The Black Lives Matter movement may make you think more about racism and may make you question some of your beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
A little self-reflection may reveal some disturbing facts—for example, where you might have racist thoughts or exhibit racist behavior without even realizing it. This kind of self-reflection can also be accompanied by guilt and shame, so it is also important to start with forgiveness.
Modern racism exists because we are all born in the current environment. Although we are not involved in the way of designing things, we can indeed help correct this situation.
Fortunately, you can take some steps to embark on an anti-racism journey. Raising one’s awareness of any prejudices and stereotypes may be the key to breaking down barriers.
1. Acknowledge the existence of modern racism
Although some people believe that anti-discrimination laws have eliminated racism from society, research shows that this is not the case.
Ethnic minorities still suffer from a lot of prejudice and discrimination. The study found that ethnic minorities are:
- It is unlikely to get enough care from a doctor.
- It is unlikely to get employment opportunities.
- The crimes they committed were subject to harsher trials.
- More likely to be shot by the police.
- More suspicion in public places.
These are just a few examples. Obviously, many people experience racism in many different ways every day.
Therefore, it is important to recognize that ethnic minorities still face persistent discrimination. Recognizing the existence of racism is the first step in achieving positive change.
Hear other people’s experiences. When you hear other people’s situations and stories, be willing to listen with an open mind.
2. Admit your prejudices
If you think things like “I will never do anything racist”, you may want to check yourself. Research shows that people who claim to have never been prejudiced are most likely to be prejudiced.
A 2019 study was published in Personality and individual differences It was found that “the people who are least egalitarian are those who overestimate their level of egalitarianism.”
Participants were asked to report how equal they thought they were compared to others in terms of race. Then, they expressed how good they felt about black people in the workplace. Finally, participants completed an implicit association test to measure their implicit bias related to race.
Researchers have found that those who claim to be the most equal show the most implicit prejudice against blacks.
Other studies have found similar results. People in privileged groups are more likely to deny the existence of prejudice.Among young people, there is an impression that racism is “not that bad anymore” or that it only occurs in extreme situations.
Some people even think that prejudice against whites is more worrying than prejudice against blacks.
Remember, no one is totally biased or not biased at all. This is a continuum, and everyone has stereotypes and prejudices to some extent, which affect the way they personally interact with other races.
It is important to remember that our brains are born to recognize differences, and differences have evolved to resist the universal threats of the world. Our prejudices still operate on the same internal system.
3. Take a test to determine your bias
Project Implicit is a non-profit organization that helps people identify hidden biases. They offer free tests that can help you discover the thoughts and feelings of people of other races that you may not be aware of.
After all, on the surface, you might think that you are accepting people of all races. But the truth is that you may have some stereotypes and prejudices that you may not even realize.
Take this free test to discover more about your hidden prejudices.
Taking this type of test may be helpful, but it is also important to be vigilant to identify and challenge your possible biases. It’s also helpful to pay attention to how other people respond to your interactions. For example, if someone seems to be offended by something you said or did, ask further.
4. Know yourself
You might think that your anti-racism journey should start with getting to know others. But first developing more self-awareness may be the key to helping you gain a deeper understanding of your beliefs.
A 2009 study was published in Journal of International Cultural Relations Discover that individuals can improve their cultural abilities by exploring their own historical roots and values.
A better understanding of your ancestors and their experiences, and thinking about how your family works as a whole can help you understand how these affect you. It allows you to better understand your own prejudices and at the same time stimulate curiosity about other cultures and races.
In her book Body is not an apology, Sonya Renee Taylor (Sonya Renee Taylor) advocates the concept of complete self-love, which includes loving one’s body and a complete true self. She believes that part of our prejudice stems from personal shortcomings. By learning to accept ourselves more authentically, we can improve society as a whole.
Another way to get to know yourself is to consider participating in personal therapy to explore issues of prejudice and racism.
5. Get to know other people
Also let yourself understand other races. Learn about the history of racism and discrimination, and work hard to learn more about what other people are experiencing today.
Read books, movies, and review articles describing other people’s experiences.
You don’t have to focus only on scientific journals and documentaries. You may find that many novel books can also provide insight into unfamiliar backgrounds.
Get your news from various sources. Watching the same channel and reading articles on the same website will only give you one point of view. Learn from many different people and you will find that there are many ways to tell the same story.
6. Interact with people of different races
There is no substitute for first-hand experience. Talking to people who are different from you, working with people of other races, and interacting with them in various situations can help you gain the greatest insight.
When you listen to people’s voices, you will learn a lot. But don’t ask them to educate you about racism. Asking them to do more work — or essentially trying to explain their daily experience — will put more burden on them.
You may also need to participate in new events purposefully in order to interact with people outside your usual social circle. Volunteer, join a club, or participate in activities that you would not normally attend, so you can interact with different people.
Another thing you can do is to visit different parts of the U.S. and other countries with permission. Many organizations also organize and host cultural events and festivals, which are other things you might want to consider.
7. Register for the course
Whether you are enrolling in online courses or university courses, diversified education can help you reduce prejudice.
Published in 2001 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology It was found that the students who participated in the prejudice and conflict seminar significantly reduced the implicit and explicit anti-black prejudice compared with the control group.
This research shows that prejudice can be changed-even those that seem automatic. Knowing your stereotypes can significantly reduce your prejudice. A recent study in 2012 also supports these findings, showing that anti-bias training and intervention can significantly reduce implicit racial prejudice over the long term.
Some resources to help reduce racial prejudice:
- Look around for online courses, or contact your local university to see if they offer diverse courses.
- Recently, content aimed at educating and informing people about racial issues has also exploded.
- There are many free programs and webinars available for the public to use online.
- There are also some independent scholars offering courses.
- Local libraries also often have book clubs and programs designed to promote diversity and racial understanding.
Ideally, you would adopt a comprehensive approach, not just choose one or two products. Challenging and actively fighting prejudice is a strong psychological and long-term dedication, so the more resources you have to support your efforts, the better.
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If you are trying to become an anti-racist, you may find it helpful to talk to a professional. Contact a therapist. A licensed mental health professional can help you determine the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you want to change, and can also provide more resources that can help you learn and grow.