Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology


Prejudice and Discrimination From Two Sides: How Do Middle-Eastern Australians Experience It and How Do Other Australians Explain It?

Anne Pedersena1 c1, Kevin Dunna2, James Forresta3 and Craig McGartya1

a1 Murdoch University, Australia

a2 University of Western Sydney, Australia

a3 Macquarie University, Australia


There is little quantitative research regarding the causes and expression of prejudice and discrimination against Middle-Eastern Australians. We report two studies, one from the perspective of new settlers and a second from the perspective of host communities. The first found that Middle-Eastern Australians reported more discrimination compared with non-Middle-Eastern Australians. More discrimination was reported by Middle-Eastern males compared with females on dealings with the police, disrespect, name-calling, and distrust. The second study, focusing on attitudes of other Australians, found that they were more likely to perceive that Middle-Eastern Australians would be discriminated against compared with their own social group. When the non-Middle-Eastern Australians in the survey were asked for reasons why Australians from the Middle East were discriminated against, the most prevalent themes were (a) perceived conflict with ‘Australian values’, (b) fear of Muslims, (c) fear of terrorism, (d) negative media and (e) fear of difference. The overall finding that there are strong levels of public acknowledgment of the higher discriminatory burden endured by Middle-Eastern Australians is seen as a positive in terms of (1) community action to address that burden through (2) counteracting the socially negative attitudes that underpin discrimination in some Australian communities.


  • racism;
  • discrimination;
  • Arab;
  • Muslim


c1 Address for correspondence: Anne Pedersen, School of Psychology, Murdoch University, Murdoch WA 6150, Australia. E-mail: