Commitment to preventing racism

Racial discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfavourably because of race, nationality, skin colour, descent, or ethnic background. It stems from the misguided belief that one race or ethnicity is superior to another. 

Racism leads to unequal distribution of power, opportunities, benefits, and access to resources such as jobs, education, and health care.

In Australia, it is illegal to offend, insult, humiliate, or intimidate someone in public based on the race, colour, national or ethnic origin of a person or group of people; this behaviour is known as racial hatred.

Recognising the various forms of racism is the first step in addressing it.

Casual or indirect racism

Subtle, indirect, or casual racism can appear as microaggressions. It happens when an intentional or unintentional remark targets a person based on their racial background. Any form of racism is unacceptable, whether overt or subtle or occurs in a casual environment. It’s just not on.

Examples of casual racism include:

  • choosing not to sit next to a person because you feel uncomfortable about the colour of their skin
  • making fun of someone’s background, even if it is disguised as a joke.
Direct racism

This type of racism involves deliberate acts, like posting negative comments online about a specific ethnic group.

Systemic racism

Systemic racism occurs when institutions like government, media, police, hospitals, and schools discriminate against certain groups due to historical power imbalances.

Racism is harmful. It can impact a person’s quality of life, wellbeing, mood, self-esteem, and sense of safety. It can cause people to feel unwelcome, leading to isolation and limiting opportunities for education, work and social interaction. 

Racism is not welcome in our district – in our health services, in our staff rooms, and in our community. The Mid North Coast Local Health District is a registered supporter of the Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Racism. It stops with me.’ campaign.

Sadly, 40 per cent of the racism our staff face while performing their healthcare duties comes from community members.

We’re putting in place systems and processes to deal with and prevent racism at all levels.

We encourage our patients, visitors and staff to report incidents of racism. Reports will be treated seriously.

Importantly, we encourage our staff and customers to speak up against racism, be an ally, and support anyone affected by racism.

To learn more, visit the Australian Human Rights Commission’s  ‘Racism. It stops with me.’ campaign.


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