Sharing power with people of colour

The good old Leftist racism again below.  Why cannot we judge people's competence without referring to their race?  If the agitators below were to come up with just one excample of a minority person who missed out on a prominent job when a less competent mainstream person got it, then they might have made a case.  But they did not.  

And judging competence needs to be multidimensional.  A person who is otherwise competent but who has a thick accent or an intrusive religion could quite rightly be judged as not ideal for a position involving a lot of contact with the public

And note that many people with a minority background in Australia were not born here.  And it can take a lifetime to build up the social skills and competencies to succeed in the political sphere.  You have to be perceived as "one of the boys" (or girls) to be politically successful -- and that can take very fine tuning indeed.  Many try but few succeed

And note that, ever since the conservatives put the very Aboriginal Neville Bonner into the Australian parliament, there have been many others elected who have some Aboriginal background.  There have been 52 Indigenous members of the ten Australian legislatures.  The Minister for Indigenous Australians in the current Federal government -=- Ken Wyatt -- identifies as Aboriginal

So the claim that minorities are systematically kept out of power in Australia is blatant rubbish on several levels.  It's just another Leftist whine and just another example of the Leftist obsession with race

The Diversity Council of Australia says racism is "when an individual or organisation discriminates, excludes, or disadvantages someone because of their race, colour, descent, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and/or immigrant status".

Other social scientists and academics also argue that racism requires both racial prejudice and institutional power. But it's a contentious definition because there are several levels of racism, such as internalised or interpersonal racism.

What one can't deny, though, is the fact that those who are in power, such as in governmental institutions and workplaces, are overwhelmingly white.

For example, the Australian Human Rights Commission, in a 2018 report, found that about 95 per cent of senior leaders in Australia came from an Anglo-Celtic or European background. Only 0.4 per cent are Indigenous Australians and under 5 per cent had a non-European and non-Indigenous Australian background.

"The people who make decisions about who can come into the elite are the people who are the current members. And they are very reluctant to recognise quality in people from backgrounds they don't understand," Mr Jakubowicz said.

What 'be a little less white' means

Anti-racism educator Robin DiAngelo says white people need to stop being defensive, and start talking about racism.

Peter Mousaferiadis, the founder and CEO of Cultural Infusion, said that as a result, the created system gives people who are connected to that cultural hegemony a privilege — or "white privilege" — while other people outside the group miss out.

The belief that white people have superior knowledge, opinions and capabilities is an obstacle for people of colour to gain similar power in society. Adding to that is an additional barrier for those whose native language isn't English.

That's why the focus should be shifted to having a wide representation of backgrounds, to help debunk that thinking.

"If we focus on representation, then we're going to create organisations and systems that mirror the environment," Mr Mousaferiadis said.

"Representation will iron out power for one particular group. The power will become more evenly [shared]."

But if we fail to do this, and if organisations don't mirror the reality of diversity, it can create tension.

Let's talk about racism, not cultural diversity

Racism is so "systemic" that it's "embedded" in workplaces, according to the Racism at Work report published by the Diversity Council Australia (DCA) on Monday.

Dr Virginia Mapedzahama, a co-author of the report, said those words focus on the "positive or celebratory things" and obscure a painful truth. "If we just concentrate on things like harmony, there's the side that we're not actually focusing [on]. There's another conversation that was silenced and we are not having," she said. 

Like "harmony", words like "diversity" and the bureaucratic acronym "Culturally and Linguistically Diverse" (CALD) often miss the point.

Would we be better off without 'CALD'?

Our varied backgrounds and experiences are all classified as culturally and linguistically diverse by the government. But the term's limitations may outweigh its utility.

"CALD is a problematic term. It derives meaning from the supposition that within a given population there is a subset who can be aggregated into a separate category," Mr Mousaferiadis told the ABC.

He said the continuation of accepting the CALD concept perpetuates the problems that organisations are attempting to overcome because it "normalises and entrenches the binary" between CALD and the dominant cultural group.

Further, it's an unhelpfully blunt term for a wide array of experiences — it can include Australians whose ancestors arrived more than 150 years ago from China and speak fluent English, as well as the Afghan refugee family who arrived in Australia a month ago.

The term "has had its day", Mr Mousaferiadis said, adding the focus should not be on identity itself, but what communities actually need.

Dr Virginia Mapedzahama said while concepts of diversity and social cohesion are important, "if we use those conversations as entry points to discussing racism, we're not going to get to eradicating racism at work". 

That's why many social scientists and anti-racism advocates keep reminding us to listen to the voices of people with lived experiences of racism.

But there are also barriers there — as Mr Jakubowicz points out, the linguistic aspect is often forgotten in discussions about racism, and we may unconsciously or consciously discriminate against people who have different accents.

When we don't hear accents in mainstream media, such as radio or television, it reinforces biases, Mr Jakubowicz said. "They're quite comfortable with people who look different, but very uncomfortable with those who sound different," he said.

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