The Effects of Racism on Lebanese Youth in Australia.

Ever since the mid-1990s, a growing number of concerns have been voiced by public figures and the media in New South Wales regarding an alleged increasing lawlessness in Sydney’s western and southwestern suburbs.

Murder and a gang rape have been cited as part of this lawlessness, which has evoked a ‘zero tolerance’ foray by police in west-suburban Sydney, against youth of Middle Eastern background.

The problem has only become further exacerbated in the wake of the September 11 US terrorist attacks, and by Australia’s controversy over unauthorised Middle Eastern asylum seeker arrivals. In debates about law and order, these issues are frequently lumped together.

More specifically, the research will establish the origins of this racism, and identify the effects that it has on the employment levels and educational achievements of Lebanese youth in Australia today, as well as on their relations with a wider community.

Research indicates that Lebanese youth are significantly over-represented on the wrong side of the New South Wales justice system and prone to academic under-achievement. This unfolding situation has placed additional demands on public resources, and reduced the life chances of Lebanese-Australian youth.

The project aims to promote the self-esteem of Lebanese suburban youth and contribute towards breaking the cycles leading to 'deviant' behaviour, by identifying pathways to the just resolution of social problems. These problems currently bar the way towards the full participation of these youth in Australian society and their fruitful interaction with key government and non-government agencies

Our partner in this research will be the Bankstown-based Lebanese Community Council. We have also been supported by the Australian Lebanese Welfare Group, which is based in Merrylands.

The body funding this research seeks ‘To create positive opportunities and outcomes for Australia’s young people, by leading the development of innovative strategies that enable them to reach their potential and participate fully in society’.