The Australian Human Rights Commission released two new advertisements this week delivering strong messages about anti-racism as part of its ‘Racism It Stops With Me’ campaign.
One clip shows a man in a suit getting into a lift, before courteously keeping the doors open for a blonde woman who’s rushing to get in.
But when a darker-skinned woman is seen running towards the lift, the man notices though makes no effort to keep the lift open for her.
At the very last minute, the blonde woman puts her hand out to stop the closing doors, and chooses to get out of the lift and stand next to the other woman, as they give the man a glare and let him ride in the lift on his own.
The other clips shows an Indigenous man waiting for a taxi outside a bustling office building.
Another caucasian man steps out of the building and asks him if he’s been waiting a long time. Indeed he has.
But when the next cab rolls up, the driver offers his services to the second man only, and turns his vacant taxi light off as soon it’s suggested he serves the customer who’s been waiting longer.
These two ads, set to roll out across national television screens, have sparked quite a debate in recent days.
Many, both white and people of colour, have taken to social media claiming they haven’t witnessed or experienced this kind of racism in Australia ever.
But the increase in viral videos of racist rants on public transport, and the prominence of ‘go back to your own country’ slurs being dropped verbally and online in writing, is testament to racism unfortunately being well and truly existent in Australia.
Well done to the Australian Human Rights Commission for producing these ads, that as confronting as they may be to some, spark the neccessary debate and conversation about racial discrimination and what can be done to reduce it in this country.
“Racism frequently occurs at work and while people are doing everyday things such as catching a bus, riding a train, or flagging a taxi,” Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said in a statement this week.
“This might come as a surprise to Australians who tend to think that racism is a thing of the past. But independent research and the experiences of many people tells us otherwise.”
He added: “We hope these CSAs (Community Service Announcements) help create a culture where people are able to identify racism and have the confidence to respond appropriately and safely”.