Caring for Students - Understanding Racism

What is racism?

To enable students and staff from all cultural backgrounds to connect and succeed in the learning and working environment, the department is committed to building inclusive and racism-free school communities. An understanding of the nature of racism, its manifestations and effects is required to effectively counter it in schools.

Racism can take many forms, such as jokes or comments that cause offence or hurt, sometimes unintentionally; name-calling or verbal abuse; harassment or intimidation, or commentary in the media or online that inflames hostility towards certain groups.

At its most serious, racism can result in acts of physical abuse and violence.

Racism can directly or indirectly exclude people from accessing services or participating in employment, education, sport and social activities.

It can also occur at a systemic or institutional level through policies, conditions or practices that disadvantage certain groups.

It often manifests through unconscious bias or prejudice.

On a structural level, racism serves to perpetuate inequalities in access to power, resources and opportunities across racial and ethnic groups.

The belief that a particular race or ethnicity is inferior or superior to others is sometimes used to justify such inequalities.

— Australian Human Rights Commission, National Anti-Racism Strategy July 2012