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.

251
15 Ways You Might Be Encouraging Racism
Izismile

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.
Featured

A Letter To My Heartbroken Self

It will be okay, eventually.

1274
A Letter To My Heartbroken Self
Pexels

Breakups are hard. There's nothing comparable to the pain of losing someone you thought would be in your life forever. Someone who said all the right things at the right times. Someone who would give you the reassurance you needed, whenever you needed it. And then one day, it just... stops. Something changes. Something makes you feel like you're suddenly not good enough for him, or anyone for that matter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America

For the first time since 1994 the United States will host a world cup (for men's soccer)

4156
2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America
Skylar Meyers

The FIFA World Cup is coming to North American in 2026!

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

An Open Letter to Winter

Before we know it April will arrive.

6370

Dear Winter,

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Cleaning Up Your Room

This holiday break is the perfect time to get away from the materialistic frenzy of the world and turn your room into a decluttered sanctuary.

5874
Pixar

Cleaning isn’t just for spring. In fact, I find school’s holiday break to be a very effective time for decluttering. You’re already being bombarded by the materialistically-infatuated frenzy of society’s version of Christmas, Hanukah, etc. It’s nice to get out of the claustrophobic avarice of the world and come home to a clean, fresh, and tidy room. While stacking up old books, CDs, and shoes may seem like no big deal, it can become a dangerous habit. The longer you hang onto something, whether it be for sentimental value or simply routine, it becomes much harder to let go of. Starting the process of decluttering can be the hardest part. To make it a little easier, get out three boxes and label them Donate, Storage, and Trash. I'm in the middle of the process right now, and while it is quite time consuming, it is also so relieving and calming to see how much you don't have to deal with anymore. Use these six questions below to help decide where an item gets sorted or if it obtains the value to stay out in your precious sanctuary from the world.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Why I Don't Write (Or Read) An "Open Letter To My Future Husband/Wife"

Because inflated expectations and having marriage as your only goal are overrated.

16866
Urban Intellectuals

Although I have since changed my major I remember the feverish hysteria of applying to nursing school--refreshing your email repeatedly, asking friends, and frantically calculating your GPA at ungodly hours of the night. When my acceptance came in I announced the news to friends and family with all the candor of your average collegiate. I was met with well wishes, congratulations, and interrogations on the program's rank, size, etc. Then, unexpectedly, I was met with something else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments