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Strategies for coping with racist behaviour

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello everybody,

With coronavirus, there has been a spike in racist behaviour against people of Asian ethnicity in Australia. I’m sure there are people in our community who have been on the receiving end of such behaviour. You may also be Indigenous or of other ethnicities, struggling with the emotional impact of racism directed against you over the years. This could include anxiety, depression and reduced sense of self-worth. I though we could open up this forum as a way of sharing coping strategies when facing prejudiced behaviour.

I’ll start by listing some ideas:

  • Build a network of people around you who can make you feel good about yourself
  • Identify the behaviours that have led you to internalise the idea that you are 'not good enough' for society and work on accepting yourself as you are
  • Reminding yourself that the actions/words of racist people stem from their own insecurity rather than you

What are your strategies?


For those seeking more information on racism, its impacts and what you can do about it, here are some links that can help.

BB article: Respond to racism (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/the-invisible-discriminator/respond-to-racism)
BB campaign: The Invisible Discriminator (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/the-invisible-discriminator)
BB article: Educate yourself about racism (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/the-invisible-discriminator/educate-yourself-about-...)
Forum thread: Racism (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/racism#qgLmI3HzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A)

Sending love,

51 Replies 51

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Cocobons,

Welcome to the forums.

I'm sorry your experience in your suburb has been so negative. It's truly disheartening to find yourself being treated so differently for no reason other than the fact that you look different from others. I wonder if Canada would present to you the same problems that you face here. After all, racism is not a problem that only Australia faces, and as you have noted, there is a difference in the way people in multicultural suburbs treat you - clearly there is more ignorance of racial and ethnic diversity where you stay compared to multicultural suburbs. Unfortunately you cannot do much about their behaviour since it can only be changed by them.

The best you can do for now is to ensure that your mental wellbeing is cared for. It will be good for you to have a community to fall back on, one that will treat you like an equal and let you feel like you're accepted and valued. To that end, I wonder if you'd be willing to try joining community groups in your area and connecting with people of similar interests. Hopefully by getting to know you personally, people would come to see you as the lovely person that you are instead of stereotyping you based on your appearance.

I do hope you will get a chance to move out to a more welcoming suburb once you're able to.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear fellow Australian Cocobons~

Many people are thoughtless or cruel, and I think it may come at least in part due to fear and also being uncomfortable plus a childish need to feel superiority. So they behave like pigs.

The more of a cultural mix in Australia the better things will get, as you have noticed in part in inner Melbourne. However that does not help you much at the moment.

The only two things I can suggest are firstly to have good personal support, husband, relative or friend who will listen to your experiences shortly after they have happened and reinforce you are a victim of unacceptable behavior.

The other thing is if at all possible be accompanied, choosing venues and times where things are quieter. Being with someone else does give mutual support.

I apologize on behalf of those who unfortunately live in Australia but do not extend the Australian spirit of equality, fairness and mateship to you.