15 Ways You Might Be Encouraging Racism
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

15 Ways You Might Be Encouraging Racism

And 15 ways to further interrogate it.

15 Ways You Might Be Encouraging Racism

Whether or not you care to admit it, you probably participate in acts of covert/subtle racism pretty regularly.

I'm not accusing all humans of being racist. I'm accusing all humans of operating in a system that benefits from centuries of racial disparity.

It's a distressing thought (to say the very least) that racism pervades our culture and day-to-day interactions. This can even occur when the behavior is enacted with the best of intentions.

We all know what overt racism looks like, and hopefully, we are all willing to stand against that. Unfortunately, only tackling racism in its overt form is analogous to only taking antibiotics until you feel better.

In the case of the uncompleted medication regimen to treat bacterial infections, only taking the medication until symptoms disappear does not actually cure the disease. Rather, this only kills the weakest bacteria, leaving the antibiotic-resistant and strong bacteria to thrive.

Only recognizing the covert forms of racism fails to tackle the actions that continue to persist in, what may seem like, lighthearted interactions. Failing to tackling the subtle forms of racism further encourages racial disparity to exist casually.

So, here's a quick guide on how to further question how race may show up in your daily social interactions:

1. Asking people where they're "really" from

Ask yourself: Is this information necessary for me to know? Will this help me to better understand their lived experience?

2. Telling someone they speak English well

Ask yourself: What makes you assume that they wouldn't know English? What makes this a useful compliment?

3. Assuming someone is uneducated because English isn't their first language

Ask yourself: What makes me feel that English is related to level of education or intellect? Can persons who do not speak English be just as intellectual?

4. Telling someone they "act white"

Ask yourself: What does it mean to "act white"? What makes me ascribe these attributes to white people?

5. Assuming a person of color grew up poor

Ask yourself: Where did I get this narrative from? Am I attaching a value to this experience?

6. Assuming a person only got into college or got a position because of affirmative action

Ask yourself: What is my definition of justice? What makes society need affirmative action? What is my definition of "hard working"?

7. Assuming that a person from a certain racial group may be better at a certain subject or activity

Ask yourself: Where am I getting this information from? What makes me ascribe these attributes to this group?

8. Saying: "You're (insert positive adjective) for a (insert specific racial group)"

Ask yourself: Why would this trait not be innate for this group? Is this racial group not normally representative of the positive adjective, why?

9. Saying: "I can't be racist, I have friends that are (insert specific racial group)"

Ask yourself: Am I saying this because I am valuing them, or defending myself?

10. Assuming that a person of color is a criminal/more dangerous than someone who is white

Ask yourself: Where did I get this message from? What stereotypes am I perpetuating?

11. Calling someone the "Token (insert specific racial group) friend"

Ask yourself: What do you feel this friend represents? Do they want to be considered the token?

12. Referring to someone as "My (insert specific racial group) friend"

Ask yourself: Would you feel comfortable introducing a white friend as "your white friend"?

13. Calling health and beauty products targeted toward white people "normal" or "nude"

Ask yourself: Why is this product labeled like this? Why is white considered the standard?

14. Refusing to talk about racism

Ask yourself: Does the discomfort of talking about racism compare to the discomfort of being a victim of racial discrimination? What about this conversation makes me uncomfortable?

15. Saying that you don't see race

Ask yourself: Really? How does race show up in my life? Why might someone need to think about race more frequently? What racial disparities exist in the current world?

For more information on how to assess, acknowledge, and disrupt micro-aggressions, check out these resources!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Women are known to lug around heavy purses with unnecessary items inside. How many of these useful items do you keep in your own bag? We need to be prepared with a list of things to have with us whenever we leave the house again.

Keep Reading... Show less

I personally love using song lyrics as my Instagram captions, especially from songs that I love or that mean a lot to me, and I happen to love Harry Styles and all of his songs! So I made a list of lyrics from each of his songs that you could use in your next Instagram caption.

Keep Reading... Show less

Everyone's been here. And, truthfully, it sucks. But in order to move on and get past something you need to allow yourself to feel it for what it is--all of the heartbreak and pain--and then you can start to take steps move on.

Keep Reading... Show less

11 Christmas Movies You'll Remember If You Were A 2000s Kid

Because I'm still reminiscing about simpler times.


The Christmas season is coming to an end, but it's not too late to get some last-minute movies in! Unfortunately, this year didn't look like a typical Christmas. While we can't have any big Christmas parties or family gatherings, we can still celebrate at home! Christmas is the best time for nostalgia, and we could all use some warm and fuzzy feelings as we wrap up a tough year and enter a new one that hasn't been proven any calmer, either.

As a kid who grew up in the 2000s, I can think of some of my favorite staple Christmas movies. If you're looking for recommendations or just a walk down memory lane, check out the list below.

Keep Reading... Show less

9 Reasons 'The Wilds' Should Be Your Next Binge Watch

The Wilds is the Best New Show on Amazon Prime


As we enter the new year, you might be looking for a great show to kick-off 2021. Look no further, I have the perfect recommendation. "The Wilds" was released on Amazon Prime last month and has been gaining traction steadily since then. This series of 10 one-hour episodes tells the stories of eight girls who find themselves on a deserted island after their plane crashed while they are on their way to a resort. Unlike other survival shows, there's a bit more to the story than what first meets the eye. This show is unique in characters, storytelling methods, and plot.

If you aren't convinced yet, allow me to provide you with a list of further persuasion.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Therapeutic Ways To Be Adventurous During The Pandemic

Add some music to reduce the COVID-anxiety a bit and perceive your surroundings as the elaborate setting of a land far, far away from home


Even if we are not traveling abroad at the moment, we can still travel locally while maintaining social distancing and preventative guidelines. Sometimes, the little things in life seem the most fascinating and joyous to us compared to the flamboyant luxuries that we perhaps have a wishful desire for.

So, as a potential remedy for our travel necessity, I have listed 5 alternative ways in which you can relish your traveling desires during this pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Things TikTok Made Me Buy, And Now My Life Is So Much Better

Where would I be without my Revlon hair dryer or CeraVe skin products?! Thanks, TikTok.


TikTok is a great way to see what products are trending. People are sharing tips and tricks about items that they use to make their life happier, healthier, or just easier.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments