What is culture?
Culture is often thought of from the perspective of language, race, and ethnicity and how it is expressed through art, music, food and literature. A cultural group however, can also comprise people who share a theme or an issue, such as gender, spirituality, sexual preference, age, physical issues, or social and economic status.
This hot topic aims to explain how cross cultural issues, including discrimination and racism, impact on the health and wellbeing of young people, what form this issue takes, and how to identify impacts on your child. It ends with ideas on how you can support your child and offers some resources you can access for more information.
What is discrimination?
Racism is a belief that a particular race or ethnicity is superior or inferior to others. Racial discrimination is any act where a person is treated less favourably because of their colour, race, descent, nationality or ethnic origin resulting in individuals being offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated. Any group that is considered a “minority” group in Australian society may be the victim of disrespectful, negative stereotyping which may lead to hurtful and discriminatory outcomes for the individuals involved.
Australia is a diverse country which is officially multicultural providing laws to protect its citizens from discrimination.
Despite legislation racism and discrimination do exist.
Why is cross culture acceptance important?
Young people from cultural minority groups experience a unique challenge as they seek to resolve understandings about their identity whilst coming to terms with the fact that some aspect of their lives is not accepted by society. Identity confusion can lead to extreme anxiety in young adolescents and if a young person has little to no connection with their cultural context they can experience an increasing sense of alienation.