Videos encourage bystanders to speak up and speak out against racism

The Bystander Anti-Racism project at Western Sydney University aims to encourage bystanders to 'speak up and speak out' against racism to help prevent attacks within our community.

Approximately 17 per cent of Australians tell us they have experienced racism while 27 per cent will tell us they have witnessed 'race hate' talk.

International data shows that about one third of people will speak out when they witness racism. While Australian data suggests Australians might be a little more likely to act.

Professor Kevin Dunn, Dean from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology says our research shows there are two reasons why people don't speak up or speak out – The first is from fear of becoming a target themselves while the second is because the bystander doesn't know what to say or do.

In March 2014, 3,900 individuals participated in an online, nation wide survey, about bystander anti-racism. 1,068 of the participants indicated they had witnessed an incident they believed involved racism within the past 12 months.

From these results 860 of the responses were found to be bystander incidents; that is, they were incidents perceived to involve racism that the participants had witnessed as a third party not otherwise involved in the event.

"The project's objectives are to unearth the obstacles to pro-social action, and to better understand what can facilitate bystander anti-racism action," he says.

Incident reports taken from the surveys became the basis for the production of bystander anti-racism campaign material for the project. Four videos were then developed reflecting prominent cases of racism and anti-racism.

These four bystander anti-racism campaign videos were produced primarily to educate the public on what action they can take as witnesses of racism.

Videos take place: on a train, in a retail shop, at a sporting event and online.

"The ultimate aim of the Bystander Anti-Racism project and with the conception of the videos is to change behaviour," says Professor Dunn.

"If people no longer portray racial ignorance or feel comfortable acting out within the community, due to the fact that bystanders will take action - then we've had a dramatic effect."


15 December 2015

Tanya Patterson - Media Officer

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