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A critical analysis of everyday experiences of race/ethnicity in a specific social context (e.g., work, internet, sport, media, health, education, etc.).
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The Australian population is primarily comprised of migrants as well as their descendants. From the first fleet arrival in 1788, the Non-indigenous Australia was mainly multicultural. However, in 1947, it changed to a greatly homogeneous ‘white’ Australia. It is not until after the war that diversity became a feature of immigration in Australia and consequently part of the population of Australia. This resulted to Australian social policies shifting to assimilation and multiculturalism. We therefore find that in our everyday life peoples still claim, resist or ascribe ethnic identities (Smith 2015, p. 1143). That is why migrants still face significant obstacles as they try to fulfil their capabilities in Australia. They still face discrimination at work and education centres hence this essay seeks to bring out their everyday experiences.
Ethnicity in Jobs Some scholars have been of the opinion that white Australian authorities accepted and tolerate the migrant other, who in this case was people from the non-English background (Farida & Raelene, 2009, p. 56). Consequently, the more recent arrivals to Australia from Middle East and Africa face consequences of Christian and White Australia, as they are targeted for their religious clothing and skin colour. However, in terms of employment, all migrants from English and non-English backgrounds face discrimination. An example is the English and Dutch migrants that were excluded as potential employees by some building and construction employers in the 1970s in Western Australia and preference was given to Australian born applicants. Less animosity was demonstrated towards Yugoslavs and Italians who were perceived to bring specific building skills in the industry. Australian workplaces are a manifestation of the diversity across the country. The Australian society has about half of its population being either a second or first generation.
Despite the cultural diversity and multicultural success, not much of it is replicated in the leadership levels of the institutions. An example is in the Federal Government that has 226 members in the senate and House of Representatives. Of this, only a handful comes from backgrounds that are non-European. As for the Deputy Secretaries, out of the 64 of them working in the Public Service of Australia, only handfuls were from non-European background. Every Day Experiences of Race/Ethnicity 3 in 2014. Meanwhile, in Canberra, there are 81 Departmental and Deputy Secretaries with only a 5% of then being non-Europeans.
In the Universities, it has been revealed that in 2014, out of 49 senior executives in a group of 8 universities, about 8% come from non-European backgrounds (Soutphommasane, 2015). Meanwhile the private sector is no different. A study conducted by Diversity Council of Australia found that despite having 10% of Asians with Asian background in the Australian community, only 4% of directors and 1.9% of executive managers have an Asian cultural origin. Discrimination against ethnic groups has also been witnessed. Studies have showed that sex and racial discrimination, language difficulties, and lack of overseas work experience result in unemployment of foreign employees (Ho 2006, p. 504). An example is in the research done in 2010 by Australian National University that involved 4000 resumes sent to potential employers. Despite all qualifications being identical in the sense that they involved individuals born in Australia, the only variable considered was the name. Some applicants had Chinese, Middle Eastern, Anglo-Saxon, Aboriginal and Italian sounding names. Research showed that those with Chinese sounding names had to apply about 68% more times than those with Anglo-Saxon sounding name to get a job interview invitation. Those with Italian sounding names only applied 12% more times for an interview invitation. Those with Middle-Eastern sounding names had to apply about 64 more times to get an interview invitation. The only aberration found in the research is that in Melbourne, having an Italian sounding name was advantageous.
If work places embraced cultural diversity, then employment would be about capturing talent, boosting innovation and encouraging productivity. The Australian workforce is likely to continue encountering diversity considering that the country still takes a noteworthy number of immigrants yearly in addition to most population being first and second generation. Therefore, an organization that is able to be inclusive and manage cultural diversity in its work place is highly likely to minimize costs of employee turnover. Additionally, it is has a higher chance of reducing compliance and legal risks as well as in a position to negotiate negative publicity that might involve mismanagement of diversity. Some researchers have showed that companies with high diversity in the board and executive positions enjoyed 53% higher yields on equity compared to those companies with low diversity levels. Another research conducted by Economists from the University of Chicago and Stanford University showed that between the years 1960 to 2008, a productivity growth of 20% was experienced due to a decrease in racial discrimination. Therefore, workplaces that embrace diversity have higher chances of performing better than those that don’t.
Ethnicity in Education: Following the migration of Italians to Australia in the 1950s, a research increase was witnessed concerning the second generation of the minorities, and the role they played as bridges between two divergent cultures. Most of the research focused on adolescent experience therefore neglecting the lived experiences of adults. The links between ethnic identity and education tend to be tenuous. Ethnicity intersects with other factors of family, generation and family. It is the kind of social attachment that is seen as belonging through a psychological bond (Steve, 2010, p. 34). It is therefore not common to have comparisons between migrants and those left behind.
