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Dealing with Racism in College and at Work
Even with all the movements and protests all over the globe, racism and discrimination are still evident everywhere. It could happen in schools and even in the workplace. But how do we deal with this? Here are some of the best ways to handle such circumstances.
Assess Your Surroundings
As much as we all want to speak up and to confront people throwing racist remarks, we also have to check the environment. Are you in a safe place where there are a lot of people? You see, the last thing we want to happen is for you to get physically hurt. If you believe that a person has the capability to hurt you if you talk back, just ignore it and keep walking. Make sure that you have the emergency numbers on your speed dial as well for obvious reasons.
Know Your Rights and the Policies
It’s always good to check if your school or office has specific guidelines for handling racial discrimination. Make yourself aware of these, and if you found out that there is none, then you can always have initiative. Who knows if it can help the future generation.
Naturally, you would want to respond to these racial acts by aggression. But that’s the least you want to show your oppressors. Instead, remain your composure and stay calm. Others would even respond with a simple compliment such as saying, ‘Your shirt is nice’ or ‘You have a beautiful smile’. However, the right timing and environment are crucial when you do this. So use your better judgment.
Be Assertive and Speak Up
Unfortunately, there are still millions of people who are not aware that what they are doing is already a form of racial discrimination. Perhaps, they are just used to hearing racial jokes or they do not understand the concept of inclusivity. And with that, you have to be confident enough to say that what they are doing is wrong.
For witnesses, you also have to say your piece. Ignoring it while you are just a few meters away is like saying that’s it’s not a big deal, where in fact, it is. We’ve seen a lot of videos lately and social experiments where bystanders are doing their part whenever they see racists. And that’s a good sign that more people are now educated. But honestly, we are still far from over. The death of George Floyd is proof that discrimination is still very much apparent.
Document the Harassment
As much as possible, you have to document the harassment that happens in your school or at work. If it has become a recurring incident, then you can present a timeline.
Build a Strong Support System
No matter how strong you are, sometimes being a victim of this social injustice can take a toll on one’s health both physically and mentally. And so you have to make sure that you are protecting yourself as much as you can.
One of the ways to do it is to look for a support system. If you are in school or in the office, join organizations and meet people who genuinely understand you. Most likely, they also experienced being discriminated because of their race. Ask how they were able to handle it and still be able to thrive given the tough conditions.
By spending more time with them, you also get to build trust. That’s good because you need to talk to someone about your thoughts, frustrations, and feelings towards the discrimination that you experience.
Embrace Your Culture’s Worth
The more that you love your culture, the more that you value its worth. And regardless of what other people say against it, you will be less affected. It’s about time that you take the initiative and learn more about your race. What are the contributions you gave to the world? By then, you will be more confident even if others are too blinded by the color or culture they are in.
Don’t Waste Your Energy
We know that this is easier said than done, but sometimes even if you want to educate them, you just have to let go. Do not waste your energy on people who are not willing to listen and to understand. But instead, use a different outlet or platform to share your thoughts.
For example, you can raise awareness using social media. You can even create a group in your school or office with the aim of educating people about a culture of inclusivity.
Remember, as long as it is still happening, we have to do our part. We cannot just condone it and allow other people to think that it’s ok to ridicule someone based on race or personal beliefs.
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