How do we eliminate a problem that has been in our society for so long and seeped into our systems, somehow becoming the norm? Racial discrimination has become such a problem and we need to tackle this problem that seems hopeless.
Racial discrimination is something that has plagued our societies for centuries, to the point where it’s embedded in every aspect of our lives whether we’ve been subjected to it or not. This has got to change because the longer we do nothing about it the more victims we create.
I had a fairly great childhood and lived without fully understanding what Racism was or how it impacts people. However, that ended at the tender age of 12 when, for the first time in my life, I was subjected to blatant discrimination because of my race. My first thought after experiencing that was to ask myself if there was something wrong with me, to which I concluded that my skin colour makes me inferior and that resulted in lowering my self-esteem and feeling like my opinion didn’t matter as well as making me overly conscious about other people’s thoughts of me. What I went through at that point in time carried on through my teenage years and some of those scars remain even in my twenties. Whilst I know better now, I didn’t back then, and it caused me to isolate myself from my peers and prevent me from ever truly opening up to anyone.
In our society, many 16-year-olds of an ethnic background would have experienced or witnessed some form of racial discrimination – indirect or not. This isn’t something you want a young person of that age to go through as it would affect them throughout their teenage years and most likely for the rest of their life. This is why it is imperative that we all have a responsibility to condemn all forms of racial discrimination.
I think the first step in eliminating racism is getting rid of any allowances that allow people to get away with acts of racial discrimination and making ensuring professionals such as teachers and doctors are trained and educated on racial discrimination. I believe when there are stricter measures and policies that work against any sort of racial discrimination, it will serve as a preventative measure.
I believe educating young people on racial discrimination is important, however I believe it needs to be a topic approached carefully to not propagate the feeling of hopelessness. I believe young people need to be taught that their skin colour isn’t their whole identity; it is only a small part. By teaching this, we prevent them from creating a perspective in their mind that places them within a box, only limiting their potential.
I believe people now need to be taught that race is only as powerful as we make it, because, at the end of the day, we are all human. However, when we totally focus on our race we unintentionally create boxes for ourselves that end up becoming a divide; our race is a part of who we are but we shouldn’t let it become our whole and sole identity.
We live in such a society where we have laws against racial discrimination, people are constantly educated about racial discrimination and how it impacts those that fall victim to it. There are months and days dedicated to educating people about racial discrimination, yet, when we think about “Eliminating” racial discrimination, it can sometimes feel like we are fighting a losing battle. This however doesn’t mean we should collectively stop fighting.
Elimination of racial discrimination is not something one individual alone can achieve, we all need to come together to help, no matter how little you believe your actions are.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela