www.rhinofitness.ca

 

Home
Back to Articles...




 





Eliminating Racism

What is Racism?

"You're either part of the solution or part of the problem" Eldridge Cleaver (Author of Soul on Ice)

'Racism' is a combination of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.

Some people think they are superior to others, as they see people of other cultures as worse or lower than themselves. This attitude is very destructive to all involved, and is devastating to those who are discriminated against.

Who can be racist?

Anyone can be racist. To discriminate with racism a person will have some kind of power over the person they are discriminating against - be it economic, political or social power.

Power doesn't have to come from a boss or someone in a position where power is a given. Power can exist in a group of people or one person. A group of people can use their numbers to feel powerful, and can use their group to intimidate those they discriminate against.

Examples of racism from a group;

A group of kids in a cafeteria not allowing kids of other skin colour to sit with them.

A sports team not allowing people to play on their team because they are from a certain country, speak another language, or have different skin colour.

Two or more people making fun of, or harassing someone with different skin color or ethnicity.

Stereotyping:

Stereotyping is a word used to define people based on a generalizing of often just one member of that group by his or her actions, words, dress, etc.

This behavior is wrong because no matter our background we are all individuals with unique characteristics and habits.

This is by no means a fair or accurate way to judge an entire culture, or an individual of a culture. When we categorize people by generalizing them we are stereotyping.

Typical stereotypes that are common today, but like all stereotypes, are completely false and based on prejudice;

  • A white person made a racist comment, therefore all white people are racist.
  • An African person was caught stealing, therefore all African people are criminals.
  • The 'Martial Arts' such as karate are from Asia, therefore all Asians know karate.
  • An aboriginal person was drunk, therefore all aboriginals are alcoholics.

    All these stereotypes are false and are damning to those on the receiving end, and show the true ignorance and arrogance of those who say these things. To end discrimination we need to face the ugly reality of it by brining it out in the open and talking about it, and understanding how wrong it is, and facing ourselves.

Did you know that in the state of Alabama it was just in the year 2000 that it became legal for "mixed race" marriages? - Racism is still here; we still need to address this serious issue.

Prejudice:

It means simply to pre-judge. Prejudice is a pre-judgment of people based on our stereotypes.

Prejudice doesn't look at facts but lives on preconceived notion, which results in unfair treatment. Stereotyping and Prejudice go together.

Discrimination:

An action.

Discrimination requires prejudice and stereotyping. It's the action we take against others because of our prejudiced belief system.

These actions belittle, discourage and humiliate the victim, and show the true ignorance of the person discriminating.

Discrimination puts people at such a disadvantage that they can be excluded from opportunities such as work/ employment, housing, health care, education, and even friendships.

Discrimination is an unequal, unfavorable treatment directed against a group or individual who is a member of the group. It is treating people unfairly.

Ironically the term "racism" is racist in of itself. We know that there are not different "races" of humans. We are all of the same "race". The differences in skin colour are a minor, superficial difference. In fact our skin tone changes with exposure to the sun.

All humans skin becomes darker with exposure to sunlight (suntan). A person with lighter skin may on one day discriminate against a dark skinned person, then the next day have darker skin themselves because they simply stood in the sun. This is a prime example of how discrimination is not only wrong, but foolhardy as well..

Stopping discrimination:

Each person is responsible for their own actions. Each time you witness discrimination, you can take action.

That action might be as simple as separating yourself from people who discriminate. If it is safe to do so, discrimination should be challenged. If someone tells you a racist joke, make an effort not to laugh. Tell the person that racist jokes are not funny.

Look at yourself:

Do you stereotype? Have you told or laughed at racist jokes? Do you avoid sitting next to people of different ethnicity's?

Have you ever thought things like, "I wish those people would go back where they came from"?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you have had prejudiced thoughts and may have discriminated. How does it feel to be a racist?

The most important thing to realize is that all forms of discrimination require a lack of respect for a persons basic human rights. If you know how it feels to be held back unfairly, if you know what it feels like to made fun of, if you know what injustice is, then you know what racial discrimination is.

Be responsible. Be fair. Don't do things to another that you would not want to have done to you.

DISCRIMINATION CAN BE STOPPED.

IT CAN BE STOPPED BY YOU.

2003-2005 Cris LaBossiere

Copyright 2004 Rhino Fitness. All rights reserved.
For more information contact: clabossiere@rhinofitness.ca