ABSTRACT

Being socially included requires two things. First, it must involve a motivation to be included in the group, as well as actions to operationalise that desire. Second, there needs to be some acceptance within the group of those who wish to be included. At the national level it is assumed that the desire to belong is in part driven by shared values and perspectives. Culturally diverse societies like those heavily influenced by immigrant settlement need to have such core values. They also need, however, to provide scope for un-reconciled cultural diversity. For example, diverse cosmologies and creation stories will need to be accommodated and respected. Similarly the different abilities of citizens to access core services and participate in civics and the economy need to be reasonably accommodated. A culturally diverse society that deters participation, or which, for example, endorses hierarchies of respect for different faiths, fails the second requirement of social inclusion described above. Over the last decade social inclusion policy debates in many western settler nations have seemed to focus more overtly on the desires and actions of ethnic minorities. There is an inference that the motivation, actions and public statements of ethnic minorities are suggestive of separatism or an unsatisfactory performance at being participatory. There has been rather less attention to those structural settings and aspects of everyday life that may make minorities less keen on belonging, or less able to. In this chapter we interrogate the link between the experience of racism and personal and social morbidities. A key social morbidity is social exclusion and fragmentation. While there has been some excellent empirical work internationally on the costs of racism, there has been rather less examination of the links between the experience of racism and belonging-ness. This would be fundamental to social inclusion. There is an assumption, though not tested, that the experience of racism would send a message to minorities that they are not welcome or are otherwise disparaged (for example, seen as deviant or culturally inferior). In a subsequent section of this chapter we review the literature on the morbid social and personal effects of racism. Ahead of that we look at the state of racism in Australia, as revealed in various reports. Our findings on the experience of racism in Australia and its impacts, makes up the substantive empirical component of this chapter. We document the extent to which the experience of racism affects belonging, and therefore inclusion, and the varied impacts of the different types of racism.