New way to measure racism among youth

Diversity matters

Diversity matters

A new tool has been developed to formally evaluate the effectiveness of anti-racism programs among Australian youth. 

Monash University Doctor of Psychology student, Kaine Grigg has used new research examining the understanding and experience of racism among Australian youth to develop a general attitudinal measure of racial, ethnic, cultural and religious acceptance.

Once validated, the measure will be introduced in schools around Australia to accurately evaluate and improve anti-racism initiatives.

Designed to evaluate programs targeted toward young people aged 10 to 20, the measure is the first to be developed and scientifically validated in Australia.

Mr Grigg, who will present the development at an academic seminar this week, said measuring multicultural acceptance was vital in a nation where racism was becoming increasingly prevalent.

“If you rely on anecdotal evidence and media reporting, racism in Australia has increased significantly over the past decade,” Mr Grigg said.

“While current initiatives exist that aim to increase openness to diversity and decrease racism, there is no validated measure available to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs in Australian youth.

“This measure is therefore needed to scientifically evaluate anti-racism initiatives and will be disseminated to schools throughout Australia, enabling them to properly assess multicultural programs.”

Professor Lenore Manderson, from the School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University, who is supervising the project, said the new measure underlined the importance of multicultural acceptance and the ability to significantly improve the effectiveness of pro-diversity campaigns.

“This is an exciting development for Monash University and the greater community,” Professor Manderson said.

“It represents a step forward in measuring the effectiveness and significant improvement of multiculturalism programs in the Australian school curriculum.”

As part of the validation process, the newly developed measure is currently being implemented in several primary schools in Melbourne’s southeast in partnership with Windermere Child and Family Services and the Cardinia Shire Council.

To test its accuracy, the measure has been applied to the Building Harmony in the Cardinia Growth Corridor project, an anti-racism and pro-diversity initiative.

Mr Grigg is calling for participants to be involved in the final stage of testing for the new measure. Further information can be found here.