“Racism starts with the belief that people can be divided into groups called races,” states Anne Marie Aikins in Racism : Deal with it before it gets under your skin. "Racism is the idea that some races are superior to others and should have more power than others. It is a form of prejudice, or pre-judging a person based on the group they belong to.”
Many people throughout history have faced discrimination. Fortunately, due to civil rights movements in the past century, a lot of things have improved and yet that doesn’t mean that racism still doesn’t exist. You may find that you or your friends may still encounter racist remarks at school, at work, or elsewhere. Some people might tell inappropriate jokes, or call names, or might not even be aware that they are making racist comments or singling someone out based on what makes them different. This can hurt a lot, but there are ways you can deal with it.
Racism – How to stop it
There are many ways to help stop racism, including educating yourself. It is important to be a good example to others and treat everyone with respect, but also to examine your own attitudes and behavior towards people who are different from you. That includes questioning images you see in the media. Even today, movies and TV shows can stereotype people and promote negative assumptions about others.
Speaking up against racism is important, as keeping silent can say that racism is OK. Don’t copy the discrimination, get help instead: a teacher, supervisor, neighbor or older friend might be able to help you out. And getting involved in a cause can help create positive change, like being involved in a culture club.
There are many ideas online (here are a few):
The Alberta Human Rights Commission has a website
Amnesty International’s website has a youth section dedicated to human rights
The Media Awareness Network has an online website dealing with media issues and specifically a section on negative stereotyping in the media:
Did you know: March 21 is the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination. The Government of Canada has a campaign called “Racism – Stop It” – which includes a national video competition. You can check out the entries here.