You can't seem to watch the news without hearing stories about hate crimes, riots, and even violence by the police, attributed to racism. But what is racism and what can you do to fight it? Learning about racism and recognizing its effects is the first step in combating it when you face it personally, when you witness acts of racism or discrimination, or when race and racism become topics of discussion in the media. communication.
Method 1 of 4: Deal With Racism Directed At You
Step 1. Know that you are not exaggerating
As with bullying, brief, often unintentional acts of racial profiling (known as "micro-assaults") may seem insignificant to other people, but if they bother you, stop them.
Some studies show that people of color suffer from racial microaggressions every day, but violators almost always deny that they did anything wrong and do not accept that their actions were racially motivated. This can leave people of color with the feeling that they are imagining things or worried that if they say something, their experiences will be invalidated by denial
Step 2. Walk away
If you suffer from micro-aggression or a more blatant form of racial hostility, put your needs first; you can decide to walk away. You have no obligation to associate with such a person.
It is never your job as a victim of racism to "correct" the offender. Engaging in conversations about racism is exhausting, emotionally offensive, and difficult, so you can just walk away. However, if you want to relate to the offending person, you can choose to do so as well
Step 3. Focus on the words or the behavior
Rather than accusing someone of being racist, which increases the risk of them becoming defensive, point out exactly why their behavior or words are problematic.
For example, instead of saying, "You are offensive," say, "That phrase is very offensive to Native Americans." By using "that phrase" instead of "you are," you take the focus off the offender and put it on the words themselves
Step 4. Be direct with your colleagues
You don't have to accept or deal with racism just to avoid causing friction between your colleagues. Racism is always wrong and you have every right to say something about it.
If someone is behaving in a way that seems racist to you, let them know why it is a problem. You can choose the focus; Recognize that people tend to get defensive when challenged, so the more tactful you use, the more likely they are to be receptive to your comments
Step 5. Deal with a racist comment or behavior in a group setting
When someone in a group does or says something offensive, the approach you use to deal with the matter could be more or less effective depending on several factors. Decide what your goals are when dealing with racist behavior in a group: Do you want to let everyone in the room know that you will not tolerate such things, or do you want to maintain a relationship with someone who perhaps inadvertently did something offensive?
- Challenging racist behavior in front of other people, rather than addressing it in private, lets the whole group know that you will not put up with such behavior towards yourself. But it also tends to put people on the defensive when they feel challenged in front of their friends.
- If you feel the behavior was unintentional and you are concerned about not hurting the offender's feelings or maintaining a relationship with that person, you can temporarily let it go and then ask if you can talk privately about it. There are many drawbacks to waiting to talk about it: one could be that the person forgets what they said or forgets the context and the other is that the group receives the message that you will not challenge that type of behavior.
Step 6. Practice different approaches to racist behavior or comments
There are many ways to respond if something is offensive and you have to choose what suits your personality and the relationship you have with the offender.
- One approach is to say, "You know, it hurts when people say or do that, because…". By focusing on what you feel, people may be less defensive than focusing directly on what they are doing, but it also takes some of the responsibility away from them, which may not be a good tactic in the long run.
- Another more direct approach is to say, "You shouldn't say or do that. It's offensive to people of a certain race because…". This approach lets people know that their behavior is hurtful and that they should stop doing it.
Step 7. Learn to deal with racism from a superior
If your teacher or boss treats you differently because of your race or makes comments that are disparaging or embarrassing, it can be difficult to know how to react as they have a position of power over you and can affect your grades or income.
- If you think the racism is unintentional or due to carelessness and you have a good relationship with your teacher or boss, you can talk to him or her. This person may not be aware that their behavior is offensive. For example, a teacher who asks you during class to give the "black point of view" may not realize that doing so is offensive, since black people are not rigid.
- If you do talk to your teacher or boss, be sure to approach him when he is not busy and ask him to speak privately. Let him know about your concerns in clear, direct and unemotional terms: "Sometimes I feel like he is inadvertently treating me differently because of my race. I was hoping we could talk about it so it doesn't happen again."
- If you feel that racism is intentional, malicious, or if you think that discussing it directly with the teacher or boss will cause negative consequences for you or affect your employment relationship, you should speak to the person who has the next level of authority. At school, it could be the school counselor or the principal. At work, you could talk to someone in the human resources office or your boss's manager. First, be sure to document every occasion of racism or micro-aggression. Schedule a private meeting in which you can present what has happened (including the frequency and some direct quotes or descriptions of the actions of each occasion if possible) and the reason why it is unacceptable.
Step 8. You must know your rights
If you suffer from racism at work or in a public place, you may have legal rights. Many state and federal laws in the United States protect you against racial discrimination, most notably in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- You should contact a lawyer specialized in civil rights or labor rights if you suffer from any type of racism that deprives you of your home, work, security or other freedoms. Most states have strict timelines for reporting incidents of discrimination, so be sure to contact an attorney immediately.
- If you need to file a lawsuit and cannot afford a lawyer, there are many human rights organizations that could help you. In the United States, you can contact the Southern Poverty Legal Center or the Anti-Defamation League.
