We like to think that we are now living in an enlightened era where racism is a thing of the past. While things have gotten better for minority groups in the United States, it doesn’t take a degree in humanities to see that racism is still a big problem in our society. There may not be as many instances of overt racism or violence against minorities as there were fifty or sixty years ago, but many people of color are still often the victims of prejudice and racism. Police are still more likely to arrest African-Americans than white people for minor crimes, far more white people are accepted into college than people of
color and you are still far more likely to see a white man in a position of power in the workforce than those of other ethnic groups.
Racism is an ugly institution that hurts everybody, but the fact that it is an institution makes it difficult to overcome. No matter who you are, there are things that you can do to fight racism even if you don’t believe it affects you. It takes everybody in the community to stand up to racism, but there are steps that you can take to make a stand and maybe even inspire others.
The Power of Writing
One thing that you can always do that just might make a difference when you see racism rear its ugly head is to write about it. This goes beyond simply writing in a journal or an Internet message board to let off steam. When you see a business show prejudice against a member of a minority group, write to that business and let your complaint be heard. Write to your friends, write to newspapers and write a post on your blog. One way or the other, your letters will be read and your voice will be heard, especially if you posted in a blog. Whatever is posted on the Internet has the ability to reach everyone in the world, so your anti-racism blog has the potential audience of millions of people.
Don’t Go It Alone
No matter how intelligent or well-meaning an anti-racism activist may be, there’s no denying that the most influential activists throughout history were not on their own. Those that made the biggest waves did so by joining or starting anti-racist groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Anti-Racist Action and the American Civil Liberties Union. These groups and others like them have chapters all across the country. While you should never underestimate the power that one voice can have, you should also remember that there is still strength in numbers.
It’s very easy to say that you’re going to go out and fight against racism. It’s another thing entirely to do so effectively. Unfortunately, many people who go out and make a stand against any kind of injustice do so without being informed about whatever they may be standing against. The first step is to do your homework. Be prepared to tell people what you’re fighting against and why. Take a history class, perform research, cite facts and study up on what others in your place have done in the past. Above all, remember that there are few things more powerful than knowledge.
Second, you can give yourself a platform to make change. Nearly any political science major will tell you, racism is a very old and therefore very powerful institution, but it can be defeated if we all do our part. If you are intentional about creating opportunities you will be able to make a difference.
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