AIPA takes a stand against Racism

30 Jul 2015

AIPA takes a stand against Racism





 30th July 2015


The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) are a group of Indigenous Psychologists who are experts and knowledgeable on issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders social and emotional wellbeing issues. They are committed to improving the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  In a meeting today, the Chair of AIPA Tania Dalton (Jones) reported, “The Adam Goodes incident is a stunning example of racism against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. “Racial vilification simply has no place in the sporting arena, or the broader community,” As Indigenous Psychologists we work with the traumatic consequences of this abuse everyday.

Pat Dudgeon Mental Health Commissioner and Vice Chairperson states, “When we do not conform to mainstream societies perceptions of Indigenous people, when we stand out as equals and challenge injustice the penalties are dire and personal as we see from this case..”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists of AIPA refuse to remain silent around the outrageous treatment of Sydney Swans star and 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes.  Behaviors at the sports grounds appeared to have escalated to levels where it is unreasonable to expect anyone to perform as a sportsperson.  AIPA are also expressing concerns around the current discussions of racism and what constitutes racism in the various social, television and news media.  There have been public discussions surrounding what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.  There is no doubt that Adam Goodes has become the target or racism both on the sports ground and in some public media. AIPA has welcomed the supportive announcements by media, sports leaders and public displays of support for Adam Goodes.  Goodwill and understanding from the general Australian public by talking out about the enduring impacts of racism, is also to be commended. This incident has shown the insidious hidden nature of racism in Australia particularly towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Public discussion about racism is a good response.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are collective, and the ongoing negative and racist behaviours and comments by some members of non-Indigenous Australia will impact on all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  Racism has many layers, and racism may be spoken, but also can be subtle and portrayed in many forms and ways.  It appears to AIPA in light of the current controversies in Australia, that professional and in particular, mental health bodies and organizations need to continue to focus on stamping out racism.  “It is well documented and well researched, that racism can significantly impact on social and emotional wellbeing.”

AIPA would encourage others to make a stand against racism and to have discussions about how to make significant steps forward towards genuine reconciliation.  Racism has no place in current day Australia.


Tania Dalton (Jones)

Chair AIPA


Professor Pat Dudgeon

Co-Chair AIPA


Tanja Hirvonen

AIPA Executive Support Officer