Kaine Grigg

Monash University

Kaine GriggKaine Grigg is a current Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) student at Monash University and an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society. He has a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) with Distinction and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) (Honours 1) at RMIT University. His research interests involve cross-cultural interactions and he has previously studied the negative mental health effects of perceived racism on Australians of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. His current research aims to develop and validate an attitudinal measure of racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious acceptance, which can be utilised as a proxy measure of racist attitudes.

Racism in Australia: The Need for a Validated Measure of Racist Attitudes

Research into racist attitudes has been concentrated in the US, predominantly on attitudes towards African Americans. This is problematic for Australians because it means that the measures have not been developed in, or for, an Australian context, and works on a premise that the racism of White towards Black Americans is representative of all kinds of racist attitudes.  Because of their specificity, these scales are not necessarily relevant, generalisable, valid, or useful in the Australian context.

No scale currently exists that can objectively evaluate the levels of general racist attitudes in individuals or groups, designed for and validated in the Australian context. Hence, the effectiveness of racism-reduction programs being implemented in Australia cannot be evaluated quantitatively. Subsequently, current racism-reduction initiatives cannot be claimed to be making a meaningful difference to the attitudes of those individuals involved. There is need for a general measure of racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious acceptance to be constructed that follows an accepted scientific process of scale development, and for the instrument to be appropriately validated.

The current presentation will discuss the issues of instrumentation and measurement, and present initial findings of research aimed to develop and validate a general measure of racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious acceptance. Specifically, outcomes from interviews and focus groups conducted with Victorian youths about their understanding of, and experience with, racism will be reported. Moreover, the initial item development and refinement stages will be described and the preliminary tool will be presented. Once further refined, this instrument will act as a proxy measure of racist attitudes and will be utilised to evaluate the effectiveness of an anti-racism initiative being implemented in Victorian schools throughout 2012.



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