Everyday Strategies to Combat Racism
Here are eight strategies for combating racism in your community:
Learn to acknowledge and comprehend your own privilege.
One of the first steps in eliminating racial discrimination is to recognize and comprehend your own privilege. Racial privilege plays out across social, political, economic, and cultural environments. Checking your privilege and using it to dismantle systemic racism are two ways to begin this intricate process.
race is only one aspect of privilege, however. Your level of privilege can be affected by your religion, gender, sexuality, ability-status, socioeconomic status, language, and citizenship status. To use your privileges to collectively empower others, you must first be aware of and acknowledge the implications of those privileges. Explore the various types of privilege.
2. Evaluate your own biases and consider their possible origins.
What messages did you receive as a child regarding those who are unlike you? How racially and/or ethnically diverse was your neighborhood, school, or religious community? Why do you believe this occurred? These experiences generate and reinforce bias, stereotyping, and prejudice, which can result in discrimination. Examining our own prejudices can assist us in promoting equality for all.
Race: The Power of Illusion is a PBS documentary on the social construction of race in the United States.
Validate the experiences and emotions of individuals of color.
Supporting the experiences of others and engaging in difficult conversations about race and injustice is another way to combat bias and acknowledge privilege. Fear of “getting it wrong” cannot prevent us from discussing oppression and discrimination. Investigate the ways in which racism continues to affect our society and take appropriate action. By watching documentaries such as 13th or by reading books such as Americanah or Hidden Figures, for instance.
As advocates, we gain knowledge about domestic violence by listening to domestic violence survivors. Likewise, listening to people of color is the best way to comprehend racial injustice.
4. Contest the “colorblind” philosophy.
The myth that we live in a “post-racial” society where people “don’t see color” is pervasive. The propagation of a “colorblind” ideology contributes to racism.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not mean that we should ignore race when he expressed his desire to live in a colorblind society. Eliminating racism is impossible without first acknowledging race. Being “colorblind” disregards a significant part of a person’s identity and the real injustices that many people face due to their race. In order to work together for equity and equality, we must see color.
5. Recognize racist “jokes” and statements.
Inform individuals that racist comments are unacceptable. If you do not feel comfortable or safe being confrontational, attempt to deconstruct their thought process by asking questions. For example, “I don’t understand that joke, could you explain it?” Or, “You may be joking, but this is what this type of statement means.” Do not be afraid to converse with family members, coworkers, and friends. Microaggressions, which can take the form of racist jokes or remarks, perpetuate and normalize prejudices and biases. Remember that remaining silent or joining in laughter implies agreement.
Determine how your organization or institution works to expand opportunities for people of color.
Systemic racism implies that there are obstacles, such as disparities in wealth, bias in the criminal justice system, and discrimination in education and housing, that stack the deck against people of color in the workplace or at school. For instance, according to the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), a 12-year-old girl faced criminal charges and expulsion in 2014 for writing “hi” on a locker room wall. Their campaign, #BlackGirlsMatter, addresses the educational system’s overpolicing and underprotection of Black girls. It is crucial for businesses and schools to address these issues and promote an equitable culture.
7. Be prudent with your money management.
Make a statement with your money. Know the practices of the companies in which you invest and the organizations to which you donate. Make an effort to patronize small, local businesses and return your money to the local community. There may be a directory of local minority-owned businesses in your state or territory.
Adopt an intersectional perspective in every facet of your life.
Remember that all oppression is interconnected. You cannot fight against one type of injustice while ignoring others.
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