A colleague at work asks me this. It is actually a profound question. How do we stop racism? What do we as a human race need to do in order to combat this issue that has plagued our race over generations? Sometimes I see racism like the zombie apocalypse movies that we watch. It is like a disease that seems to have taken over the human mind. The people we praise as “woke” who take stands and protest in their own small ways to make changes are like the scientists trying to find a cure for those infected. And just like the film “the girl with all the gifts” sometimes the inability to have compassion towards one another as we push for the world to recognise us, stops us from finding the cure.
So what do we say will stop racism? Some argue that we are to make all things equal for everyone. But don’t we all know the saying “Life is not fair”? All things are not equal from the beginning even from the life to which you are born into. And if the argument is to make everyone have the same amount of wealth then maybe there is a stance for communism after all.
Before we move to find a cure for this apocalyptic plague let us first understand what it is? We cannot all agree on what racism is. To some people, racism is a figment of one’s imagination. And I will not beat around the bush or try to be politically correct. When a racial issue occurs, for example, Police Brutality (white policeman kills a black unarmed man because he claims to “fear for his life”) the media is quick to point out this victim’s criminal background almost to say ‘THIS JUSTIFIES THE MURDER’. The public then goes on to say well ‘HE SHOULD HAVE JUST COMPLIED, NOT RESISTED AND DONE AS HE WAS TOLD’, again justifying the murder. I know you may be thinking murder is a bit strong of an accusation. However, how else do you describe the killing of a 13-year-old child as he plays with a toy gun in a park?
I will not try to give you an Oxford dictionary definition of what racism is; you can google that for your own benefit. I will, however, explain what it means to me in my own words. Racism is the unfair, unjust, uncalled for treatment of another HUMAN BEING based on the colour of his/her skin, ethnicity and stereotype. Stereotype? Yes, Stereotype. You see there is always some figment of truth in a stereotype given to a group of people. But the majority of the time, this is created by a selected few and the rest are tarnished with the same brush. Here is an illustration I gave to my colleague who asked the question.
You own a company and you are looking to employ a mathematician. You are given five people and you have not seen their résumés. Out of these five people, one is Chinese, the other two are white males, one is African and the last individual is from the Middle East. On face value, who would you pick for the Job?
He replied that he would pick the Chinese. He fed into the stereotype that Chinese people are good at Maths. And it could be true, but the question is, is it true for this particular Chinese individual? He made an assumption based on ethnicity, race and stereotype.
I know what you’re thinking, he had to pick on face value. But did he really? He was given a scenario, I was not holding a gun to his head, why didn’t he ask to find out more about each person individually so that he could make a better judgement? This is something that we do all the time we are quick to take things at face value, feeding into stereotypes not taking the time to assess situations.
If you have read this far and you’re thinking you haven’t really answered the question of how do we stop racism, I don’t have the perfect answer. What I do know is that as a human race we lack compassion for one another. We do not stop to think ‘what if that was me, my child, mom, dad, uncle, sister, friend or brother. Compassion causes action. So if you truly want change you need to act. And if you can’t act because you do not understand then communicate with someone. But do not listen just to reply, listen to understand in order for us to work together to stop racism. So maybe that is the answer. Working Together.