The ongoing protests following the atrocity against George Floyd has lead us to ask many questions- to ourselves and the society as a whole. It seems that the year is 2020 but somehow the 1820s are making a comeback. In today's society, which keeps on developing at a breath's pace, we need to stop and ask ourselves- what is it that we are doing wrong? and more than that we need to find out solutions. If we stop and look around, casual racism is one of the most common reasons. we might not participate in it but we surely see it around us. So, this article will focus on the ways to call out casual racism around yourself which includes your family and your friends.
6 WAYS TO CALL OUT CASUAL RACISM AROUND YOU.
As we descend into June 2020, the world around seems to have jumped back to June 1820. At the moment, we are celebrating pride month but with the things going around the world, it’s hard to find something to take pride in. On May 25, a man named George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis simply because of the colour of his skin. It’s a simple case of police brutality, only, it hasn’t happened to a white person. On February 23rd, Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death while out jogging simply because he was a man of colour.
Due to the wide network of social media both these cases weren’t hidden from the public eye and we can see the deaths of these men on our phones. Outrage, violence, protests followed soon. Recently, #blacklivesmatter was the one thing common in all our Instagram stories. All this is happening, while a pandemic continues to take over this world.
What are we doing? Where are we going wrong? Why are we still tackling the problem of racial prejudice when this isn’t 1820? And why, despite all these years, all these centuries, have we not been able to tackle the problem of looking at a person and judging him just because of their colour? We need to stop and think. Another such event took place when a woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on a Black birdwatcher just because she “felt” threatened by that man. All these events have raised a million questions about police brutality, privileges of being a certain colour and problems of having a different skin colour and most importantly, questioning a person’s existence just because his skin colour doesn’t match yours.
The questions about racism is raised yet again and we fail to answer it. Yet again. While scrolling through my Instagram feed I read a post stating that you aren’t born racist, you are made one. It made me think about all those times when I laughed at a joke just because there wasn’t anyone around who’d be offended by it or it simply wouldn’t matter just because it was a “joke”. There have been other times when we have thought that the questions of racial supremacy and prejudices against people of colour is too sensitive a topic to talk about.
How did we end up here? Why, now, after two extremely brutal deaths, are we talking about this out loud? Racial supremacy, it seems to me, is prevalent all over the world. Whether it’s the “feeling” unsafe in the presence of a black man. Whether it’s the look that Muslims receive by the security checks at airports simply because of their religious beliefs. Or it is the fact that the Asians will now be associated as the carriers of coronavirus just because they look a certain way. And, perhaps, that joke you make when you call a person unattractive just because he/she has a certain skin colour.
Casual racism is the answer, I feel stumbling upon. Every day we engage in conversations that somehow promote casual racism which contributes towards the problem we are facing now. Often, upon hearing such things we get a feeling of injustice, but we simply do not call people out for it because they are our families and friends who might feel offended. So, here are some ways you can call out your friends and family towards casual racism without offending them. And if they are offended ask them to think about the problems that people face just because they look a certain way and their skin has a certain colour.
1.IT BEGINS AT HOME.
As of now, the social media is in an uproar. There are protests all over the world which are followed by curfews and more cases of police brutality. We are all wildly posting on social media and supporting those who march for this cause. But, stop and look around your house. Ask yourself and ask the people around you for their opinions on the recent events and just talk. While, it may be easier to keep this under the carpet, but we live in a brutal society which believes that killing a person is reasonable because of his skin colour. Let’s begin at home and teach the people around us and create a way of thinking that looks beyond the colour while posting Instagram stories for the cause.
2. IS IT REALLY JUST A JOKE?
There was a time when we ignored certain things. There was also a time when we laughed at certain things. “Hey, it's just a joke.” Or “C’mon, you can laugh, No one’s around.” Were the things we must have heard. We could have been an accomplice in the whole situation which sometimes might be known or unknown. Stop that now. Jokes are made to laugh not kill people. Every time you make a joke about a person’s skin colour realise that you are making yourself a part of their self-doubt which shouldn’t exist in the first place. The best way to call out racist jokes is to demand a reason to laugh at and if the reason is not good enough, well, then a laugh isn’t worth it.
3. IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS
Right now, as we all fight a pandemic, it's almost unearthly to avoid social media and news channels. But, let’s not. The recent events which have led me to write this very article prove that ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is the reason we ended up in this place. So, do not ignore the injustice around you. Do not ignore your privilege and raise your voices. Raising a bible in public just won’t do it anymore. Races and ethnicities should make you proud and support you rather than making you fear for your life. Voice your opinions out loud, especially when it's easier to remain silent.
4. ASK YOURSELF, EDUCATE YOURSELF
Recently, I saw a lot of social media posts that addressed the issue of racial prejudice by making the educational institutes an important confederate. From a very early time, we have been educated about white being good and black being bad which might not create a direct impact on racial prejudice but creates a chain which further creates a significant impact on the whole system. The very history we learn comprises of many white men and a handful of black men and in some cases, the very notable events which celebrate being BLACK have been erased from the books. For instance, we all know what 4th of JULY is. However, JUNETEENTH is something that hasn’t been taught in most books. So, if you aren’t well informed about the events that celebrate being black, learn about them, and educate yourself. Ask yourself questions that help you realise if you've been complicit in the system of age-old racial prejudice.
5. PROTEST FOR THEM, FOLLOW THEM, ENCOURAGE THEM
Speak for them. Speak with them. Take your family and friends along with you for protests. Protest peacefully and convince others around you to do the same. It might not bear any fruits right now, but it is helping you plant the seeds. Wear your protective gear and do not forget that we are still living with a not so humble virus. If you can’t protest, encourage them. Support black-owned businesses so that while fighting the virus and racial prejudice they don’t tackle the economic crisis. Lastly, post about things that matter not because they are trending but because they matter. Make your followers aware of what the world is and how we need to reform it.
6. AN OFFENSE IS THE BEST DEFENCE.
While the phrase might have been useful in a sporting competition and/or as a war technique, it seems like a necessity now. When you call out people, your friends and family around you for their remarks and opinions and their not so funny jokes, they might get offended. Well, offend them. Its high time and it is the best defence. Don’t be afraid of calling out something just because a person might get offended. Realise that now you must choose. Choose between a man dying because he’s black or a man getting offended at words that are important enough to be heard out loud.