Many of us had thought that term was invented in Kuala Lumpur when my colleague Julia Zemiro and I first wrote about talking to people who had lived through apartheid. But I was struck at the comments I received. There were people who had lived in the past 10 to 15 years who had only lived four or five years of it. In this history of racial discrimination, is racism still true in Sydney?

There is no denying that racism is around in this country. It also exists in many nations, but unfortunately, is sadly not confined to one community or government. In my book, “Formless,” I describe another aspect of racism as that of “range anxiety.” There are far too many ways to measure the level of racism in Australia.

I wanted to show that far from being a solved issue, racism remains a huge problem. There is a need to assess the extent of racial discrimination and the degree to which it has been exacerbated by socio-economic circumstances. As a metropolitan Australian, it is my observation that about 50 per cent of our residents are of Asian descent. In the overwhelmingly Asian metro areas of Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane, there are 30 per cent Asian Australians. These are local communities where discrimination and exclusion are rampant.