Photo by Anete Lusina
Conversations around racism seem to be constantly shifting these days – and it only shows how important it is to talk about it more than ever.
Race, racism, and racial justice are scarce in a country that calls itself the land of the free. Educating non-black people may have been a good start, but then internalized racism, also known as ‘anti-blackness.’ Research, experience, and collective effort from different countries are good entry points for complete discussions. Author King Bell shares different facets of what it is like living as a black person in America, where injustice is still felt today.
While many ways to get the message across, we will mainly focus on persuading people to act. Regardless if they are people of color or not, as much as we are free to express our thoughts and passions through angry protests and other forms of demonstration. It is understandable to resort to those means as a Black person that heard heartbreaking stories and learned about how cruel it is to be a black person in America and how ancestors have fought for these fundamental human rights for a long time. Such vigorous means may not appeal to everyone, but that doesn’t erase the significance of talking about it.
1 – Initiate Through Common Goals
If you want to capture an audience without being obnoxious, start with core values that are inspirational, hopeful, and capable of igniting a collective passion for fighting against racial injustice. And if possible, this can be an excellent way to initiate tough conversations without making the situation awkward or anxiety-inducing.
For example, those accountable for upholding the justice system must be committed to fairness at all costs. Officers must practice equal treatment and conduct investigations without stereotyping or racial profiling. It also endangers more innocent black people and minimizes public safety. Not even law enforcement officials are exemplary figures when it comes to upholding human rights. If America claims they are a nation based on freedom and equality, everyone should take responsibility for ensuring the rights of every individual and live up to those values. Racial discrimination contradicts those values, and that’s why we need to do whatever we can to stop what fuels such hate.
2 – Core Values Should Be Used To Bridge People Together
Having discussions with someone with whom you share the same values helps ease the struggle of having a fair chance to air out the frustration of experiencing racism. However, discussing it in plain sight doesn’t mean race shouldn’t be left out of the discussion. Connect the dots by associating shared values with racial equity and inclusion. It can push audiences to think deeply and develop a mentality that leans more on creating solutions rather than skepticism. Linking matters of the mind and heart together can be a powerful tool that will shape the continuing fight for the civil rights movement in the years to come.
3 – Acknowledge The Counter Narratives
Recurring themes about race often happen, especially among those who wish to avoid the reality of unequal opportunities that racism brought upon black Americans. Even though we claim to be aware of the narratives circulating, we still have to evaluate the truth behind them and watch how people around us absorb those truths. It’s also essential to observe how they will change once presented with the realities that will possibly cloud their judgment.
Here are a few examples of false narratives that need to be dismantled:
- Propagating that racism itself is divisive.
- The idea is that discrimination is just imaginary and doesn’t exist.
- Claiming that “playing the race card” is hypocritical and opportunistic.
- Racial inequality cannot go hand in hand with class inequality.
- Tackling racism is a waste of time, and no one should be too invested in it.
4 – Systemic Hindrances To Justice And Opportunities
Our differences in upbringing and cultural views pose a problem – how we weigh in on how people “deserve” the circumstances they are in. However, we must consider the following factors that contribute to different outcomes in our society. History, culture, and policies are out of anyone’s control. They are essential aspects that shape our current lives.
If we want to show the world that discrimination and racism point to inequalities in all situations, there needs to be a story that perfectly links the cause and effect. Without that common link or shared values, the people you want to reach out to might deny the existence of such problems once again.
5 – Stay Consistent With The Goal
We must realize those different audiences have various ways of getting the message. They absorb complex issues like race and racism, and we must consider racial justice when talking to them about it. After all, it’s more important that they understand and ultimately act on it rather than listening without doing anything about it.