Forum turns the tables on African youth crisis

Voices from all sides of the 'African youth crisis' debate will come together today to discuss the issues raised around media and political representation of ‘African gangs’, to workshop solutions and discuss the divisive topic of migration more broadly.

The South Sudanese Australian community achieved great momentum and support when they powerfully claimed back #africangangs in a social media campaign challenging the so-called African youth crisis….

…And for the first time voices representing all sides of the debate, including the South Sudanese Australian community, will come together to analyse the issues raised around media and political representation of ‘African gangs’, to workshop solutions and discuss the divisive topic of migration more broadly.

The forum will feature 4-6 panellists across four themes: diaspora, youth, media and resilience. The audience are actively encouraged to participate in the discussions.

Monash University and the Immigration Museum are convening the forum featuring senior academics, practitioners, community leaders, law enforcement and other influencers.

It comes as the African-Australian Community Taskforce was announced by Victoria Police last month following media reports on a spate of crimes involving African youth.

Rebecca Wickes, an associate professor of criminology at Monash, and the deputy director of its Centre for Social and Population Research said political leadership has a role to play but it’s not as simple as targeting minority groups.

“The media attention over African “gangs” demonstrates how rhetoric can promote fear and intolerance for short-term political gain,” Associate Professor Wickes said.

“For the most part, the African community is not a risk to anybody. We are talking about a small number of people who are a problem. And we have those people in every ethnic racial group.”

Associate Professor Alan Gamlen, Monash Population Migration and Social Inclusion Focus Program, said moral panic around immigration are indicative of wider institutional problems in society.

“Melbourne's so-called “African gangs” dominating Australian headlines serves as a case in point. Media embellished crimes by immigrant youths to sell stories. These stories were used by politicians to label their opponents as soft on crime, and by vigilantes to justify racist abuse,” Associate Professor Gamlen said.

For more information visit the ‘#AfricanGangs: Beyond Politics and Media Headlines’ event website.