The UN started the observance of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination day in 1966. The fact that the world needs a day to reflect, remember & strategize for change, means that not much has been accomplished. Sure in most parts of the world it's illegal to discriminate because of a person's race but I & many others know that it happens every single day. Even in countries where many still believe issues pertaining to race do not exist anymore. To name a few countries, Canada, United States, the United Kingdom. We know that many regions of the aforementioned countries are "more open" to different people (& when I say different I mean, not Caucasian) than not. Of course this does not mean that a whole region is one way or another. There are always exceptions to the rule. Unfortunately if you get the opportunity to listen to conversations on a personal level there are a lot of stereotypes & untruths being told as fact, to the newest generations.
Examples, using what I've heard 1st hand, NOT what I believe:
- Black people don't like to work & are lazy. Lazy comes in every form & colour.
- Black people cannot be racist. Since when? Everyone can discriminate.
- All white people are racists. If I based this on the several bad experiences I've had, I wouldn't have a best friend.
- White people are privileged & don't know what it's like to suffer or struggle. I've known more white people on the same level as myself & more who were worse off.
- Hispanics & Latinos are all illegal immigrants. Ignorant. Most immigrants want to come in the country through the proper channels & procedures, so they are not caught & sent back to where they came from.
- Aboriginals/Native people don't like to work & are lazy. People work because they need to survive. We don't always like what we do, but we like money & what it gives us.
I don't think that racial discrimination will ever be eradicated. Not in my generation or the ones after me. I've written about this before & things are not that much better. Don't get me wrong, things are not as bad as they were but there's so much more work to do.
A lot of people say that in another 2-3 generations everyone will look the same, so discrimination will have to be eliminated. I don't know if I agree with that. There will always be communities and families who have no desire to interact with people who do not look like them. Even if that means that their own communities are getting smaller & smaller.
The land of Utopia will not happen as long as 1 person feels superior over another. Plain & simple. Is it even in human nature for this to happen? I know this post sounds negative & dismal. This is not how how feel about race relations most of the time, but when issues like the open case of Trayvon Martin come up, it's get's me burning inside.
What can you do?
- Call people on their blatant racism or plain ignorance. Just laughing it off, or sitting in an uncomfortable silence will do nothing to change minds that have the openness to change.
- What we say & do in front of young people does impact and bias their perceptions.
- In teaching others, we often re-teach ourselves.
- Open dialogue. Ask questions in a sensible way. And to those being asked, use the opportunity to educate people. Don't automatically get defensive. Remember educating the willing is a large part of change.
- Check out what's happening in your community via, the newspaper, internet, or cultural/community centre.
What does the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination mean to you? Leave a comment below.
*Contest on Facebook with Catbook. I entered Kai to win 1 of 3 prizes. Cat toys of course. I'd really appreciate it if you could take a minute of your time to vote for Kai. Contest Runs until April 04, 2012 at 11:59PM EST. The link is HERE. Thanks everyone!*
Till next time,