“Is Australia Racist?” SBS Is Launching A Huge Week Of Programs About Race

Hoo boy, get ready for some big arguments.

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Over the past week you’ve probably had some uncomfortable conversations about race and racism. Is January 26 Australia Day or Invasion Day? What should be done about it? Is our government really treating people any better than the US? Should we or should we not punch nazis? Why are we dealing with NAZIS again?!?

Though many of these debates are often lost in the news cycle, destined to repeat themselves in 12 months time or whenever the next controversy strikes, SBS look intent on keeping some of that momentum going. The station has just announced a week-long series of programs “exploring racism and prejudice” that will kick off from February 26.

According to a survey SBS completed with Western University, one in five Australians have experienced racism in the last 12 months. Many participants documented consistent prejudice in their workplaces, schools, public transport and sporting events. But, despite this, “most people surveyed agreed that it is a positive thing that Australia be made up of different cultures — and that they would face up to discrimination in society if they encountered it”.

These are the conflicts the series seeks to explore. Are things getting better or worse in Australia, and whose voices are really being heard?

Face Up To Racism week will begin with an hour-long doco from Ray Martin titled Is Australia Racist? The show promises to expand on the result of the study and illustrate real-world events through “hidden camera social experiments capturing the experience of racism through the eyes of those who have suffered it”.

Other documentaries include Date My Race, where African-Australian journo Santilla Shingaipe will explore the idea of “racial preferences” in the dating world; and The Truth About Racism, where Yassmin Abdel-Magied and a number of others undergo psychological tests and experiments to determine the science of racial bias.

Naturally, that week’s Insight will be tackling these topics too. The show plans to discuss Australian multiculturalism and resultant debates about cultural sensitivity.

Though this is all the specific info we have at the moment, there will be plenty of other shows included in the programming too. Last month, when SBS announced Donald Glover’s Atlanta was finally getting an Australian airdate, they hinted it would “likely be included in part of a larger programming line-up regarding race issues”.

That’s yet to be locked in, but hoo boy, it seems like there’s going to be some TV to watch in a few weeks time.