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Understanding the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO)
認識《種族歧視條例》

discrimination

English中文
Around 500 Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) students are studying in Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) and Youth College (YC) this academic year, and the number is on a rising trend. In view of this, a workshop on “Understanding Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) for Managing a Classroom of Students with Diverse Racial Backgrounds” was organised by Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) on 14 October 2016, to enhance teachers’ understanding on nurturing an inclusive learning environment, with a focus on RDO. Ms Kayla Tam, the Campaign Officer from Hong Kong Unison, was invited to explain the RDO and share cases in this aspect. Some key concepts and examples on RDO were introduced. They are summarised in the following.

RDO
Ms Kayla Tam, Campaign Officer of Hong Kong Unison introduces the RDO and shares her experience in handling cases to the participants.

What is Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO)?

The Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO), which came into operation since 2009, is an anti-discrimination law that protects people against discrimination, harassment and vilification on the ground of their race. Under the RDO, it is unlawful to discriminate, harass or vilify a person on the ground of his/her race.

According to Hong Kong Unison, racial discrimination is about treating people less favourably on the basis of their race. In general, there are two forms of racial discrimination: direct discrimination and indirect discrimination.

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favorably than another under comparable circumstances because of his/her or his/her near relative’s race; it is also direct discrimination to segregate a person on the basis of his/her race (extracted from the webpage of Hong Kong Unison).

Take a simple example, if a Chinese student taunted an ethnic minority student at school saying, “Your skin is too dark and you look like a monkey!” The Chinese student’s action is considered as direct discrimination.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when a same requirement (rule, policy, practice, criterion or procedure) or condition, which cannot be justified on non-racial grounds, is applied equally on people of different races but which has an unfair effect on a particular group because only a small proportion of people from that racial group can meet that requirement compared to the proportion of people of other racial groups; and/or the condition is to the detriment of the persons of that particular group because they cannot meet it (extracted from the webpage of Hong Kong Unison).

For instance, a teacher told a Muslim student, “You could not wear a headscarf back to school because you study at a Catholic school.” The headmaster of the Catholic school was a nun and worn a head cover. The teacher’s action is considered as indirect discrimination.

Is This Racial Discrimination?

Does any of the following conditions constitute to any forms of racial discrimination? You may wish to spend a few minutes to think about it. (The answer is at the bottom of this article.)

An NCS student educated in HK wanted to enroll to a course which was advertised to be taught in English. He was not proficient in Chinese. After the interview, he was warned by an admission officer that he would encounter difficulties during the compulsory placement since all the paperwork at placement organisations would be in Chinese. He was told that he might fail the course if he could not complete the required placement hours. The admission officer suggested him not to waste his time and not to take the risk of enrolling to this course.

Racial Vilification and Racial Harassment

In addition to direct and indirect discrimination, racial vilification and racial harassment also deserve our attention. Extracted from the webpage of Hong Kong Unison, racial vilification is an activity in public which incites hatred, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of a person because of his/her race. Any racist incitement involving threat of physical harm to persons or their property or premises is considered serious vilification. If a person engages in an unwelcome, abusive, insulting or offensive behaviour because of another person’s or his/her near relative’s race, which makes him feel threatened, humiliated or embarrassed then it is racial harassment. Racial harassment can be in any form—physical, visual, verbal or non-verbal—and even a single incident may constitute racial harassment.

Undoubtedly it is every teacher’s responsibility to provide equal opportunities to and foster an inclusive learning environment for our students, including our NCS students. More understanding on the RDO will be conducive for our teachers to support NCS students more effectively, and at the same time avoid unintended actions of racial discrimination. For more information on RDO and teaching tips on inclusive learning environment, you are welcome to visit the following workshop video and links:


Answer: This case is considered as neither direct nor indirect discrimination.

