A Few Ways to Combat Racism in Schools

There is not one day that goes by when an issue of racism does not surface into the headlines. After the changes in this world over the last few decades the issues have not left. It is even worse when it is affecting the children of tomorrow.

Cases of bullying stems from thoughts of racism, whether it is in regards to race, color, and others. Racism is judgment on others for those thoughts on race and color. Judgment cannot be stopped but racism can be expunged from their minds.  The question is, how do we do it? More importantly, how do we do it in schools to protect our kids?

Stand up for yourself

Violence is never the answer. When we suggest the student standing up for themselves we mean to tell the other student they would appreciate it if they would stop. If they do not let up then the second step would be to seek help.

Seek help

If the student is having trouble taking care of the problem themselves they should seek out help from a teacher or another faculty member that can assist them in the situation.

Think

The student and the faculty member should think about the situation and why the comments were being made and how to stop them. Discussion can lighten the tension for the situation.

React positively

Reacting positively is the best solution, so in order to do this one suggestion would be to sit both students down and discuss the issue.

Promote acceptance

Another way to avoid issues like racism in school is to bring awareness to the school. Hold a student assembly to talk about the issue and perform conflict resolution demonstrations.

The Busy Side of the Street

We live in a world that revolves around change, whether it is progression or digression but no idea is left behind.  Racism and sexism fall into that category. Laws have been made and protests have been had in the last 60-100 years and longer, but nothing will truly get rid of the opinions of the human mind. You can change the governing rules of the population but judgment cannot be driven out of someone. It’s human nature.

If someone tells you that racism doesn’t exist or sexism isn’t real then they are sadly mistaken. They are either lacking the proper information or they are pretending it does not exist. It is important to be aware of what is going on in the world among the people that live in this world. You are only doing a disservice to yourself by not recognizing the truth that is practically slapping you in the face on the streets.

Judging someone is human instinct. It may not be a positive element to our being but it exists. There is racism in the work place, campus life, grocery stores, movie theaters, on the streets, all over the world.

Then there is sexism. Women should be in the kitchen, the bedroom, or the laundry room. Men are the bread winners of the household. I am not saying that I believe this. I actually am far from this thought process, but knowing this is a reality helps me understand others’ ways of thinking.

By being aware of the truth you can make a decision on what you believe. You can support those beliefs and know how you want to be treated and seen among society. Have a standpoint so you aren’t standing on the deserted side of the street lost and clueless.

Diversity Through the Lens

I have had an old $300 camera and trusty Nikon lens attached to my hip since I was seventeen years old. The appeal of photography comes from documenting moments in my life and showing the uniqueness that is in our world. The memories that I have of the projects that I have worked on stand out the most when I think back to the “You” project I constructed.

My goal was to show the different types of people in my life and who they are. I wanted to show the diversity in my life. I took photos of those people in their environment. My mother was seen coaching a cheerleading team, my professor was lecturing outdoors on the makeup of the plants around us, my neighbor was wearing her grandmother’s apron from Mexico while cooking a meal for her family, and my best friend was playing football with her brothers.

Every one of those people and the others I photographed were doing something different, in a different environment, with a different goal, regarding different activities, involving different cultures, and different backgrounds. There was diversity.

Diversity covers age, race, education, interests, etc. Every person is different, which shows diversity in society. It is interesting to see the change when you move from person to person. It was a wonderful experience because I was able to learn more about that person through their diversity.

With the photos I took I am giving my audience a similar experience. It may be a little more indirect but it still shows the proof of diversity. With diversity, we are able to discover new things, observe originality, and learn about the unknown.

When I show people this project that I have done they embrace it. Opening your mind to the world around you will give you the chance to discover the unique differences that you may have overlooked on a daily basis.

Going Without Makeup To Take a Stand Against Sexism

When I was in high school, I would walk through the halls and past my friends and other girls that were staring into their magnetic mirrors in their lockers slapping on their second face. It became second nature for me to do the same. First the concealer, then the foundation, then the mascara (or, more accurately, tons of mascara) a little pressed powder, curl the lashes, coat them in black clumpy goop, and gloss those lips until they stick when you talk.

