"Talk does not cook rice": Beyond anti-racism rhetoric to strategies for social action

Anne Pedersen, Iain Walker, Mike Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Studies throughout the Western world indicate that racism against marginalised groups is an ongoing societal problem. One frequently advocated way to reduce such racism is the implementation of anti-racism strategies. But how effective are they? In the present paper, we discuss how individual and interpersonal anti-racism strategies shape up. Thus, our paper generates suggestions for anti-racism strategies within the Australian context. As well as highlighting the positive outcomes, some detail about negative outcomes is provided because it is equally important to learn from unsuccessful strategies. There are several promising avenues that can be used in anti-racism strategies (e.g., using empathy, challenging false beliefs, giving people the opportunity to discuss racial issues, interacting with people of a different background from one's own under certain conditions). However, the small number of studies that have examined long-term effects indicate that benefits are generally not sustained; more research is necessary in this regard. Additionally, some strategies have increased racism, so any strategy that is put into place must be considered very carefully. Overall, the results suggest that a top-down approach is needed (e.g., institutionally/community instigated action) as well as a bottom-up approach (e.g., addressing social-psychological variables). These two approaches are dynamic; one affects the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-30
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2005


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