Growth 4 min read

6 Ways To Resist Racism

This message is for us all.

At one time or another, we have all harbored a negative thought or drawn a conclusion about a person or group of another race based upon our isolated personal experiences, what we have heard from others, or have seen in the media. Refusing to be a perpetuator of negativity,   I went on a quest to get to know, on a deeper level, individuals who “don’t look like me.” I’ve succeeded — and over the years, I’ve developed some amazing cross-cultural relationships that are mutually rewarding. Here are some of the key strategies that worked for me:

1. Determine whether you are indeed a racist.

Do you really believe that a particular race is inherently inferior or superior, or that their moral or social behavior is attributable specifically to race? You see, there is a good chance that rather than being a racist, you may be guilty of “racial preference” in which you prefer to be with people of your own race due to familiarity, fears about the other race, or other learned reasons. I admit that I have occasionally practiced racial preference. For example, I prefer to watch Black movies with Black people because the audience tends to respond to the humorous, joyful, or sad scenes in a way that reinforces the bond we share because of our history or other relatable cultural distinctions.  

2. Admit the specific fears you have about people of another race.

Examples:

Blacks will someday exact revenge against Whites for the inequities of slavery and continuing discrimination.
Whites are always looking for a way to disrespect or disadvantage Blacks and Latinos.   
My son or daughter might marry a White, Black, or Latino and thus, diminish my social standing or cause me to appear to be a “sell out.”

3. Decide to put away the broad brush of stereotypes and assumptions you have been making about the behavior or motives of an entire race:

Examples:

“Blacks are angry, evil, and dangerous; those who have succeeded in society are not the norm.”
“The majority of Latinos are recent, illegal immigrants bent on crime.
“All Whites think they are superior to other races.”

4. In your daily personal and professional interactions, imagine that every person has transparent skin.

Look beyond their black, white, or brown “cover” and focus on their “content.” You will start to see that no race is monolithic; no group shares all the same character traits or values. And, although each person is unique, you will find that we all have common pursuits: meaningful relationships, financial stability, and a desire for significance or appreciation.

5. Get close enough to understand people on an individual basis.

Stop ignoring the “elephant in the room”—being racially different—and have a real conversation. Ask questions about their life experience, share a meal, and engage in a social, religious, or sports activity together. Be proactive in initiating the connection; don’t wait to be invited. If at first you don’t succeed with a particular person, try another. In the end, you will find that you have more in common than you imagined.

6. Become an “equality evangelist.”

Racism has prevailed because it continues to be passed down to successive generations. Why not purpose in your heart to stop perpetuating the stereotypes of the past and to begin passing on new, positive observations about people of another race. Try reading the biographies or stories of renowned people of the race you have judged negatively and begin acknowledging their contributions to society.

There really is only one race: the human race. Once the Black, White, and Brown masses acknowledge this truth, we can become a more united and effective force in dealing with other troubling worldwide issues such as poverty, injustice, and food shortages.

Deborah Smith Pegues is a communications strategist, CPA/MBA, and bestselling author of numerous books including 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue (over 1,000,000 sold). Read more about her at ConfrontingIssues.com.

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