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I’m not Laughing
I live in a foster home with several other teens. We are all different ages and nationalities. The one thing which gets under my skin is when we are just hanging out talking, how the racial slurs jokingly sneak into conversations and no one seems to see anything wrong with it. It is almost like the person from that race who’s in the room pretends they never heard it or they don’t care, but the look of sadness or anger on their face says different as everyone laughs at the joke. I’ve seen this and didn’t know what to say or do. I wish I had a cure to stop racism but for now, I would settle for a way to make people see joking or straight out to your face making racial slurs is still a form of racism!
~ I'm not Laughing
Dear I'm not Laughing
It takes a lot of courage to challenge racism and you writing about your experience is a huge step in the right direction. Good for you for seeing those racial slurs are wrong, and how insensitive other people can be. Sometimes when you are a part of an oppressed community, it’s hard to speak up for yourself. My suggestion for you, now that you’re consciously aware of racism and how it makes people feel, is to try to support your friend by privately acknowledging yours and your friend’s feeling about the situations that happened and talk about neither one of you speaking up. This process can help to support your friend or housemate and can lead to the both of you strategizing on how to positively respond to this situation when it occurs again.
Unfortunately, as you are aware, there is no immediate cure for racism at this time. Racism is still a huge problem in our society, it just looks different today. However, when we acknowledge, we can work together and educate each other on how insensitive and hurtful racial jokes and slurs can be. In helping other to be aware of this, in turn, raises the awareness which can help reduce racism, one person at a time.
Using these acronyms, in the form of tips can help you and help others to see joking or straight out to your face making racial slurs is still a form of racism.
R – Realized you have rights! We all have a right to be respected regardless of our ethnicity. If we do not respect ourselves, we cannot demand that others respect us.
A – Acknowledge your emotions! When you witness or if you are a victim of racism (for example – racial jokes or name calling) acknowledge how this experience of racism made you feel.
C – Challenge racial thoughts. Stay strong to who you are. In order to challenges racial experiences, you have to educate yourself about racism and how acts of racism make you and others who may be victims of racism feel. As you become more aware of racism, find ways to speak to those who may make a racist comment or say a racist joke that they are being racist. This will take a lot of courage. Do not be ashamed if there are times when you feel uncomfortable and do not approach the individual or individuals.
I – Identify how it makes you feel! It is important that you take the time to process your emotions. If you are not in control of your emotions it is better not to challenge. Take some time so you can respond calmly to the racist incident or confront the racist individual.
S – Share your knowledge! Once you have developed an understanding of how racism functions in our society, use your knowledge to help others. Share how racism makes you and others feel. Share solutions to stop racist behaviours. Also, share your resources and your willingness to help others become aware of how racisms works and it hurts others.
M – Mobilize others to help erase racism! Finally, use your positive energy to mobilize others. With your and their awareness (working together and reaching out to others) you can help to erase racism, one person at a time. Remember to stay true to your beliefs and do not compromise your values.