What is racism?
Racism can be defined as the belief that physical differences in human characteristics or ability, cultural differences makes a particular race superior to others. It can also be described as discrimination or prejudice based on race. Discrimination can also be based on religious beliefs, background, culture, location and many other things. Everyone has the right to feel comfortable about who they are, and not be judged according to what they look like.
What are some of the signs of racism?
- Discriminatory practices by one person or a group of persons targeting members of specific groups of the population. This can be shown in cases where there is exclusive treatment given to members of one group.
- Hate speech, based on racist beliefs, tend to create a culture of victimization or to make someone feel like less than a human or are less than equal.
- Physical attacks on members of a particular group by persons of a different group.
- Attacks in the media, written and electronic (on the internet, via text messages etc) about specific racial groups.
- Name calling, the use of slurs or derogatory terms to refer to someone.
What causes racism?
- Ideas and beliefs about other groups or people that a person is taught from childhood which eventually a person believes to be true.
- Ignorance of another group or culture that leads to inaccurate assumptions and ideas about members of that group.
- The fear that comes from being around anyone who is different from who you are.
- The influence of friends who are racist and encourage racist behavior.
What Can I Do to Stop Racism?
As a child or young person you can do your part to stop racism. Here’s how you can make a difference:
- Learn the history of your country and the different groups that make up your country, this would help you to understand that every group has made significant contributions to your country and its development. Trinidad is a culturally diverse nation; take the time to appreciate this.
- Going to the library and reading different articles on websites and books which you can learn about racism and about the contributions to the Trinidadian society made by different racial and ethnic groups. For example clothing, food, dance & music are different contributions made by each group.
- Visit a church, temple or mosque that has many members of different races. Understand how much in common you have with those who are of a different racial background.
- Forgive those of other races or tribes who have hurt you or have hurt people of your race or tribe. Remember that racism starts with you.
- Be willing to share, remember that we must all share and that everything in your country belongs to every citizen and no one group.
- Share stories of discrimination and racism with others, so you can help people understand the real cost of hate.