Australian racism study results explored at public lecture

Date: 24/06/2009

Australians overwhelmingly believe cultural diversity is good for the nation but they remain concerned about how this may impact on social cohesion, according to a study to be discussed at a University of Western Sydney public lecture tonight.

Professor Kevin Dunn, from the UWS School of Social Sciences, will present the latest findings from the 'Challenging Racism Project', which has tracked Australians' attitudes and experiences of cultural diversity and racism for the past 11 years.

In the lecture, Professor Dunn will draw on the findings from two telephone surveys of more than 16 000 Australians which show 87 per cent support cultural diversity.

"There is strong public demand for policies which protect cultural diversity and encourage Australians to share their cultural distinctiveness," says Professor Dunn.

"Over 85 per cent of those surveyed say something should be done to minimise or fight racism in Australia."

However, despite this pursuit of equality the survey revealed 85 per cent acknowledge there is racial prejudice in Australia. Over 40 per cent of Australians surveyed also feel cultural difference can 'pose a threat to societal harmony'.

"The community's anxiety about social cohesion is understandable given 19 per cent of people surveyed had experienced race hate talk and 11 per cent had been excluded based on race," says Professor Dunn.

"Recent events such as the attacks on international students and the subsequent protests contribute to this unease."

The 'Challenging Racism Project' is a collaboration including researchers from University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University, Murdoch University, University of Melbourne, University of South Australia and Victoria University.

WHAT: Professorial Lecture by Dr Kevin Dunn
WHEN: Wednesday 24 June 2009, 6pm to 8pm
WHERE: Building D 'The Playhouse', University of Western Sydney Penrith Campus, Second Avenue, Kingswood

Media note: Professor Dunn is available for interview prior to the event.



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Paul Grocott
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