Step 9. Try to differentiate between racist actions and racist people
Racist people are driven by bigotry and prejudice and are unlikely to change even if you confront them. However, racist actions are usually mistakes or consequences of having grown up in a culture where racism is normal.
- If someone is a racist, it may be wasted effort to try to confront them or spend a lot of time educating them about racism and the reasons why it bothers you. Often times, he will simply say that you are "using racial arguments" if you are offended by something he says or does. Very rarely will a truly racist person pay attention to you or change their behavior because it bothers you. In some cases, it could be dangerous for your personal safety to try to confront her.
- However, if someone is generally a good person but sometimes makes racist comments or assumptions, you may be able to influence them to stop by teaching them why they are offensive. These people are often unaware of the real effects of racism in the world.
- It is your decision whether you want to take the time to try to deal with racist people, racist behavior, or racist policies. It's not your job to educate people simply because you happen to be in the minority.
Step 10. Take care
Lasting racism is exhausting and can be emotionally traumatic. Make sure you surround yourself with a support system of trusted people and take time to develop your emotional and psychological strength.
- The stress of dealing with racism can affect all areas of your life, including your mental well-being, your school performance, and even your risk factors for serious illness.
- Join associations of students of color, political organizations, or other like-minded groups to meet and connect with other people who suffer from similar things. Talk to your family members about stressful situations and how to deal with them. Some studies show that having people with whom you can discuss negative experiences in common is an important factor in dealing with related stress.
Method 2 of 4: Dealing with Racism Directed at Other People
Step 1. Give your opinion when you hear insults or racist jokes
People often ignore racial jokes or comments because of discomfort and not knowing what to say. However, preparing an answer in advance can help you feel capable of responding and defending the correct thing. There are several approaches you can take depending on your personality, the relationship you have with the person, and the situation:
- You can say, "That is not correct." In some situations, such as in the middle of class or when you have to get off the bus, you may not have the time or the ability to have a full conversation about what someone has said, but you can simply let them know that their behavior has crossed over. limits. You will feel good knowing that you stood up for the right thing.
- Try saying, "Wow, that was really racist. Why did you say that?" As the conversation begins, the person can reflect on whether they should have said what they said.
- If it's a joke, try saying, "Why is this so funny?" In a very serious tone, as if you really don't understand. Forcing someone to explain why they are funny causes the person to consider the racist implications of what they said. After he explains it, if he still thinks it's funny, you could say, "That's very racist."
Step 2. Confront racism in your family
Sometimes the worst offenders are your own family members, like your beloved grandfather or your own mother. A family member may make racist jokes or comments, or may be actively discriminating against other races (for example, not allowing you to date a person of color or not allowing a Hindu friend to visit your home). It can be a difficult situation for you because the person could be someone you respect and have to obey (for example, your parents if you still live with them).
- Stay calm, but show your feelings. Family is built on love and trust, so you should feel confident letting your family know when they have said or done something that is offensive. Don't yell, don't take it personally, but let them know; For example, you could say, "I didn't like what you said," "It bothered me that you said that," or ask them to explain why they say racist things. This could start the conversation and give you a chance to explain why their behavior is problematic.
- Be aware that sometimes this will intensify the problem; For example, if your Uncle Pedro knows that racist jokes annoy you, he may deliberately say more.
- If your parents have racist rules about who you can befriend, you have a choice to make: you can either follow their rules while you live with them, or you can decide to act on the sly and ignore their rules. You should bear in mind that doing so could have consequences if they find out.
- Sometimes nothing you do or say will stop a racist family member from doing or saying hurtful things. You can try to avoid the person as much as you can and you can keep showing them how you feel about their racism, but unfortunately sometimes it just doesn't work. Learn from decisions and do everything you can to avoid intolerant or prejudiced ideas or habits.
Step 3. Be an ally
If you are against racism, but do not belong to a minority, you can play an important role in confronting racism when you see it. By learning to recognize acts of microaggression against people of color, you can use your privileged position to help combat racism in all its forms.
Practice talking about races in "safe places." Racism is a difficult subject and non-minority people often learn that they should not talk about racial differences or even "see" them. This makes fighting racism very difficult when it occurs, because you may not have the experience to talk about race at all. Find other allies who want to combat racism and practice representing racist situations that may arise in daily life
Method 3 of 4: Dealing with Racism in Society
Step 1. Meet some people who are different from you
In some parts of the world it can be difficult to get to know people of other races. It is natural to approach people who seem similar to you and sometimes that means that all of our friends turn out to be of our own race. Get out of your comfort zone so you can learn about other cultures and ways of experiencing the world. This will enrich your own perspective on the world and help your friends, family or children to see friendships with different people in a normal and acceptable way.
- Visit cultural fairs, festivals, and convivial activities in your community. Visit your local library or community center to find more information.
- Join a club, start a new hobby, visit a church or temple, or join a team to meet new people.
Step 2. Talk about the races
Race has become a very taboo subject because many people have learned since childhood that it is rude or inappropriate to talk about race. But as long as racism exists, discussion, the will to learn and empathy are fundamental; some studies show that talking about race leads to greater understanding and tolerance. Take the opportunity to start a conversation.
