One unfortunate truth about humanity is that racism is here to stay. As someone who comes from an interracial family, it is disheartening and demoralizing to see human beings constantly divided and ripped apart because of race. This has been so throughout history and even today there seems to be no end in the way that people are treated because of the color of their skin, ethnic origin, nationality, and religion. Furthermore, it is clear that we cannot hope to eliminate racism overnight. However, I believe that over time there is hope that one day we will live in a world in which there is no more racism. By doing these simple but important things, we can start the process of eliminating racism for good.
What You Can Do To Eliminate Racism
1. Educate yourself on the proper terminology
Time and again, I see people who are not using racial terminology correctly. This can happen when people ask a certain question about one’s ethnicity but ultimately use the wrong word to ask the question. This can also happen when people use an outdated term that can be considered offensive or derogatory today. To avoid such backlash, it is always best to educate oneself on the correct terms and use them accordingly.
Below I am going to list some commonly misused racial terms:
- Nationality — the country that you are a citizen of
- Ethnicity — your ethnic background, or where your ancestors lived
- Heritage — traditions, customs, and artifacts that you inherit from your ancestors
- Race — a term created by society to label and divide people by perceived differences
- Monoracial — a person who has parents or grandparents who are of the same race
- Biracial — a person who has parents or grandparents of two races
- Multiracial — a person who has parents or grandparents of two or more races
- Bicultural — a person who grows up with two cultures concurrently. Note: you can be bicultural and be of one race
- Multicultural — a person who grows up with two or more cultures concurrently
- Mixed race — a person who is of two or more races
In order to eliminate racism, we must strive to ask these questions with the correct words. We must also not aim these questions toward a group of people just because of the color of their skin or any other characteristic. This difference in treatment has to go away if we ever want racism to be abolished. We can do this by using the correct terminology and in doing so, curating respect toward everyone no matter any perceived differences.
2. Accept that race is simply a social construct
Another thing that must be done is to acknowledge and accept that race is just a social construct. In other words, it is just a label, a word, created by people in an attempt to distinguish, divide, and identify people based on similar characteristics. There is no one race gene. There is no gene that says that you are white, or black, or Asian, or mixed race. Instead, our DNA is made up of many different genes coming together to create you. Each gene is responsible for different features, from your eye color to whether or not you have freckles or can roll your tongue or not. Race is just a label given to help understand the human race.
Today we often rely on knowing or guessing someone’s race. When we can’t tell what race someone is, then it confuddles us. Because when you know what race someone is, then you can easily put them into a category. You can then adjust your behavior and treat them accordingly depending on the stereotypes that are unfortunately attached to our perception of race. Needless to say, this is wrong. Because this is why George Floyd happened. This is why the Atlanta Salon Shootings happened. This is why people are treated differently in the workplace, at school, and everywhere in between.
Don’t treat people differently because of their perceived race. Specifically, don’t assume that your classmate is a whiz at math simply because his or her parents are from Japan. And don’t assume that your other classmate is good at basketball and likes fried chicken simply because his or her ancestors hailed from Africa. Always remember that race is just a word, and not what we should be using to define people. People should be defined by how kind they are, and not by their “race.”
You might also like: 9 Asian Stereotypes — True Or False?
3. Read books and articles told from differing perspectives
Finally, if you want to have a discussion with someone about race related issues, then you must first read a variety of books and articles on the subject. Don’t limit your reading material to one perspective. Rather, absorb a variety of content from material that is scholarly in nature to personal cultural reminiscences. By doing this, you can gain information that is factual, while also relating that information to actual experiences lived by real people. This will help you get a well rounded source of information on race, racism, and everything in between so that you can intelligently express your thoughts about the pertinent issues.
Looking back in history, there have been attempts by leaders creating books to persuade the public of a certain ideology. There have been attempts by the media to depict certain groups of people with exaggerated stereotypes. I believe that you should read to familiarize yourself with all of the literature out there.. We get nowhere by simply being close minded and limiting our perceptions of the world.
Instead, we can change the perception of race, how people are treated, and where we go from here by reading extensively and then talking about it with people. By first reading to gain insight and knowledge, and then talking to communicate about the real issues, then we start to bridge the road at one day eliminating racism for good.
Only by using the correct term, accepting that race is just a word, and then having common goals and shared minds can we attempt to work together to create a world that is more tolerant and respectful. By doing this, there won’t be anyone who slams another human being into the ground, with their knee holding him down. By doing this, there won’t be any group targeted and blamed for a world wide phenomenon. And by doing this, there won’t be anybody who is made to feel like they don’t belong in this country — and even the world.
We will just happily coexist –accepting each other with no baggage. I believe that we will eliminate racism.. one day. So, let’s start the process today.