Racism And Racial Discrimination In Indigenous Australians

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Racism and racial discrimination is a prevalent issue that negatively affects certain aspects of the health of ethnic minorities. We see this issue recurring amongst Indigenous Australians, migrants and refugees. Racism refers to the beliefs, practices and types of behaviours that underlie unfair and avoidable inequalities towards groups in society based on race, ethnicity, culture or religion (Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), 2015). There are a number of aspects of health that racism and racial discrimination can provoke and these include mental health, physical health, disability and mortality. This essay will focus solely on Indigenous Australians and how racism and racial discrimination affects the mental health of the group.…show more content…
It has been found that Indigenous Australians are more likely to die from assault from other Australians (AIHW, 2015). The early European colonisation of Australia often led to violent and deadly conflicts between the original inhabitants, the Aboriginal populations. Racism often played a role in this violence, through competition for land and resources and cultural misunderstandings over differing views of concepts based on sacred spaces and property ownership (Larson et. al. 2007). The European settlement opened the door towards the idea of Indigenous Australians being portrayed to not being able to defend their country, let alone themselves. Racial violence is also an outcome of xenophobia, the fear of people who are different. Racism is a major element in xenophobia and deep fear of races can express itself in racially motivated violence (American Psychology Association, 2015). Imitation of other non-Indigenous Australians through peer pressure and the societal norms of a nation are also motivators of attacks. Classical conditioning towards Indigenous Australians through the societal portrayal of Indigenous Australians is a common motivator too. Racial assault can also be a result of failure of The White Australia Policy, which began in the 1850's in an attempt to create a uni-racial nation (Windschuttle, 2015). Without acceptance of the fact that Australia cannot be only one race, the ignorance…show more content…
This includes the consumption of junk food, toxic substances- particularly petrol sniffing, as well as dangerous goods (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2015). This is a result of structure and agency as Indigenous Australian's risk behaviours are shaped by their social environment and context. The negative impacts of the post-colonial experience on Indigenous Australian people have shown strong correlations with unhealthy lifestyles, leading directly to mental illness (Paradies, Harris and Anderson 2008). For young adolescents, coping mechanisms tend to include unhealthy activities such as smoking, alcohol and drug use (Gray et. al., 2010). In reference to racism, AFL player Adam Goodes states, “I have family members who can’t take it as well as I can. They react with violence, with drinking, drugs. These types of things are a coping mechanism because people don’t understand how much racial abuse can hurt people. It can put people into depression.” (McQuire, 2014). This shows how racism leads to the Indigenous Australians engaging in risk factors as the only way to cope, and hence ever since the impact of colonisation, unhealthy behaviours including alcohol abuse and petrol sniffing have occurred. At the same time, racism causes Indigenous Australians to stop healthy activities like

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