Stepping Into Another Skin

By Caroline O’Brien
Everyday Racism

It’s been a hard week. I’ve been receiving offhand comments on the street as people walk by, I’ve been rejected from jobs for which I am certainly qualified and I can’t even walk into a store and browse without feeling eagle eyes prying on my every move. I leave my house every day wondering what racist behaviour I will encounter.

You see, I’ve been able to experience all of this and more through an app called Everyday Racism. The experiences I just noted are not ones that I have personally endured, but sadly that is an every day reality for many Australians.

So, what exactly am I talking about?

Everyday Racism is an educational mobile application that can be downloaded for free. It challenges players to live a week in the life of either an Aboriginal man, an Indian student, a Muslim woman, or you can choose to play as yourself.

You get to walk in the shoes of somebody else for one week, and over that time period you receive emails, texts, Facebook messages and images which will challenge your understanding of racism in Australia, and hopefully drive home the importance of standing up to racism where you witness it.

All Together Now, the University of Western Sydney, Deakin University and Melbourne University are responsible for the app. The content in Everyday Racism has been developed based on research in the field of racism and anti-racism in this country. A group of eight panellists from diverse ethnicities were consulted to ensure the app would be based on real-life experiences of everyday racism. It’s targeted at people between the ages of 18 – 24.

More than 6,000 users have downloaded the app since its release earlier this year. It has also been found that 55 per cent of players so far have been female and the biggest identified group using the app are white Australians.

I found this very upsetting. I chose to walk in the shoes of Aisha, a Muslim teacher from Brisbane. I overheard people making fun of the way I dressed and retail assistants would hurry me out of their store. After only one day of walking in Aisha’s shoes, I felt an overwhelming sense of disconnection from the community.

There are petitions powered by change.org to challenge Tony Abbott, Pauline Hanson and Eddie McGuire to step into the skin of another human being.

I challenge you all to download this eye-opening app and put yourself in the shoes of someone who may not be treated as well as you.

Caroline is a third year journalism student at Swinburne University, a blogging enthusiast, and loves nothing more than dissecting the social and cultural issues we face today. Follow her on twitter: @CarolineLOBrien

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