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Are you being subtly racist?

Who hasn't heard a joke about a racial minority? One that's followed up with “it's ok, I'm not racist, I have loads of them as mates.”

As much as the person telling the joke think this is an acceptable thing to say, it's not. This is casual racism – the kind that cements racial intolerance in a scarily acceptable way.

Beyond Blue – campaigners for mental health and now racial discrimination – have hit back recently with an awesome advert that focuses on casual racism. This is a subtle kind of racism, demonstrated by slight actions rather than outright hatred. It is depicted as being actions such as avoidance on the bus, in-jokes in the pub, unnecessarily awkward job interviews. The things we see everyday.

The Invisible Discriminator - Stop. Think. Respect.



But what's so effective about this campaign is the fact that it's terrifyingly accurate. How often have you sat on a bus and weighed people up as they got on? Judged people with no grounding? Be honest with yourself. You may not be vocally racist or even realise what you're doing is wrong but these subtle actions – judging a person without knowing anything about them – are actions that cut deep.

We are only human, and as humans we have the unbelievable ability to sense discrimination. It could be a look, subtle body language or even in the words the other person doesn't say. It doesn't have to be abrupt to be racist. And that's the scary part about this campaign – what they are talking about is probably something we are all guilty of.

The mass public is casually racist – we judge without knowing anything about a person and listen to the majority when it comes to identifying ‘traits' of a race. The use of casual racism has resulted in a widespread belief that certain people ‘can't be trusted', or seem ‘edgy'.

We all need to start taking responsibility for our actions – even the casual ones. As the casual ones are the actions that create accepted beliefs.

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