How Privileged Minority Groups Can Tackle Racism
I was called “Ching chong” on my way to Tescos by a group of teenagers last week. I’ve been called a Paki a few times too and I’m Chinese. Racial abuse happens so often that it has become background noise.
In light of the recent news of the murder of George Floyd, it stirred up so many painful feelings that I never knew I had: anger, resent, frustration, helplessness, sadness, vengeance. Revenge is a desire for justice.
I cried. I was upset not just because he was killed — but because I knew inside that both the policemen and Floyd are just puppets of a system that is impossible to escape because we are all apart of it.
What does that say for the rest of the country?
It’s easy to point fingers. We have history backing us up to propel our hate and injustice forward. It is a fact that there is no escaping from your own circumstances. Your surroundings have already defined who you are before you’re even born and that’s the issue; we all become locked in a perpetuating ecosystem that is fuelled by the terrors of the past.
The rest of us stay in our comfortable bubbles only re-uniting when something of this hateful calibre occurs.
What happens in our daily lives after this blows over until next time?
Today, I came across an article that focuses on the troubles with capitalism which divides up socioeconomic class. It spoke about how this division contributes to the bitterness, anger and hatred from the victims of inequality which has led to the current rise of riots and rebellions.
Everyone knows racism exists, everyone knows white privilege exists but did you know being part of a privileged minority group you have your own privileges too?
It doesn’t matter what background you have or what race or social class you’re from. You have your voice, you are you and that is powerful in itself. #blacklivesmatter proved this.
We don’t need to partake in a world where we don’t belong
“White privilege is an institutional set of benefits granted to those of you who, by race, resemble the people who dominate powerful positions. One of the main privileges is that of having greater access to power and resources than people of colour do not.” — Understanding White Privilege by Francis E. Kendall, Ph.D
The fact is, we will never have equal access to the same opportunities because of this infrastructure. No matter how integrated we are into a western society we will never be treated the same. Even if we do battle for a spot at the round tables; our needs are different, our communication styles are different, we view the world differently and hold different values.
Why waste energy fighting for opportunities that you will never feel fulfilled from because they were never made for you?
No screaming, shouting, fighting or rioting will ever change the fact we are different in our own right which should also become the reasons we are respected.
Every single one of us holds those bias views, for our own cultures and for others. I often crack self-deprecating and Chinese jokes. These views develop from an early age and trickle down through generations passing from parent to child to friends. They slowly they become our own; boxing ourselves and others into stereotypes with no means of escape.
They are unconscious which is different from our conscious views therefore they are hard to correct especially if you are not interacting with people who are not like you. We all commit this crime – no one is excluded. This system is beyond rules and legislations, it is beyond the people, it is beyond the government to control.
“No one becomes “not racist,” — Ibram X. Kendi
We are our own person
Instead of trying to be treated equally, we should be focusing on being treated as individuals. Being treated as our own person by sharing aspects of our cultures, our interests and viewpoints to the world so others can understand and connect beyond who we are on the surface. You try your best, speak up and if people choose not to accept this then that’s their loss.
Diversity is a gift given to our world.
How To Help?
First, we must have a level of understanding about each other. Learning about other cultures helps us understand different perspectives within the world in which we live. It helps counters negative stereotypes and personal biases about different groups.
We can do so by learning more about our own culture. This is something that I have never done and I am also trying to do more of. I realised the more you know the more you understand how the past and cultural differences can contribute to the way you are now and the more you can share. You can use this to understand yourself, those around you and then leverage your superpowers.
If you live your life in alignment with your true self, you are able to forgive others and accept that you are indeed different. Then you are able to understand that everyone has something to share because you know you have a lot to share too. But it all starts with understanding yourself first.
Your culture is only a small part of who you are. The difference between western society and others is that the American dream favours individuality. Most of us haven’t had this luxury of creating our own identities yet because of delayed economic wealth and a history of political repression still lingering in the shadows.
Use Your Position Of Power
This is why if you are a minority and you have ever gotten into a position of power, then use it to represent your culture, use your power for the greater good, by expressing your personal viewpoints, sharing your own values and create a place of inclusivity. Stand your ground and be strong, be brave about who you are and what you stand for. We all have a right to say what we believe in even if it’s different from the majority.
If you are creating your own world then create one of openness and everything you wish for this world to have. The world needs more unique minds. The world needs more of you.
This is why we are building our own path. We are building a world where our voices are heard and is unwavered by others. One where we can live in harmony with people who are different from each other. There is and always will be room for everyone.
This is what pushes us to keep going and creating a space to use our vulnerability and openness as our superpower. A place where we can connect to each other through experience and authenticity. A place where we can encourage others to do the same; to take charge and be courageous about speaking up to promote true diversity of minds.