Research from the Mayi Kuwayu Study shows that everyday discrimination causes a significant share of psychological distress for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The health and social inequities we see today between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people are not due to biology or race – these are clear, direct consequences of Australia’s settler-colonial history and ongoing racism
Tackling racism is the necessary first step to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing — so let's end racism. Watch the video to hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about the impacts of discrimination and their visions for world without racism.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long said that racism has negative consequences for health.
We wanted to be able to show how big an impact racism can have on wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We measured eight types of everyday discrimination in the Mayi Kuwayu Study:
65% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have experienced one or more of these types of everyday discrimination.
We found that over two-thirds of those who experienced these types of everyday discrimination thought it happened because they were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Nationally, we estimate that over 200,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults experience what we call everyday racial discrimination.
What are the impacts on psychological distress?
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows over 30% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults — 149,000 people — experience high or very high levels of psychological distress.
For up to 27% of this group — 41,000 people — everyday racial discrimination could have caused that psychological distress.
How does this compare with the non-Indigenous population?
13% of non-Indigenous adults experience high or very high psychological distress.
This compares to over 30% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.
In a world without racism, we shouldn't see a difference in these figures,
but we see a gap of 18 percentage points.
We found that just these 8 types of everyday racial discrimination could explain almost half of this gap.
Getting rid of everyday racial discrimination would almost halve the gap in psychological distress.
We believe that if we could eliminate the system of racism, there would be no gap at all.
That's why we're focused on ending racism.
An Engaged ANU Production