Participate, Advocate and Educate

Participate

Prejudice is not the problem. It is in the thin space between bias and action where the trouble lies. Racism sprouts from that place where people fail to recognize their inherent prejudices as...well...prejudices and instead act on them as if they were truth. Here is the place where we as a society need to do our work. Unfortunately, we get tangled up in colorblindness and post-racialism. We make bias a moral issue and not a human failing. We don't see race. We don't see our own race bias either. And so, we do not see racism. And the work of equality goes undone.
Mind you, I am not saying racism is unavoidable or excusable. I simply mean that whether by nature or nurture, human beings are predisposed to make certain judgments and to favor what looks and feels familiar.
Tami Winfrey Harris

Advocate

Recognize the different types of discrimination. It is important to be knowledgeable of the different types of discrimination so that you are aware of how to appropriately address it, how best to handle the impact of it, and who to report it to. Some different types of discrimination include:
  • Direct discrimination: When a person is treated unfairly because of a specific characteristic, such as age, race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Indirect discrimination: When laws and policies put a person in a disadvantaged position.
  • Harassment: Any unwanted, offensive, humiliating and intimidating act directed at you because of one of your unique characteristics. Harassment can be in the form of gestures, spoken and unspoken words, images, or jokes.
  • Sexual harassment: This is the same as regular harassment, but sexual in nature.
  • Victimization: Unfavorable treatment as a response to a person’s claim of discrimination.
Report at school. Schools and universities often have policies against discrimination and bullying. If something happens on your school or university campus and you’re sure that it was of a discriminatory nature, report it. If you’re in primary or secondary school, report the discrimination to a higher authority, such as a dean, principal, or disciplinary office. Educational programs and activities that receive federal funding prohibit discrimination.[9]
  • For example, discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age are prohibited. You can report it at http://www.ed.gov/ocr/complaintprocess.html
  • Write down every detail of the discriminatory event immediately after it happens. That way, you won’t forget any words or actions that were used against you.
Handle discrimination at work. Laws within many countries prohibit discrimination in the workplace. For example, in the USA, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the laws and regulations.[10] If you experience discrimination, report it to your manager, human resources department, or the regulating governmental authority.
  • Examples of discrimination in the workplace that are prohibited include age, disability, pregnancy, race/color, religion, sex, and national origin.

Make a police report. If you want to take legal action, your first step is to file a police report. When submitting a report, make sure it is in writing and not just talked about or discussed. Go to your local police department to file the report. Discuss as much as you can about the incident: when it happened, who perpetrated, what was said or done, and how it was handled. Be clear in expressing what was wrong and how it affected you.[12]

  • Have a clear case and if possible, prove the discrimination. If there’s any doubt, people may question your allegations, which can make any formal proceedings more difficult.
Speak up for yourself and others. If you feel like you’re being discriminated against, speak up. If you know someone else is experiencing discrimination or suspect it is happening around you, say something. Let people know that you care and want to help them, and resolve to be a positive force in your community against discrimination.
  • Let people know that you will stand up for them if they’re experiencing discrimination.

Join an advocacy group. Advocacy groups exist to help raise awareness, safeguard rights, express concerns and find solutions.[14] You can propose changes in policy, ask for increased inclusion, and take steps to make all people involved feel comfortable. Find an advocacy group that will help you make a difference. For example, join a women’s center, LGBT safe space, or diversity group and advocate for what’s needed. It can be helpful to meet with other like-minded people who also want to make a difference.

  • Find ways to make a difference in the workplace, school or university, community, or local government. Do an internet search to find an advocacy group near you or join a national group.

Educate

The United States Civil War was fought over one hundred years ago. The North took the victory and everyone became equal. Or did they? The physical struggle may be over, but the battle of equality rages on within the hearts of many. So, we have stopped fighting with guns and knives. Now we tear each other apart with our tongue, attitudes and our lack of knowledge for different ethnic backgrounds. It is not just a black/white issue anymore. America has become a place where it is every man for himself.

Race, for the most part, does not seem to be such a huge concern. People seem to be overcoming the idea that one nationality is better than another. Most likely, it has been the educational opportunities that are being offered to everyone that is bringing about this new revelation. As education and the ability to gain knowledge increases, we see that anyone can be successful as long as he has the desire. It's not a matter of color, really, but it is a matter of will power, determination and a little talent.

A large discrimination problem, in my opinion, lies in the lack of respect for anyone of different views. Nobody seems to really want to listen to anyone else's opinion unless it mirrors his or her own. Maybe it is because it is a lot easier to shut off those ideas that seem contrary to what we think as opposed to listening to another's argument and comparing the two to see which view might really be more practical.

Throughout history prejudice has been present in society. The French hated the English, the English hated the Muslims, the Muslims hated the Jewish, and so on. It is a sad fact that this unpleasant social characteristic has survived so many years. New ideas are on the rise though. The beginning of the millennium marks a social change in the way people view each other. Prejudice, whether racial, sex related, or otherwise is on a downward slope.

The unfortunate truth is there will always be prejudice. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eradicate it, but the Y generation has made one of the most important steps. As the country becomes more liberal, it becomes easier for a child to accept ideas other than those offered by his or her parent. This is very important. As more children learn not to discriminate, they will teach their children, who will teach their children, who will teach their children, which causes an exponential growth of understanding and tolerance.