How can you know if something someone says or does is 100 percent racist? Acts of racism aren’t always clear; but being able to recognise them in their many forms and act accordingly is a social responsibility we all share, according to Polykala, a leadership development organisation that specialises in anti-discrimination.
As a student at the University, it's important that you know your responsibilities under the Student Charter. This includes treating others with respect regardless of gender, religion, race, sexuality or disability.
Most people recognise racism when it involves abusive, intimidating behaviour, but it can also be subtle or unintended, such as so called joking, name-calling, or social exclusion.
A comment or action may not be intended as malicious or hurtful, but this doesn’t change the impact felt by the victim. Imagine you’re passing a football with a friend and accidentally hit them in the face. You didn’t mean to hurt them, but nevertheless the impact might leave your friend with a bleeding nose.
Take their quiz below to test yourself on what you know about racism.
While casual acts of racism are often unintentional, they’re still learned behaviours caused by attitudes that need to be unlearned. We all need to play a part in calling out these kinds of remarks and standing up for those who are the target.
This can be hard to do, particularly if the offender is a friend, family member or peer. But being a bystander to racism tells people that their behaviour is okay, which perpetuates hateful attitudes and beliefs.
Some strategies you can use:
If you encounter or witness discrimination on campus, we encourage you to report it to our Student Affairs Unit. You can contact the team by email to make a confidential report.
The University of Sydney is partnered with the Australian Human Rights Commission's Racism. It Stops with Me campaign to rule out racism on campus and ensure everybody’s right to study, work or visit without facing discrimination.
Last updated: 8 March 2022