A growing number of Chinese-Australian teenagers are facing discrimination and racism in Australia, a new study has revealed.
According to a survey conducted by Mission Australia, almost a third of the interviewed 22,000 Chinese-Australians, aged 15 to 19, claimed to have been treated unfairly because of their race. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Catherine Yeomans, CEO of Mission Australia, highlighted how worryingly high such discrimination is right now for Chinese-Australians overall.
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“This is almost double compared to their non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peers at 28.3%,” Yeomans said. Yeomans noted that Arabic speakers are also facing intolerance at alarming rates.
Yet the condition is even a lot worse for those who speak Chinese at home, as 90% of the 4,000 participants who spoke a language other than English said they experience discrimination. “I’ve definitely felt discrimination,” 19-year-old Mavis Tian, who was born in Australia but also speaks Mandarin at home, told ABC. “Sydney has a lot of Asian tourists and people often think just because you look Asian that you don’t speak English and that makes it OK to treat you worse. A lot of the time you go into shops and people say, ‘Oh, watch out for the Asian person by the door, keep an eye on her’, things like that.”
As for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teens, the study reported that one out of five said that they, too, were treated with prejudice due to their cultural background. “We are facing unacceptably high levels of discrimination in Australia,” Yeomans stated. She pointed out that the unfair treatment often affects the youth not only in campuses but also when they apply for jobs and seek opportunities beyond school.
Yeoman added that the survey also revealed that aside from equity and discrimination, young people have also identified alcohol/drugs and mental health as among the top three issues that they are most concerned about.