References:

Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). (2016). Race Discrimination Ordinance and I. Retrieved November 29, 2016 from
http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/graphicsfolder/showcontent.aspx?content=race%20discrimination%20ordinance%20and%20i

Hong Kong Unison. (2016). Quick Facts. Retrieved November 29, 2016 from
http://www.unison.org.hk/QuickFacts.php

現時在香港專業教育學院及青年學院就讀的非華語學生約有五百多位,有關學生人數近年有不斷上升之勢。有見及此,教學中心於2016年10月14日舉辦了一場名為「了解《種族歧視條例》與管理多元文化背景學生」的工作坊,以提高老師對《種族歧視條例》的了解,及增加老師對管理多元文化學生的信心。是次工作坊的講者是香港融樂會的倡議主任譚婉儀小姐,她為參與者介紹《種族歧視條例》及分享案例。工作坊提及有關《種族歧視條例》的重點及相關例子簡述如下:

RDO
香港融樂會倡議主任譚婉儀小姐為參加者介紹《種族歧視條例》
及分享案例。

甚麼是《種族歧視條例》?

《種族歧視條例》於 2009年全面生效,目的是要保障所有人士不會因為他們的種族而遭受歧視、騷擾和中傷。根據條例規定,基於某人的種族而歧視、騷擾及中傷該人,即屬違法。

根據香港融樂會,種族歧視是指基於某人的種族而給予該人較差的待遇。一般而言,種族歧視可以分為兩種:直接歧視及間接歧視。

直接歧視

直接歧視是指基於某人或某人近親的種族而給予該人較另一情況相似的人較差的待遇;基於某人的種族而實施隔離亦屬直接歧視(節錄自香港融樂會網頁)。

舉一個簡單的例子,如果一名華裔學生嘲笑學校的一名少數民族學生說:「你的皮膚黑得像隻猴子呢!」這名華裔學生的行為已可構成直接歧視。

間接歧視

間接歧視是指有人向所有種族群體的人實施表面上沒有歧視的同樣要求或條件,然而某種族群體能符合該要求或條件的人數比例遠較其他種族群體的人數比例為少; 或一名屬於該種族群體的人士因未能符合該要求或條件,而對他 / 她構成不利(節錄自香港融樂會網頁)。

假如一位老師跟一位穆斯林學生說:「你不能戴頭巾回學校,因為這是一所天主教學校。」這所學校的校長是一位修女並戴頭帽回校。這位老師的行為已被視為間接歧視。

這是種族歧視嗎?

以下情況是否構成任何形式的種族歧視呢?大家不妨花數分鐘時間想一想。
(答案在本文的底部。)

一名在香港接受教育的非華語學生,希望報名參加一個在宣傳單張上例明以英語授課的課程。他的中文並不流利。面試後一名入學組職員提醒他,他在必修的實習課時極可能會遇到困難,因為實習機構的文書工作大多以中文來往。假如他未能符合實習時數的要求,他很可能不合格。入學組職員建議他不要浪費時間報讀這個他可能不合格的課程。

種族中傷及種族騷擾

除了直接及間接歧視外,種族中傷及種族騷擾都值得我們關注。節錄自香港融樂會網頁,種族中傷是指基於種族而公開煽動對其他人的仇恨、嚴重鄙視或強烈嘲諷。任何涉及威脅他人或其財產或房屋或造成人身傷害的種族主義煽動都被認為是嚴重的中傷。若甲某因乙某的種族或其近親的種族而向乙某做出不受歡迎的行為,令乙某感到受冒犯、侮辱或威嚇,即為種族騷擾。種族騷擾可以是任何形式,包括身體上的、視覺的、語言或非語言,甚至單一事件也可能構成種族騷擾。

相信大家都會同意,為學生–包括非華語學生提供平等的機會,和創造一個共融的學習環境是老師的責任。加深對《種族歧視條例》的認識,將有助老師更有效地支援非華語學生,同時避免非故意的種族歧視行為。如果想取得更多有關《種族歧視條例》的資料及創造共融學習環境的教學心得,歡迎觀看以下工作坊錄影片段及瀏覽下列網頁:


答案:這種情況並不構成直接或間接歧視。

參考文獻:

Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). (2016). Race Discrimination Ordinance and I. Retrieved November 29, 2016 from
http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/graphicsfolder/showcontent.aspx?content=race%20discrimination%20ordinance%20and%20i

Hong Kong Unison. (2016). Quick Facts. Retrieved November 29, 2016 from
http://www.unison.org.hk/QuickFacts.php