I got this in my email today; It travelled all the way from Lenore Lawrence in the Pacific Northwest to Gayle Hoover Thorne in California, to a friend of mine, Phil Christensen, from South Africa...
The original source of the information can be found here...
Anyway, I found the email to be very apt, given certain erm, events, and I wanted to share it here...
"10 simple ideas to
1) Don't laugh at racist, sexist, ageist,
homophobic and other stereotypical jokes or assumptions. By laughing, you're
acknowledging the joke is appropriate and encouraging more inappropriate
comments. You can interrupt without being rude. Don't let your silence speak for
you. Simply say, "I don't find that funny," or "I don't appreciate jokes like
2) Make an effort to get to know people
different than you. Look for things in common with other people and celebrate
the differences. We can learn from and
appreciate something about everyone.
3) Learn about other people and their
culture. By learning about other people, your life will be greatly enriched and
your appreciation for your own culture will deepen.
4) Think before you speak. Words can hurt,
whether you mean them to or not. When describing a person, think if mentioning
their race is important to the story. Do you refer to everyone from South or
Central America as Mexican? If you don't know someone's country of origin, don't
assume. Some people prefer Black, while others like African American. Some
prefer Latino/a, others like Hispanic. If you're unsure which to use, ask. It's
important to use the correct language.
5) Be a role model. Be vocal in opposing
discriminatory views and practices, especially with friends and family who
respect your opinion. Don't criticize, but help educate others about issues and
about your own experiences.
6) Don't make assumptions. Do you assume
that African Americans like rap music or that Asians are good at math?
Stereotypes hurt everyone. Examine what your prejudices are and make adjustments
to look at everyone asan individual.
7) Explore the unfamiliar. Attend an
organization meeting, religious service or travel to a new region where you are
in the minority. Forexample, if you are Christian attend a Jewish service at a
synagogue. If you attend an all white suburban school visit an inner-city
multi-cultural school. This first-hand experience can be enlightening and give
8) Work on projects with members of groups
different from your own. Working as an equal alongside others from different
groups on a common project is one of the best ways to undo prejudice and
increase familiarity with others.
9) Be a proactive parent. Expose your
children to diversity at a young age. Read stories that explain the point of
view of other groups. Discuss TVshows, movies or books that present stereotypes.
Children can benefit from knowing other children from different groups at very
early ages, before prejudices and biases are formed.
10) Support anti-prejudice and anti-racist
organizations. Whether your efforts are in volunteering, financial donation or
being an advocate, working with other groups toward the same goal can be
beneficial to you and the community. You'll meet great people and find real
support for your efforts. By getting involved, your voice can make a big
difference at the local level."
I agree with the statements, although I do concede that it is not easy to eliminate racism, or any other form of bigotry for that matter...
I guess the most important thing is that people want these changes to be a part of their life...That people actually want racism, sexism, chauvinism and all the forms of bigotry to be a thing of the past...We cannot effect change if people do not want change; we cannot effect change if we all do not will it to happen...
Because ultimately, it is everyone playing a role which will bring about change in our society. While it is true that all it takes is one person to effect change by standing up for what he/she believes in, I believe that it takes the whole of society to sustain that change...
And that, is going to take some time to achieve...