Not being racist is not enough…

…one must be anti-racist!

Experiencing racism is never easy, and it can be especially difficult when it’s subtle or unconscious. My experience of being treated like an idiot just because of an extrovert temperament and frequent smiles in situations some people are just too serious about. And this is an unconscious form of racism that many People Of Color face every day. It’s a reminder that we all need to reflect on our own biases and prejudices, even if we don’t realize we have them.

In our modern society, the practices of racism have taken many forms. We’ve seen blatant displays of it, such as hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace. But more insidious forms of racism exist as well, such as microaggressions, cultural and image appropriation. And as my experience shows, even something as innocuous as smiling in a situation can be enough to trigger unconscious biases.

It’s important to remember that racism doesn’t just hurt individuals – it harms society as a whole. The wealth and prosperity of Europeans have been built on the backs of enslaved peoples and the over-exploitation of natural resources. And to this day, the legacy of that exploitation continues to create poverty and inequality around the world.

But it’s not just the responsibility of POC to address racism – it’s up to everyone to do their part. Self-reflection and introspection are key to identifying and addressing our own biases. We must acknowledge that we are all products of our cultural and societal upbringing and that we are all capable of perpetuating harmful beliefs and behaviors.

The next time you see a photo with a POC, or need to interact with one in person, consider your own perception of them. Are you truly accepting and inclusive, or are you perpetuating these harmful stereotypes, prejudices, and condition? And if you’re a non-POC, recognize that your position of privilege can blind you to the experiences of others. Take responsibility for your actions and work towards a more just and equitable society.

Let’s all do our part to confront racism, even when it’s subtle or unconscious. And let’s never forget the harm that has been done by the exploitation of people and resources in the past, and the work that still needs to be done to create a better future for everyone.

The problem I m talking about is not only the lack of representation. It is also in the subconscious biases that people hold, which often manifest in subtle forms of racism.

I can use my own experiences as an example of this. As a person of color, I have had to deal with the subtle and not-so-subtle forms of racism in my everyday life, mainly as a migrant in Germany. In my experience, people are often fine with seeing smiling POC in pictures, but when they are in close proximity, they feel threatened end disrespected. My smile has caused me problems, with some people perceiving me as an idiot simply because of this way of being.

This is an example of what is known as “unaware racism” or “cultural racism” as I prefer to call it (it’s unaware because become part of the culture), It is the kind of racism that is not always overt but is still harmful and hurtful to people of color.

But what can we do about it? For starters, it is important for all of us to reflect on our own biases and prejudices. We may not even be aware that we have them, but they can manifest in subtle ways. By taking the time to reflect on our own biases, we can start to recognize when we are making assumptions based on someone’s race, and take steps to change our behavior.

We also need to be willing to have difficult conversations about differences and racism. This is not always easy and surely is uncomfortable to confront our own biases and prejudices. But it is necessary if we want to make real progress towards equality.

And let’s not forget the role that history plays in all of this. The wealth and prosperity of Europe were built on the backs of slaves and through the exploitation of people and nature. This legacy of inequality and injustice is still felt today, and it is up to all of us to work toward a more just and equitable society that recognizes and addresses this history.

This means acknowledging the ways in which colonialism and imperialism have shaped our world, and the ongoing effects of these legacies. It means recognizing that racism is not just an individual issue, but a systemic problem that requires systemic solutions. It means supporting policies and initiatives that aim to redress historical injustices and create greater equity for marginalized communities.

One such initiative is reparations, which have been proposed as a way to address the historical injustices inflicted on Black people and other people of color. Reparations can take many forms, from financial compensation to investments in education, healthcare, and community development. While there is still much debate about the specifics of how reparations should be implemented, there is growing recognition that they are necessary to address the ongoing impact of systemic racism.

Another important step is to center the voices and experiences of people of color in all aspects of society. This means supporting diverse representation in media, politics, and other spheres of influence, and actively listening to the perspectives and concerns of marginalized communities. It means recognizing the expertise and leadership of people of color in addressing issues of racism and social justice.

It’s important to recognize that it’s not enough to simply be “not racist”. We must actively work towards being anti-racist and dismantling systems of oppression.

Ultimately, creating a more just and equitable society requires sustained effort and commitment from all of us. It means being willing to confront our own biases and prejudices and to take action to address the systems and structures that perpetuate inequality. It means working towards a vision of a society in which all people are valued, respected, and able to thrive.

  • Mid

    Could you use mobile friendly typeface and font size. It’s difficult to read on my device. Thanks

    1. Ricardo

      Please look and let me know if it works better for you now. Thanks for helping!

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