Racism and health of Indigenous Australians under the microscope 


The appalling state of Indigenous health in Australia stems from historical and contemporary forms of colonisation and racism, according to a speaker at the upcoming Charles Darwin University (CDU) Public Lecture Series.

Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research & Centre for Health and Society, Dr Yin Paradies will outline a new body of work revealing a link between racism and ill-health among minority populations worldwide in his presentation, Racism and the Health of Indigenous Australians, at the CDU Public Lecture Series on 9 October.

“It is only recently that the explicit study of racism has emerged as a field of research in public health,” Dr Paradies said.

“However, very little research on racism and health has been undertaken in relation to Indigenous Australians.

“This presentation will explore the prevalence of racism against Indigenous people in Australia. This will include an examination of systemic and institutional racism as well as self-reported interpersonal racism and findings on racist attitudes and beliefs about Indigenous Australians among the general populace.”

Dr Paradies will discuss the pathways between racism and ill-health before examining findings from the Darwin Region Urban Indigenous Diabetes study and the 2004-2005 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey on the association between self-reported racism and various demographic and health outcomes among Indigenous participants.

“The findings from these surveys demonstrate that interpersonal racism is associated with poor mental and general health outcomes as well as chronic disease and behaviours such as smoking. Much of this relationship with ill-health is due to the stress associated with experiences of racism,” he said.

“Indigenous people suffer from chronic diseases at three to four times the rate of other Australians and are twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental disorders, to report poor health, and to be daily smokers. The contribution of racism to such ill-health highlights the importance of further research in this area.”

Dr Paradies’ public lecture will run from 6pm to 7pm on Tuesday, 9 October at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and is open to members of the public. Entry is free.

For more information go to www.cdu.edu.au/publiclecture.