I want to continue the conversation on race and racism (see my last post). This time, I am interested in your take on speaking up against racism when you’ve experienced it or when you’ve witnessed it. When you experience it, it kind of takes you by surprise. No matter how much you prepare for it, you’re just never ready for it. I talk about this because I have experienced bigotry and racism and know how hard it is to react in a productive way. I know the drill but the words just don’t seem to come out. You kind of freeze in the moment and you feel vulnerable. It does take practice but until you’re in that moment, you’ll never know if you can truly confront the situation in the best way you can. I think the best advice I’ve been given is to put it back on the agitator such as, “when you said (this), it makes you sound like a racist. “Now that’ll stop them in their tracks,” well, at least you hope it will. Until then, keep practicing!
Now what about when you’re a witness to racism or bigotry? Have you spoken up or do you just ignore it because it is not directed at you? I’m a strong believer in speaking up; standing up to bullies and oppressors and yes, even taking the time to understand people that use racist language. I also believe that doing nothing puts people up there with the bigots and racists.
I’ve been watching ABC’s What Would You Do segments with John Quiñones, particularly Confronting Racism. Have you seen these videos? Quiñones and crew stage scenarios to see how people react to racism everyday. I was amazed how people reacted and saddened by those that did nothing or actually condoned the behavior. In some situations only one out of three people actually stood up against racist behavior. Only one out of three! Those that did speak up, you could tell, they weren’t having it. Good for them!
See the videos yourself and tell me what you think?
AP Photo/ABC, Lou Rocco
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