- DEMI LYNCH -
Facts are facts - Australia is racist.
New research shows 3 in 4 Australians hold an unconscious racial bias against Indigenous people.
Researchers from the Australian National University surveyed over 11,000 people in a 10 year period.
According to one of the researchers, Siddharth Shirodkar; no matter the age, gender, job, religion, education level or income - majority of survey respondents held an implicit bias against First Nations people.
Siddharth Shirodkar says 'implicit bias' is what can potentially cause racism or discriminatory actions.
He says, "The reality is if your unconscious bias remains unconscious and unchallenged and you don’t identify it, if you are not even aware of it, then it is potentially weighing on all of your decisions and how you behave.”
Other research shows Indigenous people are unfairly targeted by police in strip searches.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up approximately 4% of Australia's population.
Yet the Redfern Legal Centre found that in New South Wales Indigenous people make up 12% of strip searches.
Solicitor for the Police Accountability Practice at Redfern Legal Centre Samantha Lee says it's likely the percentage of Indigenous people being strip searched is higher.
"I think you can probably double it," she says, "Because what we found through the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission is that police are often not recording strip searches."
"In fact police often fail to understand strip search laws properly."
Police in New South Wales have also been found to legally pursue Indigenous people for small drug crimes more than non-Indigenous people.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found that between 2013 and 2017 80% of Indigenous people who were caught with small amounts of cannabis were legally pursued by police and taken to court.
However, statistics showed only 52% of non-Indigenous people were legally pursued when caught with small amounts of weed.
All these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg of Australia's internalised racism.
Racism cannot disappear overnight but we can make the conscious effort to understand and educate ourselves on this nationwide problem.