RACISM towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people appears to be decreasing, with a decline in racist attitudes since beyondblue’s The Invisible Discriminator campaign launched two months ago.
The finding is revealed in a campaign evaluation, which also found the campaign had reached exactly half of its target audience of non-Indigenous 25-44-year-olds via television, digital and outdoor advertising.
The campaign’s success is highlighted by other findings that include:
– 35% of the target audience disagree that moving away from an Indigenous person when they sit nearby is discriminatory, down from 46% before the campaign
– 22% disagree that watching Indigenous people as they shop is discriminatory, down from 30%
– 35% disagree that telling jokes about Indigenous Australians is discriminatory, down from 40%
The figures have been released to coincide with National Mental Health Week, which starts this week, October 5-11.
beyondblue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC said the figures demonstrate why the campaign, which shows the devastating psychological effect of subtle racism, was needed.
“Racism, like any form of discrimination, can lead to distress and in turn depression and anxiety,” he said. “ABS data shows Indigenous Australians are twice as likely to die by suicide as non-Indigenous Australians, and are almost three times more likely to experience psychological. Separate research shows racist attitudes and likely racist behaviour remain common. Given these factors, beyondblue decided to launch The Invisible Discriminator.
While there is still much work to do, the campaign’s early success shows that many people are prepared to stop certain subtle behaviour that is discriminatory, once they realise how harmful it is. With National Mental Health Week now upon us, it is a good time to reflect on how our actions affect the wellbeing of those around us, and how we can help someone who might be struggling.”
The campaign evaluation also shows the campaign appears to be increasing awareness of racist behaviour.
Before the campaign launched, 50% of the target audience said they knew of a person not being hired because he or she was Indigenous. Since then, this number has climbed to 57%, with similar rises in the number of people who have witnesses people purposely not sitting next to an Indigenous person on a bus (48% to 55%) and people moving away from an Indigenous person when he or she sits nearby (50 to 54%).
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said with the campaign reaching 3.3 million 25-44 year-olds and attracting 3.7 million online views, including a 1.5 million YouTube views, it was making a difference.
“This was the first time in Australia that a campaign linked social and emotional wellbeing with subtle racism and the reaction to it has been phenomenal,” she said. “It was greeted with an overwhelmingly positive reaction when it was launched and these latest figures confirm it is changing attitudes and probably behaviour as well. beyondblue is grateful to the millions of Australians who have watched, liked and shared the campaign online.
“Each of them has helped make a difference and will continue to help improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
As part of National Mental Health Week, beyondblue will be unveiling a series of new mental health programs later in the week.