cultural or religious identities. What you may call a ‘harmless stereotype’ often impacts the daily lives of entire groups of people.

6. You cross the road to avoid people of a certain race.

See number 5.

7. You don’t see color, just the human race.

While it may come from a well-intended place, this form of ‘colourblind racism’ dismisses society’s history of racism, system of white privilege, and the everyday experiences that people still face because of racism. Even if you can ignore skin colour, society does not.

8. You are more offended by “reverse-racism.”

Some white people get upset by what they call “reverse racism”. They believe white people are adversely affected by policies designed to help minority groups in society. If reverse-racism gets you upset and defensive, this educational video might help reverse the situation…

9. When someone’s offended, you tell them to “take a joke.”

With Australia’s laidback culture, it’s easy to dismiss those offended as uptight people who ‘can’t take a joke’. Instead, try to see it from their point of view or learn about their experiences. Remember: we don’t have the right to choose who gets offended by our jokes. Impact is more important than intent.

10. Avoiding somebody because of their race, nationality or ethnicity.

This is the subtlest form of casual racism but it can be as hurtful as calling people racist names. Avoiding somebody can make them feel as if they don’t belong in Australia.

What Exactly Is Casual Racism?

Casual racism is racially-insensitive behaviour that often goes unnoticed in everyday interactions. It’s often hard to spot, because casual racism is so commonplace and normalised that it sometimes forms part of our daily lives.

Casual racism can include jokes or statements that highlight (in a negative way) cultural differences such as physical appearance, cultural practices or accents. It can also be expressed through beliefs, prejudices or behaviours that we sometimes don’t realise we exhibit. To learn more, read Explainer: what is casual racism– a piece written by our academic partners Jacqueline Nelson from the University of Western Sydney and Jessica Walton from Deakin University.

How It Affects People

Casual racism is more than a ‘harmless joke’ or comment. It often leads to subconscious discrimination, marginalises those who stand up and ultimately helps real racists in our community validate their views. By normalising racial stereotypes in society, we also help to perpetuate the next generation of schoolyard and office bullies.
This evocative video, made by anti-depression organisation Beyond Blue, explains how casual racism can also affect people’s health.

Also Read: What is White supremacy and how do white supremacist groups operate in our community?

How Can You Help?

Empathise – Whatever your race, showing empathy is a good place to start. This means listening to people affected by racism, hearing about their everyday struggles, and understanding the effects of privilege. To put yourself in the shoes of someone experiencing racism, try our Everyday Racism app.

Speak up – Discover ways you can safely speak up against racism.

Keep the conversation going – One of the best ways to make casual racism more visible is to talk openly about it. We encourage you to share your experiences at work, in social situations and on social media. By speaking up together, we can work towards making casual racism unacceptable in our everyday lives. What do you think? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Everyday Racism Project Wins Prestigious Award

Last week I was in Bali at the invitation of the UNAOC (United Nations Alliance of Civilizations) and the BMW Group. The annual Intercultural Innovation Award is a partnership between these two organisations that aims to select and support the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation around the world.

All Together Now’s mobile phone app Everyday Racism won second prize at the Award ceremony. This is quite an amazing achievement given that over 600 projects from all around the world were nominated. It is such an exciting moment for all of us at All Together Now!

Video provided courtesy of BMW Group. Video produced by TVT Creative Media.

While in Bali I was fortunate to spend time with all of the finalists and hear about their inspirational projects that collectively spans all continents. Our neighbour finalist from the Asia-Pacific region is Manav Seva Sansthan “SEVA”. This project is working along the Indo-Nepal cross border transit points to facilitate safe and informed migration among the vulnerable Nepalese migrants and combat human trafficking under the shadow of migration. Such an inspiring story!

The Intercultural Innovation Award Press Conference

Photo provided courtesy BMW Group. Photographer: Leonard Adam Photography. Yes, that is Ban Ki-Moon in the centre!

All Together Now looks forward to working with the UNAOC and the BMW Group over the next year to strengthen our business plan and scale our app to new audiences, particularly 14-17 year olds.

The success of the Everyday Racism app would not have been possible without the following people and organisations. Props to all of you!

  • Prof Kevin Dunn, Dr Jacqueline Nelson & Rosalie Atie of University of Western Sydney
  • Prof Yin Paradies of Deakin University
  • Dr Naomi Priest of Melbourne University
  • Murray Bunton, Scott Sanders, Tim Middelmiss, Andrew McNaughton, Tom Maitland & Rosie Woodhead of Agency
  • Marcelo Baez, graphic artist
  • Jonathan Adams of Ten Alphas
  • Monty Noble of Noble Brands Worldwide
  • Our project advisory committee: Zubeda Raihman, Mariam Veiszadeh, Aisha Jabeen, Blake Tatafu, Adam Hansen, Nat Heath, Peter Dawson, Rahul Dhawan, Mridula Amin, Tanvi Bedi
  • All Together Now’s project team including Priscilla Brice, Will Harvey, Delphine Vuagnoux
  • All Together Now’s Chairperson Kylie O’Reilly



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