SOAR - speak out against racism

SOAR - speak out against racism header

 

What is SOAR?

Racism and racial discrimination are major issues in the lives of many Australian children and young people, including at school. Racism and racial discrimination are unfair and unjust. There is also strong evidence racism and racial discrimination have harmful effects on children and young people’s mental health, such as depression, anxiety, behaviour difficulties, and suicide risk, sleep and on their physical health, including obesity risk, blood pressure and immune and inflammatory markers.

Childhood and adolescence is also a key time for the development of lifelong social beliefs, attitudes and behaviours as well as for identity formation.

School-based programs to eradicate racism and racial discrimination from the lives of children and adolescents and to promote societal anti-racism and bystander action are needed to optimise health and wellbeing for children and adolescents.

The Speak out against racism (SOAR) project is a collaborative school-based study on racism, racial discrimination and bystander responses to racism among Australian schools.

SOAR consists of two components:

SOAR survey – a population-representative survey (n = 4664) on the experiences, attitudes and intended behaviours of year 5–9 students in New South Wales (NSW) and Victorian government schools, and their teachers, in relation to racial discrimination, prosocial behaviour, bystander responses, health and wellbeing, and school connectedness.

SOAR program – piloting and evaluation of a school-based bystander intervention program in six primary schools across NSW and Victoria to encourage students and teachers to act when they witness racism and racial discrimination.

The SOAR project is funded by the Australian Research Council, and the NSW Department of Education and Victorian Department of Education and Training. Project partners are the NSW and Victorian education departments and the Australian Human Rights Commission, with a research team from the ANU, Western Sydney University, Deakin University, University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Melbourne.

SOAR Reports

2017 Speak Out Against Racism (SOAR) student and staff surveys

Key Findings

Experiences of Racism:

  • About half (55%) of the survey sample comprised students identifying as either Anglo-Celtic or European. The second biggest group (almost 22%) comprised students from South, East and Southeast Asia. Of the sample, 5% identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, 5% as Middle Eastern, 4% as Pacific Islander or Maori, 3% as African and 1% as Latin American; 5% did not report an ethnic background.
  • Just over half the student participants and their parents were born in Australia
  • Over 40% of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and from ethnic minority backgrounds reported experiences of racial discrimination from their peers.
  • Students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, and from ethnic minority backgrounds were two times more likely to report experiences of racial discrimination compared to students from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds overall.
  • Students born overseas reported two times more experiences of racial discrimination than students born in Australia.
  • Close to 20% of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds reported experiences of racial discrimination from their teachers, and among ethnic minority students 18-30% of students reported these experiences with the highest levels among those from Middle Eastern and African backgrounds.
  • Over a third of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and from ethnic minority backgrounds reported experiences of racial discrimination from wider society.
  • 60% of students witnessed other students’ experiences of racial discrimination.

Bystander responses:

  • 78% of students said they were able to make friends with students from different racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds.
  • 11% of students agreed or strongly agreed that their friends would think badly of them if they ate lunch with a student from a different background.
  • Students reported a higher likelihood of being a ‘defender’ – trying to stop bullying and supporting victims – when they witnessed bullying.
  • Students were least likely to be an ‘assistant’ -- indicating they did not join the bullying.
  • Students across all ethnic groups reported an average level of more than 10 (from a scale of 3 to 15) when it came to how confident they would be to intervene when other students were being mistreated.

https://csrm.cass.anu.edu.au/news/findings-2017-speak-out-against-racism-soar-student-and-staff-surveys

2020 Evaluation of the SOAR program Pilot

Findings and report coming June 2020.

Publications

Priest, N., Truong, M., Chong, S., Paradies, Y., King, T., Kavanagh, A., Olds, T., Craig, J M., & Burgner, D. (2020). Experiences of racial discrimination and cardiometabolic risk among Australian children. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.02.012

Priest, N., Kavanagh, A., Bécares, L., & King, T. (2019). Cumulative effects of bullying and racial discrimination on adolescent health in Australia. Journal of health and social behavior, 60(3), 344-361. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech.2010.117366

Priest, N., Perry, R., Ferdinand, A., Paradies, Y., & Kelaher, M. (2014). Experiences of racism, racial/ethnic attitudes, motivated fairness and mental health outcomes among primary and secondary school students. Journal of youth and adolescence, 43(10), 1672-1687. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-014-0140-9

Priest, N., Paradies, Y., Trenerry, B., Truong, M., Karlsen, S., & Kelly, Y. (2013). A systematic review of studies examining the relationship between reported racism and health and wellbeing for children and young people. Social science & medicine, 95, 115-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.11.031

Priest, N., Paradies, Y., Stevens, M., & Bailie, R. (2012). Exploring relationships between racism, housing and child illness in remote indigenous communities. J Epidemiol Community Health, 66(5), 440-447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech.2010.117366

Updated:  4 June 2020/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications