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How does racial injustice/racism affect university students and how can students speak out?

G’day everyone, my name is Callum McKenzie, and I am the Education Director of the Notre Dame Social Justice Society (NDSJS). I am in my third year of my Bachelor of Education (Secondary) & Arts degree, majoring in History and English Literature.

This blog post is going to be about ‘How does racial injustice/racism affect university students and how can students speak out about these things?’ I would first like to start off by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land both in Sydney and Fremantle; the Gadigal of the Eora Nation in Sydney and the Wadjuk of the Walyalup Nation in Fremantle. I pay respects to their Elders past and present.

Racial Injustice/Racism is a major talking point in the world as of present. The recent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police in May has sparked massive protests worldwide about the systematic racism and racial injustice that is ever present in our lives. In Australia, we have seen protests and talking points about how white Australia has lacked in supporting our Indigenous brother’s and sisters’ in standing up for them. Many are still very dismissive of what has happened in the recent past, with the death of incarcerated Indigenous people’s but also our history, with the ‘Frontier Wars’ still not being recognised or spoken about in society today.

As students, we have many different avenues and ways that we can help speak up about these things. Firstly, we can Listen to those that may have faced racial injustice or racism. When we listen, we show the other person that we care about their experiences and do not pass judgement on them. Secondly, as a student you can Speak Out when you hear or see racism occurring on campus. You may be sitting in the common room, library or in-class, if something is not right speak-out about it either to a friend, family or lecturer to make sure that this does not happen again.

Outside of Notre Dame students can speak up about this in many different ways. A great way to get involved with dealing with racism and racial injustice is by volunteering. There are many charities and organisations both in Sydney and Fremantle, e.g. The Aboriginal Benefits Foundation, Together for Humanity and All Together Now just to name a few.

Another great way to speak-out about racism and racial injustice is to read and get educated on these issues. By learning more about the problems that many people face due to racism you can educate others on now what to do and how to call out racism and racial injustice in society. Some great books to read include Why Weren’t We Told by Henry Reynolds, Black Skin White Masks by Frantz Fanon, Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe and Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

All these ways either at Notre Dame or outside it, can help people that face racism and racial injustice on a daily basis. By just listening to someone or by volunteering your time, all these ways can help end the horrible treatment that has plagued our society for many, many years.


Article by Callum McKenzie

Education Director NDSJS 2020

Contact Callum:

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