HOW TO DECREASE RACISM
The world strives for fairness. As humans, our minds demand we are seen and treated equally. From this necessity, the government established laws, the Bill of Rights, to ensure our safety and protect our civil liberties. Unfortunately, people still experience discrimination because of beliefs installed in them at a young age. So, the question is: how can we prevent discrimination, specifically racism, within our society? There are multiple solutions to this ongoing problem, but it becomes increasingly difficult as people age because it is harder to introduce new ideas to adults that have believed in the opposite for so long. Henceforth, said adults will engrave the same beliefs in their children, thus continuing the tragic issue of racism. Although people may view others differently, society can decrease racism by emphasizing the importance of equality in schools, the workforce, and at home.
Since the beginning of our country, equality has been a long and tedious fight. And still, toward the end of 2016, racism still exist. In fact, in a recent survey done by CNN, 49% of Americans agree that racism is a big problem and racial tensions are only continuing to rise, and sadly, in the most important sector: schools. In data collected from 72,000 schools, serving as 85% of the nation’s students, the results “revealed tremendous disparities in the public school experience [between] minorities and white students” (Simon 2). Why is this so? Children are being victimized because of their ethnicity — something they have no control over. This is why it is so important to talk about equality, especially in the education system. To limit, and eventually cease racism, teachers can “use drama and role-play to help students handle conflicts more constructively” (“Stop the Bullying” pg. vii). This will be beneficial because it will show both the bully and the victim how situations occur and how they should be handled. Approaching the discussion of racism is critical because it can be a sensitive topic for most people. Therefore, teachers will have to be conscious and emotionally understanding, so they can resolve possible conflicts. Also, schools can bring in speakers who have experienced racism first-hand, and discuss the importance of equality. By doing this, “we will help children [who will eventually] become adults who work to end [racism]. By encouraging children to reach across racial and ethnic lines, we will enable them to lead richer, fuller lives [by] recognizing the humanity of all people” (“Talking” 10). If adults start to emphasize the seriousness of fairness, then racism will begin to decrease within our society.
Many have heard, but have not seen, of racism in the workplace. Because of the professional environment, most people keep their comments to themselves in fear of being written up, or worse fired. But, “it is [apparent] that [racism] and harassment occurs between adults in the workplace. In fact, the second wave of research into [racism] has centered exclusively on workplace issues” (“Stop the Bullying” pg. 1). So, “as society evolves and outright racism becomes socially unacceptable, it [becomes] more subtle and insidious prejudice that remains. It is more deeply ingrained, and harder to call out — and therefore… even more dangerous” (Hirsch 5). Little comments and small jabs about appearance, intelligence, and/or backgrounds are more frequently seen, but that does not mean all racism in the workforce is subtle. Unfortunately, there are people who openly harass their colleagues because of they share different ethnic cultures. To settle this issue, I believe workplaces should promote monthly meetings discussing critical affairs like racism, equal pay, etc., so awareness can be raised. “It is important to address the problem of [racism] in [the workplace] because we need to be concerned with the quality of relationships that exist in our separate communities. We need to take this wider perspective” to install new beliefs within. (Stop the Bullying pg. 2). “By speaking openly about similarities and differences between people,” racism will begin to decline (“Talking” 10), and as a society we can move forward to an improved ideology.
A seventeen-year old male was walking away from a 7–11 after purchasing a bag of skittles and an iced tea, when a sudden altercation with a local police officer occurred which resulted in said teenager being fatally shot, while the officer at the time was not charged. The boy’s name was Trayvon Martin and the officer who killed him was George Zimmerman. This is one of thousands of cases that display “African-Americans, and African-American males in particular, [of being] victims of violence and racial injustice since the [finding] of this country. There is also an implicit recognition that anyone…could be a victim of systemic injustice. A seventeen-year old [boy] minding his own business was killed out of the blue. Then George Zimmerman [walked] away [as a] free man. This doubled injustice resulted from two interrelated channels: systemic racism and a backward legal system of “stand your ground” (Del Gandio 7–8). “Systemic racism is both a theoretical concept and a reality. As a theory, it is premised on the research-supported claim that the United States was founded as a racist society, that racism is thus embedded in all social institutions, structures, and social relations within our society… [The system gives] rights and power to white people while denying [the same rights] to people of color” (Cole 1). Because of this, people of different ethnicities fear whites because of their inferred superiority. Furthermore, according to the legal system, a person is entitled to use a gun for self-defense in the United States, if necessary, but there are separate laws in every state that establish when a person can use force to defend him/herself (or another), or whether a person can use a weapon. Systematic racism and the current judicial system allow racism to coexist within our society, but this can change if people refuse to stand by this social injustice.
During the Trayvon Martin case, the question people wanted to know was: “did this happen to Trayvon because of the color of his skin?”, and most people would respond with yes. If this is true, the real question becomes “why did George Zimmerman believe that Trayvon was up to no good?” It all stems from the ideas children are taught. Children become adult and if racist beliefs are installed in them at a young age they will act and further create racist ideas which they will pass down to their children, thus continuing the cycle. The shooting created an immediate national response which portrayed the anger and distrust the public felt after the incident. It also established the Black Lives Matter movement, which is still present today and continues to thrive. It is so immensely important to establish equal treatment for all and to destroy modern stereotypes as well. If parents/guardians/adults teach children about the concept of equality and sameness starting from a very young age, racism will eventually become non-existent, and incidents similar to Trayvon Martin’s will diminish.
Racism occurs in all aspects of our lives, which is why the issue is so important to address. Nowadays, more people recognize the matter, which is a step towards change. To change society’s beliefs schools will have to teach about equality and justice for all. However, parents will be the biggest attribute as they can speak one-on-one with their children and explain how everyone deserves the same treatment. This would be in an ideal world. Nonetheless, it is not realistic for every adult to take part in these affairs. Although children will be constantly surrounded by different views of their peers, if parents teach their children about the importance of equality while they are still underdeveloped racism will decrease within our society.
· Shoichet, Catherine E. “Racism Is a ‘big Problem’ to More Americans, Poll Finds.” CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
· Simon, Stephanie. “Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 6 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
· “Talking to Our Children About Racism & Diversity.” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
· Hirsch, Afua. “Workplace Racism Is on the Rise.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
· Del Gandio, Jason. “Understanding the Significance of the Trayvon Martin Protests.” Truthout. N.p., 18 July 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
· “Stop the Bullying.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
· Cole, Nicki L. “What Is Systemic Racism?” About.com Education. N.p., 19 Aug. 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
· Baldwin, Lauren. “Using a Gun for Self Defense: Laws and Consequences | Criminal Law.” CriminalDefenseLawyer.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.