- If you are a parent, talk to your children about races. Don't make them shut up if they mention that someone is a different color from theirs; it is normal for children to notice differences. Teach them that differences are good! Say something like, "Yeah, isn't that great? Jose has dark skin and you have light skin. We are all so different!"
- When your kids are old enough to understand, talk to them about racism. If you belong to a minority, you can prepare your child for what may be encountered and help him develop his self-esteem and confidence so that he knows how to react appropriately if something happens. If you are not part of a minority, it is still essential that you talk to your children about racism. Teach them the history of races in your country and talk with them about the reasons why some people are racist towards others (prejudice, stereotypes, intolerance, etc.).
Step 3. Contribute
If possible, donate or volunteer with organizations working to end racism in your community or nation. Some examples in the United States include:
- the Southern Poverty Legal Center
- the Anti-Defamation League
- the Human Rights Campaign
Method 4 of 4: Understanding Racism
Step 1. Know the difference between racism, bigotry, and prejudice
These words are often used interchangeably in the media or in conversation, but there are some differences that are worth understanding. Knowing the difference between these concepts can also help you in conversations, when people often use the wrong term based on its meaning.
- Racism is related to a system of oppression of a group of people according to their race, skin color or ethnic identity. In general, racism includes a majority race or an ethical group that creates laws, policies, systems and cultural norms that favor their own race, at the expense of minority races or ethnic groups.
- On the other hand, intolerance is related to hatred. Intolerance means hating an entire group of people for who they are or for the belief that your own group is superior and is not limited to race or ethnicity; you can be intolerant towards a group for reasons of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, etc. For example, the Holocaust was produced out of intolerance, like all hate crimes that are included in the laws of the United States.
- Prejudice (which literally means "to prejudge") means to assume that you know something about a person because of the group to which they belong. Although it usually has a negative connotation, prejudice is not always obviously bad. For example, there is a prejudice that all Asians are good at math or that all blacks are good singers or good athletes. Those are stereotypes based on race. You can also be prejudiced against a person because of their religion, gender, disability, etc., so, like intolerance, prejudice is not limited to race.
Step 2. Understand how these three terms intersect and how they relate to racism
Sometimes racist policies or practices are "obvious" (at least when analyzed historically); for example, the history of slavery in the United States (which at the time was legal and justified by religion as natural and acceptable) was based on a racist system. Other times, people disagree on whether certain policies or practices are racist or not; For example, some people argue that affirmative action policies (requiring companies in the United States to hire a certain number of people from different demographic groups) are racist, while others claim that affirmative action policies help prevent the racism.
- Because racism arises when a powerful group mistreats a minority group, "reverse racism" (often used to describe when a member of a minority group mistreats a member of a majority group because of their race) is a term wrong. It should actually be called "bigotry" or "prejudice" rather than "racism."
- It is important to note that you can support racism without being bigoted. In fact, you can support racism without even knowing it, since racism is a system of oppression.
Step 3. Understand the history of racism in the United States and around the world
A sad and disturbing reality about the nature of human civilizations throughout history is that almost all great civilizations have fought against racism. This is because racism occurs when the powerful (the majority) mistreat the powerless (the minority) and race is one of the main dividing lines of identity that people have historically used to designate who has power and who doesn't.
- In North America, the history of racism possibly begins with the conquest of indigenous tribes (Native Americans or Indians) by white European settlers. Literally, one racial group had more power than another (in terms of weapons and diseases that wiped out entire populations).
- During the Victorian period in Europe, racism was cemented in Western thought by so-called "scientific" discoveries about the differences between races. Influenced by the Darwinian theory of evolution, scientists believed that the Anglo-white races had evolved more than the others.
Step 4. You must learn about the way racism connects with power systems
Although many of the major systems of oppression, such as slavery, have been abolished in various parts of the world, many racist attitudes and policies large and small remain a problem in all countries.
Step 5. Recognize the consequences of racism
Because racism is systemic, its effects can be seen in the media, in government, in the school system, and even in religion.
Observe stereotypes about different races and ethnic groups on television, in books, and in movies. The popularity of video games and computer games contributes to racism. Get in touch with the people who sell the racist products and explain your opposition to them. Refuse to support any company or organization that allows racism
Step 6. Understand that not all racism is obvious
In everyday life, "microaggressions" are more common than outright hostility, but they can be just as hurtful. As the term implies, microaggressions are small acts of discrimination that many people may not recognize at all, but over time they become obvious and hurtful to people of color.
- A microaggression can be anything from unconsciously walking away from a person of color on the train, asking a black woman if her hair is really "his" or asking an Asian American where it is "really" from.
- Microaggressions, unlike outright hateful acts, are usually unintentional. This makes it more difficult for a person of color to "prove" that it did happen, thereby running the risk of appearing too delicate or being accused of "using racial arguments" if they object to such acts.
- File a civil liberties lawsuit if you have been a long-time victim of racism.
- You may have behaved in some racist way, perhaps without even knowing it. Check out this helpful wikiHow article for tips to help you stop behaving in racist ways.