News

Pain of subtle racism can impact on mental health

TAKING A STAND: Bundjalung Elders Council public officer Debbie Rhodes would like people to realise subtle racism and insensitive statements can lead to depression in those targeted.
TAKING A STAND: Bundjalung Elders Council public officer Debbie Rhodes would like people to realise subtle racism and insensitive statements can lead to depression in those targeted. Marc Stapelberg

BEING segregated or unfairly stereotyped is hurtful for anyone.

When it's purely on the colour of your skin it's a particularly painful blow to self-esteem and mental health.

Lismore-based Bundjalung Elders Council spokeswoman Debbie Rhodes spoke about her experiences with "subtle racism" as BeyondBlue launches a new campaign against discrimination.

"Subtle racism absolutely exists. It's a feeling you get. It comes out in people's body language or they'll watch you more closely and they might not even know they're doing it," she said.

"If the Elders Council put out something like this you'd hear people say, 'Oh, it's just the black fellas whinging again.' "

But survey-based statistics from BeyondBlue show 27% of indigenous Australians regularly experience racism and 20% of Australians admit they would discriminate against indigenous Australians.

Additionally, 21% would move away if an indigenous Australian sat near them, 21% would watch them more closely in a retail environment, 12% tell racist jokes, 12% would avoid sitting next to an indigenous person on public transport and 9% would not hire an indigenous Australian.

Ms Rhodes experienced discrimination on a recent visit to a local supermarket.

"Some guy asked to check my bag," she said.

"I refused, told him I'd been going there for 20 years. He said he'd call the manager and police but didn't check anyone else's bag."

Another uncomfortable situation last year also stuck in Ms Rhodes' memory.

"I went to a local credit union to do some business for the Elders Council. A guy behind the counter saw me, didn't serve me, closed his register and made out he was doing something else. The line kept getting longer but as soon as I was called to another register he opened up again."

Ms Rhodes congratulated Beyond Blue, who launched the campaign to improve the mental health of indigenous Australians.

"If you're an Aboriginal person getting this sort of thing it could lead to depression," she said.

"Is it any wonder why some Aboriginal young people are so aggressive? It's about the stereotyping of them as thieves or untrustworthy that they get."

Topics:  racism



43 animals netted in North Coast shark net trial

A number of at-risk animals were killed during the first 30 days of the shark net trials.

Five sharks, one turtle and one dolphin died in the first 30 days

LAND VALUES: Figures reveal how much your property is worth

Land values in Ballina have increased over the past 12 months.

Property in one Northern Rivers town has increased by almost 14%

Funnel webs in 'plague proportions' due to hot weather

A funnel web spider found in Tom Storey's pool at Wollongbar.

There's nothing worse than finding a deadly spider in your pool

Local Partners

New doco argues ‘OJ Simpson is innocent, and I can prove it’

O.J. Simpson

NEW documentary series claims to have found “missing evidence".

REVIEW: Undressed is more than titilating entertainment

Nathan and Tahlia meet for the first time on the TV series Undressed.

'DIVERSE' dating show goes more than skin deep.

Northern Rivers murder mystery takes out award at Flickerfest

MURDER MYSTERY: Northern Rivers young actress Yasmin Honeychurch in a still from the award-wiining film In a Canefield by Emily Avila and Coralie Tapper.

Finding'little star' brought film shoot to the region.

Will there be a Game of Thrones spin-off?

Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage in a scene from season six episode 10 of Game of Thrones.

HBO’S original programming president has teased fans.

Ed Sheeran's intimate gigs down under

Singer Ed Sheeran

CHART-topper playing invite-only shows in Australia next month.

Eddie McGuire's scandal-free focus and new-look Hot Seat

Eddie McGuire hosts the new Millionaire Hot Seat Super Game.

HOST wants out of the hot seat himself to focus on game show revamp.

LAND VALUES: Figures reveal how much your property is worth

Land values in Ballina have increased over the past 12 months.

Property in one Northern Rivers town has increased by almost 14%

6 new estates to build a home on the Northern Rivers

Land estates are available now on the Northern Rivers with some stages opening up soon.

Looking for a place to put down roots and raise a family?

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!