ADNSW holds discussions about race discrimination with the Indian community

Published 13 December 2021

Image of MS Teams meeting with Indian women and ADNSW staff smiling at the camera

ADNSW partnered with IABBV Hindi Language School on 30 November to hold a discussion with more than 20 Indian community members on the impact race discrimination and how ADNSW could make it easier for them to make a complaint.

Ms Mala Mehta OAM, President and Founder of IABBV Hindi Language School said she thought it was a serious issue impacting the Indian community and that it was important to do what she could to support a positive step towards discussing and eliminating discrimination.

Young, active and passionate leaders in the Indian community gave insights into their personal experiences. Speakers included Ms Saloni Sharma, a lawyer who also volunteers at the Refugee Casework and Service Centre; Ms Carmila Chand who is a project coordinator at Hindu Youth Australia and an ambassador for languages for NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) Community Languages Schools program and Ms Amanpreet Kamal who is a project officer at the University of Sydney, an event coordinator at Revesby Punjabi School and like Ms Chand, an ambassador for languages at NSW DET.

The young female leaders spoke about lived experiences of racism growing up in Australia which many still face now in some of their workplaces that may affect their careers.

“I believe that the lack of cultural diversity is the key reason for under reporting of race discrimination at workplace... I believe there is a cultural of tolerance rather than acceptance when it comes to race in Australia. A workplace without cultural diversity is workplace that’s highly susceptible for issues like cultural bias, stereotyping and western leadership model. These encourages race discrimination issues to go on un-noticed and exacerbate pre-existing power imbalances,” said Ms Sharma.

Ms Sharma also added examples of workplace discrimination including losing a promotion that an individual worked so hard towards to someone who is not from a minority background or simply been excluded from client events or even informal events organised by a colleague.

“One of the main reasons that Indians do not speak up about discrimination is due to the fear of losing their jobs and difficulties including time, costs and energy associated with taking legal action against employers. Sometimes it is easier to ignore the issue and move on. I believe the step one in addressing race discrimination issues at workplace is to improve culture diversity within an organisation and implement practical steps to ensure cultural diversity is accepted, valued and protected,” said Ms Sharma.

Other participants discussed how damaging race discrimination is to individuals and society even in its most subtle forms. They said that experiencing race discrimination continually affects a person’s sense of belonging and prevents them from contributing to society throughout their life.

ADNSW discussed the availability of translated resources about discrimination with the Indian community. Participants were also encouraged to make an enquiry or complaint in their language and an interpreter would be arranged if they were to participate in a conciliation conference.

Last updated:

13 Dec 2021

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