Racism infects our lives, whether we know it or not. It can appear in our words, social media posts or hiring practices. And that’s why it’s crucial to create a culture in which racism is not tolerated. Here are some ways to promote an anti-racist culture:
Be Vigilant About Racially Insensitive Language And Actions
Be aware of your own words, actions and attitudes. If you are not a person of color, there are some things to keep in mind to promote anti racist language:
- Avoid using racist language or making racist jokes.
- Avoid making assumptions about people based on stereotypes or their race. This includes assumptions about intelligence, ability or criminality. Don’t make any assumptions, even if they seem harmless! It can hurt how others perceive them and each other.
Intuit experts say, “Content should never hurt someone. Even if it’s not intentional, it’s critical that we’re aware of the impact our words may have on others and can actively learn from our mistakes and use anti racist language moving forward.”
Know Your Intent, Audience And Impact
It is important to think about your intent, audience and impact.
First, you should know what you want to say. Then you should know your audience and how they receive the message. Finally, it’s essential to consider how the larger audience will receive the message.
Find Ways To Integrate Anti-racism Education Into Your Work
One of the best ways to promote anti-racist culture is by educating yourself and others about racism. To do this, you can:
- Teach your children about race, privilege and racism. This means explaining how society privileges certain groups over others based on their skin color or ethnicity. It also means teaching them the difference between being racist and being called a racist (it’s not the same thing).
- Teach your children about privilege. Make sure they understand that most people in Canada live with some privilege–whether it be white skin, male gender identity or other factors–and how these privileges can make life easier than if you didn’t have them.
They must understand that while they may experience discrimination because of their own identity, this doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from other forms of oppression too.
Notice Who Is Not In The Room
This may seem obvious, but it’s an important step to take when promoting anti-racist culture. For example, if you’re leading a meeting with a group of people and notice that only white folks are present, ask yourself why that happened.
Was there a reason certain people couldn’t attend? Or were they simply not invited by someone more likely to be white? If this is the case, consider whether or not promoting an anti-racist environment needs to start with diversifying your team.
Be Willing To Have Difficult Conversations With Yourself, Friends And Colleagues
- Be prepared to be wrong, uncomfortable and called out by people you respect and don’t respect.
- Be prepared to learn new things about yourself and others around you through these conversations (which are not always easy).
Promoting an anti-racist culture is seldom easy. It requires a lot of hard work, but it’s also worth it. And it may be the most critical work you can do as a social justice advocate. So by putting your thinking into action, you make a difference in your community, workplace and beyond—and help others do the same.