And the losers are…the Indigenous!

by Larbz on November 13, 2016 - 12:50am

And the losers are…the Indigenous!

In this article, Priest, King, Bécares, and Kavanagh(2016), explore the concordance between bullying(physical and social) and racial discrimination, and its predominance among Australian children, since it was believed that it is done purposely against a group with different visible physical characteristics. This study conducted in 2011 from a sample size of 3956 ethnically blended (Indigenous, visible minorities and Caucasian) Australian children, sought to determine if ethnicity was a factor that contributed to bullying, by asking them questions about experienced discrimination. It did that by comparing the level of experienced physical and social bullying among all the 3 categories, to see if there were any patterns. Australia, a multi-ethnic and plural country, is a mesh between different nationalities and cultural background, and these kids are on the forefront of this diversity. Hence, it was important to know whether ethnicity was a factor that affected relationships with other people, especially since the consequences of this victimization could lead to potential long-term health consequences ranging from mental illnesses to obesity (Priest et al., 2016). The study found that the children, aged from 12 to 13, that had a different ethnicity(i.e. visible minorities), experienced less physical bullying than their Australian-born counterparts (Priest et al., 2016). Interestingly, it was not the place of birth that the children took into consideration, but rather the perceived physical trait. Indeed, children who had Caucasian European-born parents faced the same levels of bullying has their Australian-born counterparts (Priest et al., 2016). Although visible minorities were indirectly the supposed prime target for racial bullying, since they had obvious physical differences, it was the Indigenous children that reported the highest experienced levels of racially-based harassment (Priest et al., 2016). In fact, this research proved that ethnicity, especially from the children of immigrants, was unrelated to experienced discrimination, unless you were Indigenous. And so, even though they are physically different from the whites, they are also clearly considered as a distinct category possibly targeted by all the others.

This was a good study because its large sample was diverse and had enough categories to distinctly highlight if there were patterns related to experienced discrimination. But, it failed to provide an explanation as to why Indigenous children were the prime target of ethnic victimization. Also, it did not explicitly mention which category did the most bullying to another. Instead, it only compared the levels of experienced racial victimization for a given category. Because of that, as a reader, one needs to make unfounded inferences as for the nature and reasons behind these surprising results. Therefore, the conclusion and results of the study aren’t as significant. What was also lacking were the numbers. We did not know how many belonged to each ‘racial’ category. So, you can assume that the reason why bullying level were the lowest for the visible minorities, was because they were actually the majority. But still, one can assume that there was a dominant group that instigated an ‘us versus them’ approach against the Indigenous. Again, without being given any context, the reader cannot necessarily assume that the reason behind the targeting of the Indigenous as being based on their place and representation in Australian society. In most cases, the natives to the land, the conquered, often must face the contemporary consequences of the past (i.e. after losing their lands at the hand of powerful empires) in terms of discrimination or social inequalities. For example, if they are the equivalent of the Native Americans, then the reason could have been because of their stereotypical portrayal as being useless drunkard citizens. Then again, where did they acquire these ideas. Is it that the Australian school system doesn’t properly inform their students about the composition and history of the population. I doubt that if they informed them about what the Indigenous (or Native Americans) have and are still living through, racial discrimination would still ensue. As was founded in the study, White people, regardless of their ancestry experienced the same levels of bullying. I think this is mainly due to a clear fragmentation of this society into noticeable different physical traits. To quote French rapper Mc Solaar; “subassemblies in big assemblies, assemble”. This is one of the main aspects of racism; fragmentation. This fragmentation creates this feeling of belonging and superiority, which in turn, perpetuates the notion of wrongfully treating the ‘other’ group for their unshared differences.

Work Cited:

Priest, N., King, T., Bécares, L., & Kavanagh, A.M. (2016). Bullying victimization and racial discrimination among Australian children. American Journal of Public Health, 106(10), 1882-1884. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303328.

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Larbz, Larbz Mon Larbz