We'd like to think we're not, but the secret is out: Australia is a land of racists. It's embarrassing but apparently true.
We may embrace each other's cuisines, but it seems that lurking underneath is suspicion towards anyone new.
Professor Kevin Dunn is behind the survey that has served us up some food for thought. "About eleven per cent of Australia believes that some races are superior and some inferior - racial supremacy," Professor Dunn said.More stories from Today Tonight
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It took a twelve year long survey of more than twelve and a half thousand Australians to show half of us harbor anti-Muslim sentiments; a quarter are antisemitic and one in three admit some feelings of racism towards those that were here first.
And post codes can carry a legacy. The survey found New South Wales and Queensland are the most racists states; but Victoria is one of the most tolerant.
Our workplaces too are unforgiving.
"Seventeen per cent of Australians have experienced racism in their workplace. But amongst those who were born in Sri Lanka or India, the rate is at 40 per cent. If you're a Muslim Australian, the rates are between 50 and 60 per cent."
Thankfully Australia is not a lost cause when it comes to acceptance. A whopping 86 per cent say they want something done about racism - and now we can roll up our sleeves and clean up our act.
"Most people don't report racism or experience of hate. People think nothing is going to happen, or they are afraid of the repercussions," Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Karen Toohey said.
Racial ignorance is something Toohey doesn't tolerate. She heads up a new Anti-Hate Campaign, which encourages people to dob in a racist.
"We've had reports of Aboriginals being refused service in restaurants, and reports of people being followed around shops because they are from a particular ethnic background," Toohey said.
A letter that has already been handed in to the campaign, was put in the letter box of a newly arrived man from Sudan. It said "we have security guards walk the streets at night because of these little **** that come over her and want to cause problems."
The letter went on and on, with abuse in every line – it was a racist and gutless attack.
"We will write to the person and contact them, they can make a formal complaint," Toohey said.
Serious cases of vilification will be handled by the police, and the perpetrator could face up to six months jail. For now, the campaign only exists in Victoria.
One of Australia's most talented performers, Kamal would like to see racists dobbed in nationwide. He knows all about racial taunts.
"It's rotten, but then you put on a smile to hide the multitude of aches and pains and insults," he said.
"People are not really concerned about their fellow man. We can go to the moon, but we don't know our neighbour. It's sad."
But 2UE's breakfast host Jason Morrison doesn't believe in tiptoeing around this issue. For him it's a politically correct band-aide that must be ripped off.
"There's the great shutdown in Australia. If you want to put an end to any discussion about anything, call someone a sexist or a racist, and it's over - that is the great determinator of everything in this country. Politicians are frightened for example to confront our failing multicultural policies because they fear being called racist," Morrison said.
"They don't want to be perceived to be upsetting people of a particular minority. Some things have got to be talked about and sometimes they have to be a little uncomfortable to be talked about, but they've got to be done, because if they're not all that will happen is that we'll have the attitudes festering in the community and the problems not resolved."
But the solution may be simple, and Kamal suggests that "we're just afraid of things we don't know. Learn, learn to love, and try not to hate."Contact details
- Anti-Hate Campaign - www.antihate.vic.gov.au
- Challenging Racism: The Anti-Racism Research Project - www.uws.edu.au