Australia has embraced multiculturalism. But while policies in the area of community services to ensure effective outreach in diverse communities has been widely acknowledged, what continues to remain less evident is efforts by mainstream society to encourage social diversity in all walks of life. Social diversity, whether by gender, race, age or sexual orientation must be encouraged through active promotion and engagement.
For many immigrants and particularly people of colour from the geographical South, we continue to face barriers like discrimination particularly in the workplace and pressures to assimilate to be in any relevant “mateship’ circle.
One only has to look across at the United States which celebrates social inclusion through affirmative action in recruitment and employment policies. As a woman of colour who has lived in the United States and again recently visited in early 2015, one cannot help but notice the significant changes over the last ten years and how strongly social diversity is reflected in everyday television from talk show hosts, reality TV, news anchors and popular TV shows. The value of this progress is enormous as not only does it break down persistent stereotypes of people of colour but allows a migrant to have the confidence to pursue opportunities in pursuing their dreams for themselves and their children and dare I say offer their perspective in cross cultural dialogue.
Social inclusion is a bedrock of any healthy democracy and White Australia can no longer afford to just pay lip service to multiculturalism.Through the development of an interactive website, my hope is we will start a dialogue with people of colour in Australia on how we can create opportunities for ourselves to diversify our interests, skills to enter new professions and ensure our unique voices are reflected in mainstream media.
We understand that language can be a barrier for many but we encourage engagement through finding friends who can write and translate English into your mother tongue for your active participation.
There are many other issues and we encourage inter-generational and cross cultural introspection in common themes of parenting, education, employment and cultural identity. Then there are the more creeping and concerning issues of surveillance and policing.
Immigrants from the geographical South and children of immigrants who reside in Australia