Views of a cultural altered identity of migrants’ make ethnicity an important concept of study on migrant populations, and their children. These children are educated or born in the new country are in academic literature called second generation.
The genuineness of religious education undergone by second generation Italians living in Australia has been questioned due to Italy’s education that is largely secular in nature. This context highlights the family role in the environment of education. Ethnic identity influences the views of the family on education and education experiences in an interesting way. This is because, despite the definition of ethnicity being, a group of people that belong to a different group of people, assumptions that only minorities have ethnic characteristics is misguided. Australian education policy went through significant shifts in the 1970s, due to the transition of assimilation to multiculturalism. This gave rise the defining aspect of ethnicity in terms of the second generation identity. Such focus is well accepted by the scholarly work that outlines ethnicity as an invented phenomenon that comes from specific circumstances. Ethnicity therefore, adapts, incorporates and amplifies pre-existing cultural tributes, historical memories and communal solidarities. The multicultural ideals have been manifested in education policies and strategies that encourage the appreciation of cultural diversity. Apparently, the 1970s saw the second generation growing an ethnic awareness, unlike the prior migrants who were subjected to assimilation and integration policies. These prior policies were meant to replace the cultural awareness of the migrants with the Anglo-Australian-Ideal. However, as the Italians of second generation got to high school, they experienced an educational and cultural environment whose change was in process, since the education strategies tried to encourage an appreciation for the Italian culture, which was an important part of their experience at home. In turn, official policy and public sentiment were replicated in the education policy. Therefore, introducing of multiculturalism at school level provided means of achieving cultural cohesion without foregoing one’s own cultural identity.
One of the most diverse schooling systems that Australian migrants encountered was the Catholic school. This was especially noticed by Italian migrants whose schools were almost entirely run by the State of Italy. In contrast, Irish Catholicism had influenced schools in the local parish and was part of the Australian life (Caruso, 2001, p. 209). Nevertheless, Italians and other migrants still enrolled their children to these schools. This sudden enrolment increase in the Catholic schools stretched resources beyond capacity. The increase was caused by the enrolled migrants, societal demand for greater access to secondary school and the baby boom that took place after war. These matters strained the Church fabric at parish and school level. Moreover, the attempts to incorporate the migrants of cultural diversity into the new society made it difficult for the Australian Catholic Church to adequately deal with the linguistic and cultural diversity of such great numbers. In the end, Catholicism was unable to serve ethnicity as the Irish Catholic culture differed with the Australian Catholic Church. This was because the Irish Catholic Church found itself in confrontation with the Catholicism of Southern Italian that seemed to worship Saints instead of God. Questions are therefore raised concerning religious attitudes of the second generation migrants who were formally educated in the Catholic schools. Some therefore came to believe that Catholic schooling greatly influenced religious practise such that it came second to the family influence.
In recent times Australia has experienced assault and murder of foreign students. There exist about 630,000 of foreign students in the country and the numbers continue to grow. Despite that a small number of them have been assaulted, the ramifications are significant. Once, a student from India was murdered in 2010 and major anguish was caused by the Indian media while negotiations were triggered at the diplomatic and higher inter-governmental levels. Such racial assaults have major consequences for Australia since it is a major exporter of international education. Racism is demonstrated through activities that embody abuse, hate and violence (Szoke, 2012). Some researchers conducted telephone surveys between 2001 -2208 in Western Sydney University where 12,512 respondents said they had experienced racism. This implied that one in every five respondents born overseas had been subjected to racism in education.
Therefore, it is upon the education providers to work at integrating international students better, since education is not merely a consumer-cash exchange but a holistic experience.
This essay has looked into the integration of ethnicity in the social context of work and education. Australia manifests diversity across the country as its society has about half of its population as immigrants. When it comes to work places, it has been found that discrimination against ethnic groups has been witnessed. An example is in the research done in 2010 where all qualifications were similar but the only variable considered was the name. Meanwhile senor executive positions in Universities have only 8% of the positions filled by people from non- European backgrounds. Therefore, if work places embraced cultural diversity, then employment would be about capturing talent, boosting innovation and encouraging productivity. As for education, Australian education policy has undergone major shifts since the 1970s, due to the transition of assimilation to multiculturalism. This gave rise the defining aspect of ethnicity in terms of the second generation identity. However, the genuineness of religious education undergone by second generation Italians living in Australia has been questioned due to Italy’s education that is largely secular in nature. This is because one of the most diverse schooling systems that Australian migrants encountered was the Catholic school. This was especially noticed by Italian migrants whose schools were almost entirely run by the State of Italy. However, this did not deter the migrants from still going to these schools. In recent times Australia has experienced assault and murder of foreign students. It is thus the duty of education providers to ensure overseas students are well integrated in the Education system.
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