Right Now’s October 2014 Issue, Identity

 Feature Essay

Maxine Beneba Clarke, No Singular Revolution


Elena Jeffreys, Whorephobia and the Truth About Sex Workers

Marta Skrabracz, Black Sheep: Community Exclusion and Identity

Isabelle Royce, “Australian” Identity and Dual Citizenship

Sam Ryan, The Workplace: Where Mental Illness Stigma Thrives

Gail Watts, Riding the Wave of Asperger’s Syndrome

Kate Galloway, Surrogacy: Whose Reproductive Liberty?

Yassir Morsi, Islamophobia is Racism

Si Qi Wen, Racism and How to Lose Friends

Sayomi Ariyawansa, Extreme Multiculturalism: The Root of Evil?

Senthorun Raj, Queering Gay Agendas

Helen Cooper, The Revolving Door of Juvenile Justice

Alison Vivian and Craig Longman, What Would Genuine “Evidence-Based Policy” Look Like In Relation To Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander People? 

Michelle Smith, I’m Not a Feminist, But…”: Feminism and identity in Australia 

Right Now Radio

 New Counter Terrorism Laws / Mohamad Tabbaa / A Resilient Woman’s Journey

Interviews, Projects, Events & Reviews

Samira Farah, Interview with Afghan-Australian Artist Mehdi Jaghuri

Caroline O’Brien, App Review: Stepping into Another Skin

Exhibition: Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours

Mabel Kwong, Righteous: Rights at the Round Table

Sara Maher, The Anyikööl Project

Madeleine Dore, A Human Rights Guide to Melbourne Festival

Maya Borom, Book Review: The Tribe

Maya Borom, Book Review: What is Veiling?

Sonia Nair, Book Review: I, Migrant


During October, our authors enlightened and educated us on a host of human rights issues relating to the theme of “Identity”. Identity is somewhat of an anamorphous theme in relation to human rights. Right Now’s authors used this opportunity to discuss racism, religious identity, youth identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and terrorism. The discussion took numerous forms: Articles, book reviews, art, and radio.

Australia is a multicultural country. To be part of “Team Australia” is to belong to a diverse community of multi-layered identities. Identity is by no means static, its malleable nature gives rise to the many issues discussed in this issue of Right Now.

Maxine Beneba Clark’s feature essay No Singular Revelation kicked off the month and sparked a wave of chatter on social media. The essay provides a personal view of everyday racism in Australia, which has been described as “lyrically devastating”.

The theme of racial and/or cultural identity was carried strongly through the month with work by Yassir Morsi, Si Qi Wen, Sayomi Ariyawansa, Alison Vivian and Craig Longman. Morsi takes a philosophical approach to Islamophobia, arguing that it resembles racism in its most basic form. He describes how the Muslim has been portrayed as the “Other” which Australia’s “Identity” must be protected against. Morsi concludes that racism is about power, not “races”.

Our wonderful team of reviewers was particularly active during October. Maya Borom unpacks attitudes towards the veiling of Islamic women in her review of Sahar Amer’s book, What Is Veiling? Sonia Nair changes tack in reviewing Sami Shah’s humorous new book, I, Migrant. Shah writes about migrating from Pakistan to Australia, adding hilariously insightful anecdotes along the way; “The thing to understand is that the Pakistani passport isn’t so much a passport as it is a voucher for free rectal exams, redeemable in airports around the world.” Caroline O’Brien reviewed the smart phone app “everyday racism” which allows users to “live” the life of one of three fictional characters who each encounter very real racial discrimination over the course of one week.

Undoubtedly gender issues have been one of the dominating topics for headlines in 2014. The launch of the worldwide “He For She” campaign by Hollywood actress Emma Watson injected fresh insight into the convocation surrounding gender equality. A viral YouTube video showed what ten hours on the streets of Manhattan revealed about the nature of treatment of women on the streets of America’s biggest city. Continuing the discussion, Dr Michelle Smith writes a piece on feminist identity in Australia. While the changing identity of motherhood is looked at through the lens of reproductive rights by Kate Galloway in her article on surrogacy.

Seemingly leaving no stone unturned, our October theme attracted two pieces on the identity of Australia’s youth. Gail Watts writes a touching account of the treatment of young peopled affected by an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) from her unique position as a mother of a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome and as a special education teacher. Australia’s juvenile justice system does not escaped the critical commentary from Criminal Lawyer Helen Cooper. In her article, The Revolving Door of Juvenile Justice she explains that while approximately 85 per cent of youth offenders are diverted from official court proceedings, once an offender is processed through the courts, it is likely that they will reoffend and continue to be involved with the justice system, a negative relationship, often continuing into adult life.

The editorial team encourages readers to discover the depth of our October issue by following the links above. We thoroughly hope you enjoy reading the wealth of material as much as we took pleasure in bringing it to life.


Review – Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia

By Georgia Cerni

Sophie Cousins’ book Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia is, in many respects, a proposal. For Cousins, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Australians with an opportunity to reconsider the ways our society currently functions. Cousins aptly makes her case – while in some ways the pandemic reinforced burgeoning inequalities, it also presented us the chance to apply collectivist values to solve systemic problems.