Racism can be seen in many different forms and there are many different ways to deal with it. At school, there are resources which can be used to help children understand that racism is not ok. Videos, books, websites, games and activities have been created with the goal of reducing and eliminating racial prejudice.
As parents we can all model non-racist behaviour and make sure any racist comments on television, on-line or in reading materials are dealt with. For example, if your child is watching a YouTube video and someone makes a racist comment, be sure you deal with it. Have your child stop the video and discuss the implications of what was just said. Talk about why this comment was unacceptable. Talk about how even though racism exists, it is important to make a stand against it. Speak up if necessary. Do something. Do not let racist comments go by without addressing them.
If you are a teacher, and someone makes a racist comment, stop the class and talk about what just happened. In England, a student was responsible for bullying a black girl. As a result of the situation, the school decided to produce a play to point out that racism is unacceptable. The 10-year old boy who was responsible for the taunting talked openly about what he had done after the play had been produced. He said, “I don’t know why I started being racist, really. Sometimes people get on my nerves and I get a lot of anger in me and it’s hard to keep it in. We’ve learned that you pay the consequences for being racist, and you shouldn’t be racist because it hurts people’s feeling inside and outside. It’s only skin colour – that’s all. If I saw people being racist, I would say stop it because I know what it’s like now.” (Source: British television program, “Newsround”, BBC TV)
Nelson Mandela worked for years to reduce racism. Back in 1994 as part of his presidential inauguration speech, he said, “We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.”
Lets continue to work together to eliminate racism.
Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate, author and speaker