That’s what most guys in my school thought of as attractive. Thinking back I questioned my idiocy. Why did I even use concealer? I didn’t have wrinkles or dark circles. And all of that mascara…was that necessary? I’m surprised my lashes didn’t fall out. This was beautiful to boys.

My senior year of high school was the year I realized how ridiculous it was. Young women to older women don’t need makeup to look attractive or please their significant other. If someone can’t accept you for the way you look, without all the junk on your face, then don’t give them the satisfaction of calling themselves your friend.

I remember looking around and seeing the lines of orange stop just below the jaw line and seeing my friends’ natural skin color continue down their necks. The girl that sat across from me in Biology class would turn to me to ask questions about our lab and I couldn’t help but notice the spiders closing and opening around her eyeballs. I was done.

The next day I woke up, showered, and washed my face. I did my hair and left the makeup buried in my makeup bag under the sink. That’s where it stayed for the remainder of the year. Women don’t need makeup to fit this idea of “beauty.” Natural is beautiful and I was done with this sexist notion that I needed to cake my face with products that were most likely being tested on animals (whether the label presents a disclaimer or not). From that moment on I have worn very little makeup if any at all.

How Camping Brings People Together

Camping is the ‘thing to do’ for anyone from teenagers to families and it gives the group a chance to bond. To expand your group for a greater experience and bring more people from different backgrounds together your best option is to go to a campground that offers activities and events on the grounds.

There are campgrounds across the United States that have outdoor swimming pools, gaming rooms, bonfires, and outdoor activities for the entire campsite. Finding one of those locations would be the best to meet new people from all over the area.

This opportunity will open you up to potential friendships or connections of any sort. The saying “the more the merrier” fits the bill for this. You get the opportunity to learn about someone else’s life and experiences. Someone may have climbed a mountain, went scuba diving in the Atlantic, owned a farm, was the best bartender in the county because of their creative pouring tricks, or they have read and memorized Shakespeare’s plays.

Inviting your neighbors from other camp lots for a bonfire and some s’mores is always the best way to get out those timely stories. Learning about others gives you the opportunity to learn about the world. Everyone has their own background story that has made them who they are. And this is just a good way to do it — packing a big backpacking tent or lending a friend your binoculars — camping creates special bonds.

You walk through your local grocery store or through the streets of the city and pass by hundreds of people every day. Not once do you stop to ask a stranger about their life. One, they will think you are strange, and two, they will probably ignore you. Going camping is the perfect environment to let go of your hesitations.

Judging a Book by Its Wheels

A yellow Camaro pulls around the corner in your neighborhood and your first thoughts are: ‘That person is loaded, they are a Transformers’ fan, what kind of job do they have, they must be stuck up, and I wonder if that car turns into a giant robot at night?’ Maybe the last one is not true but the first few are most likely potential thoughts running through your head.

People tend to look at the brand and model first. You look to see if it is a Ford, Lexus, Toyota, Honda, Acura, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Fiat, and so many more. Someone with a Lexus is rich. A Honda owner has a family. Those are examples of stereotypes and not only do people look to the brand but the size as well.

The larger cars get more attention and even the smaller more compact cars get looked at as a higher class investment. If someone owns a hybrid they are environmentally friendly or they own a sports car and they are arrogant. The color defines them and the overall maintenance is taken into account as well. Judgments go flying about but why? What if that person just liked the car and they are not well off? What if they do not have a family but they wanted or needed a van for their band equipment?

Judging people is inevitable but monitoring your judgment is possible. Admire someone’s car from afar but making assumptions about who the person is based on their ride is pointless. It’s like judging a book by its cover. You will never know if you don’t actually open it to read it. You’re not going to know the person unless you look past their car. The car doesn’t make them. They make the car.