Racism means attitudes, practices and other
factors that disadvantage people because of their
race, color or ethnicity. Racism can be directed
against any race, color or ethnicity.
Some examples of racism are obvious,
such as graffiti, intimidation or physical violence.
Racial and ethnic slurs and "jokes"
are other examples. Unfortunately, they are often
ignored because people do not know how to deal
Other forms of racism are not obvious,
such as discrimination in hiring and apartment
rentals, or policies that disadvantage members
of certain races, whether intentionally or not.
Racism exists at three main levels:
individual, institutional and cultural.
Individual racism takes the
form of individual attitudes, beliefs, values
and behaviors. Racial prejudice, bigotry, belittling
and jealousy are examples of racist attitudes.
Examples of racist beliefs are racial stereotypes,
the belief that some races are better than others
and even the belief that people can be classified
according to race in the first place. Violence,
name-calling and discrimination in hiring are
examples of racist behavior.
Institutional or systemic racism
takes the form of the practices, customs, rules
and standards of organizations, including governments
that unnecessarily disadvantage people because
of their race, color or ethnicity. They do not
always involve differences in treatment. Educational
requirements that are not related to actual job
duties are an example.
Cultural racism involves
the cultural values and standards that disadvantage
people because of their race, color or ethnicity.
Examples are cultural expectations as to the race
of a company president and the cultural standard
for what a beautiful, trustworthy or competent
person looks like.
What is meant by prejudice, stereotype
Prejudice literally means
"prejudgment." A prejudice is a preconceived
negative opinion or attitude about a group of
Stereotype means "set image."
The word comes from the process of making metal
plates for printing. When applied to people, stereotyping
refers to forming an instant or fixed picture
of a group of people, usually based on false or
incomplete information. Stereotypes ignore the
fact that no two human beings are identical. Stereotypes
are often negative.
Discrimination is anything that has the
effect, intentional or not, of limiting the opportunities
of certain individuals or groups because of personal
characteristics such as race or color. Unlike
prejudice, discrimination is an effect or result,
not an attitude. Discrimination sometimes results
from prejudice or stereotypes.
However, it also comes from the
failure (intentional or not) to avoid practices
that disadvantage certain groups more than others
when the disadvantage could be eliminated without
causing undue hardship
What can I do to stop racism?
First of all, speak out against
racism. Otherwise, your silence may be interpreted
as tacit approval of discrimination. You have
the right, as well as the responsibility, to speak
In addition, you can stop racism
in the following ways:
In the community:
- Take part in activities marking the International
Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
every March 21.
- Join organizations dealing with issues of racism
and human rights.
- Suggest that your local newspaper publish a
special section on the racial and cultural diversity
of your community.
- Create a speakers’ bureau of persons willing
to speak about racism and human rights.
- Explore ways in which community organizations
can work together to promote positive race relations.
- Suggest that your community develop a policy
statement against all forms of racial discrimination.
- Object to racist jokes and insults.
- Organize an inter-cultural music or film festival.
- Invite guests to speak on racism and human rights.
-Organize a poster or essay contest.
- Show films on prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination
- Examine the contents of television, film, radio
and newspapers for stereotypes. Identify and discuss
- Find out about human rights organizations in
your area and what role they play.
- Suggest that your class or school develop a
policy statement against all forms of racial discrimination.
In the workplace:
- Object to racist jokes and insults.
- Encourage dialogue on racism and human rights.
- Organize a lunchtime film series.
- Encourage human rights awareness at union meetings
through guest speakers, films or other presentations.
- Examine hiring practices to ensure equality
of opportunity for all.
- Develop clear policy statements against all
forms of racial discrimination and define ways
to make them work through cooperation and consensus.
For full text of this article,
please visit the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission
website @: http://www.gnb.ca/hrc-cdp/e/sayno.htm#stop