Ok I’m not going to bore you on what racism is because the hard truth is that we all know what racism is, yet thousands of individuals experience it everyday knowing how racism damaged our past, how it prosecuted people, how it shattered nations. We use the word racism as just an everyday term now. I’m in high school, and I see how people throw the word in a playful way, not realizing how much hurt and discomfort it carries. Racism is largely a learned behavior.

Tolerating racism links to a range of circumstances and forms. There are many different things people do that hurt other people without even realizing. I will be discussing different aspects that relate to the tolerance of racism.

Talking about matters regarding racism is not a bad thing, it is rather a way to communicate and share our thoughts. But conversing about it does not mean, “playing around”. Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya, an independent journalist, stated that many white South Africans he has encountered tend to think that discussing racism is either an accusation that they are racist or trying to rekindle dying fires of hate. That is the thing. Not talking about it or turning a blind eye to it causes individuals to make racial comments, assumptions, un-factual conclusions and so on. In addition, these individuals make potentially career-limiting comments about a specific racial group. I believe that the reason people do not speak against racism is because we rather write “those people” and not utter the offensive word in full. Talking about high levels of crime; mismanagement; corruption, and inefficient use of resources is crucial, but so is the discussion of racism.

Speaking of discussion, every second, of every minute of every hour, of everyday, of every year or every decade. Where am I going with this? Well that’s all there is, at this point in time. Some of our brothers and sisters experience discrimination on a regular basis. In the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, an Asian student was spat on and a black student received a note with obscenities and racial slurs, slipped under her door. A black woman selects her clothes so that she does not look threatening to white people. A Chinese person is routinely mistaken for other Chinese people because they “All look alike”.  A Mexican woman is told jokes about Mexican people, and when she points it out, she is accused of not taking a joke. These are just some of the examples listed from the website. Yet there is no change because it would “ruffle too many feathers”. There are victims of racial abuse everyday, everywhere to basically anyone. But we’d rather play it safe and “brush it off the shoulder” because is causes too much “paper work”. I think that is what this world needs in order to grow more beautiful feathers. Just avoiding it will leave a void.

In 2008, researchers studied the effects of discrimination on blood pressure of Blacks and Latinos. Under normal conditions, blood pressure drops or dips while we sleep during night, this group in particular did not experience the dip in blood pressure and this was linked to effects of racism. High blood pressure is strongly linked to the increase in mortality because health effects thereof harden the arteries, increasing the risk of clots forming in the heart or brain.

We are literally sick of racism! Many studies were conducted that proved that there is a link between discrimination, and our physical and mental wellbeing. We should not be demolishing fellow human beings, but demolishing racism and discrimination.  Research done in America also found that another effect of racism is increasing rates of black homeschooled children. Some of the causes of homeschooling found in research were Eurocentric curriculum and teachers’ attitudes; racial stereotyping, and harsh school punishments. Homeschooling takes away from children social skills, which plays an important role in the workplace. This decreases job opportunities and leaves individuals with low-class employment. I also think that both the antagonist and victim suffer in the end. Firstly, the victim will allow unresolved feelings, anger and false accusations toward the specific racial group without any facts. Secondly, the antagonist would prevent new relationships with a specific race. If both parties do not share stories and emotions; then it is basically back to square one, when ‘yin and yang’ were forbidden. Leaving us not to live up to Nelson Mandela’s values.

Talking about Nelson Mandela, why are we so ’used’ to racism that we started to watch? The reason for Nelson Mandela’s constant fighting, sacrificing, blood, sweat and tears was because he did not tolerate racism and discrimination. He fought so that racism would not be part of our daily struggle. As I mentioned earlier, there is racism on a daily basis and so we are surrounded by it. My pastor said that whatever you are surrounded by, you get used to it and later tolerate it. This is why most individuals simply witness it and move on, because you know “monkey see, monkey do”. These types of people do not see a disadvantage for themselves, or do not see a negative effect towards them.

So why should they care. “One reason racism persist is that many people imagine they would respond strongly to a racist act but actually respond with indifference”. This means that when individual’s witnesses acts of racism, they claim that they are ‘disgusted by it’ or ‘hate people like that’. But when the incident happens to them, they react the same way as the person they supposedly ‘disgusted’ with. This, again, links to what we are surrounded by. If we do not make racist comments but help through our actions, then as a result these actions will be reflected to the people watching.

So, to the eyes watching, and the ears listening, don’t you think it is time for a change around here? I think we are a society that fights in certain aspects and do not in others. We should equally fight against all things unfair and unjust. The aspects discussed can easily be altered so that racism is a thing of the past and not the thing of the future. If technology, which needs the smartest of people, can move fast then why can’t all beings of different intelligence and colour make equality rise up? Together, we can make a blend of change.

Lastly I would like to conclude with the words of our former president of the republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, when he said :-

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite.”

 

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ABOUT FOUNDATION

In pursuing its core objective of deepening non-racialism, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will:

Promote the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa;

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