Be Woke Be Anti-Racist

a unique initiative developed to empower migrant and refergee communities with Shepparton to ‘be woke’ enough to identify, respond or report incidences of racism that occur in their lives, while always having an ‘anti-racist’ stance and view on racism – period!

Types Of Racism


The most obvious form of racism is usually expressed in an overt form, this can be in some situations a physical assault, and most commonly can be racial slurs.

“I was returning books to the library, and he yelled out of his car “you black monkey!”
Amal 48 years old – resident of Greater Shepparton

“It was a week of the terrorist attack in Europe somewhere, I can’t remember exactly which attack it was. I was at the car park with my children, and they were at that time under the age 10 years. I am a visible Muslim woman, meaning that I wear a religious head covering known as the hijab. While unloading the groceries into the car I could see him walking towards me, and my gut knew he was angry, but I didn’t know I was the cause of his anger. Within seconds I felt his hand take hold of my head and he ripped my scarf off. I felt violated and ashamed, I kneeled to the ground hiding my head, I honestly thought he was going to shoot me for some reason. I remember yelling out I have children. He was yelling so loud, “go back to where you came from, you f**king terrorists!”. Since that day I avoid going to the grocery store or leaving my house after any incidents that involved Muslims”.
Fatima 38 years old – resident of greater Shepparton

Examples of overt racism include the following, which often overlap:

  • Hate crimes
  • Hate speech
  • Systemic racism
  • Institutional racism
  • Discriminatory policies and laws
  • Economic exploitation
  • Racial profiling
  • Police brutality
  • Media, social media, and Hollywood negative racial stereotypes
  • Gaslighting. Persistent negative bias and narratives about an individual or a group based on race, ethnicity, cultural background, and/or national origin.
  • Anti-immigrant sentiment and attacks
  • Xenophobia


Covert racism is subtle and commonly unspoken in such obvious language. It is hard to identify and generally tends to leave the person experiencing it uneasy, disregarded, suppressed, rejected, marginalised, or feeling like they have been exploited.  Covert racism can be conscious or unconscious, ultimately creating a sense of doubt for the person experiencing it. Job and housing applications being constantly rejected, loans being rejected, racial profiling in retail stores, frequent police checks, and microaggressions.

This type of racism is embedded into our society through our institutions and processes. Covert racism can be seen in the justice system and the incarceration rates of First Nations peoples. Education system and the dropout rates of first nations students.

“Despite being fully qualified, I was unable to get job interviews. It just did not make sense and it did not help that my fellow graduates were finding jobs easily and putting the blame on me for not trying hard enough. One day my cousin recommended that I change my name on my resume. I changed my name and sent the exact same resume to the same businesses. Not only did I get responses, but I also got an interview and began the process for security checks etc. once my real name was known the manager changed their voice tone and said that they thought my name was Mel. I said that is my preferred name, I am still waiting for them to call me with a start date. This was three years ago, and I now work for a business owned by migrants”.
Mariam 28 years old – born and raised in Greater Shepparton however, due to the lack of employment opportunities is now living in Melbourne.

“Most times I am minding my own business in class, head down trying to avoid eye contact with the teacher. Even though I sit away from the loud students they always come next to me and ask me if I can beat up this kid or that kid. I usually don’t answer because they make fun of my accent, and I don’t even like fighting. When they get loud the teacher and the teacher has had enough, she usually yells out my name, once I had had enough of it and said it wasn’t me and asked why she always blamed me. She sent me to the principal’s office for yelling at her. I tried to explain to the principal I wasn’t yelling, and that I always get blamed when the other white kids are the ones being loud. The principal said I sound racist and that I should not say white like that. I don’t much anymore with the teachers and usually just leave the classroom as soon as the other students start being loud. I get in trouble for leaving the classroom as well, but I don’t care because I was going to get into trouble either way”.
John 15 years old – Current high school student in greater Shepparton.

Examples of covert racism include the following, which may also overlap:

  • Implicit hiring discrimination
  • Implicit glass ceiling at work
  • Implicit networking/opportunity discrimination
  • Implicit housing discrimination
  • Implicit police protection discrimination
  • Implicit legal rights discrimination
  • Implicit healthcare discrimination
  • Implicit banking/lending discrimination
  • Implicit sales/customer service discrimination
  • Microaggressions – Examples of microaggressions include micro assaults (i.e., intentional, or unintentional racist jokes or stereotypes), microinsults (i.e., intentional, or unintentional arrogance towards marginalized groups), and microinvalidations (i.e., denying racism exists or has harmful effects on society, denying one’s own relative privilege in society)

Have you experienced or witnessed racism?