Anti-Racist Public Education

There are many common sense beliefs that most of our population uphold surrounding race and racism. Some of these beliefs include the idea that racism does not exist in our society today, that inequality between races is not prevalent, and that race is biologically determined. Many do not know that these are only myths about race and that these things actually do exist and are true even today.  Race is a very real thing that was socially constructed to justify the inequalities faced by minorities. The history of racism in our society has been met by many anti-racist groups that want to fight for equal rights between races. To make any kind of changes in our society regarding equality and racism we must educate the general population.

Many anti-racist educators focus on educating people about the history of racism as well as contemporary racism in our society today.  A lot of their goals are to show people how important race is and that racism is still a very real thing and if we do not do something about it then we will never make any changes. Many of these organizations and advocates do not just educate about racism, they also fight for equality for other minority groups. Education is one of the main ways to get the word out about anti-racism and it can be a very effective method to make significant changes.

In the history of anti-racism we have seen a lot of movements and organizations that pushed for the equality of everyone across racial borders. Even from the very beginning of racism with people on slave ships there was a lot of resistance to what was happening. We have seen resistance to racism several more times in our history with things such as the segregation of blacks and whites, discrimination in the workplace, and the race gap in our criminal justice system. Many of these hardships faced by people of color were dealt with by advocates for anti-racism. These advocates did their best to educate people and try to stop racism in our society. One of the main ways to educate people is to start by addressing what has happened in the history of our society.

Slavery was the start of much of the racism that we have seen in our past. The capturing of Africans and the enforcement of bringing them to the Americas was a terrible time for people of color. Treating them as minorities and dehumanizing them were only a few of the ways that Whites established their power over the slaves. After their arrival in the Americas slaves were bought and sold and treated like animals. They were forced to do manual labor and work on plantations against their will. They were given no rights and they had to do everything their masters said. Slavery was the start of racism in our society today and it perpetuated much of the inequality that we see today.[1]

The Civil Rights Movement was a major step in racist resistance organizations. Although there was definitely some resistance during the time of the slave ship and slavery in general, the Civil Rights Movement was the first time that we really saw a collective group of individuals coming together to fight for equality. The Civil Rights Movement made a lot of progress in the overall struggle for equality between the races. We saw the abolishment of segregation and more laws against the unfair treatment of people of color. Many were involved and many died for these rights. It was a scary time for people of color, but they made many improvements to our society that are still apparent today. [2]

Although historically many have fought for the equality of people of color and have been successful there was still a lot of inequality still visible after the Civil Rights Movement. There were many things that were still not illegal regarding race. There were no real laws about housing, education, and employment discrimination. Even though there was no segregation of public places that did not mean that discrimination against people of color disappeared altogether. Some of these things are still not illegal today. By having no laws in place to stop people from doing these things that just perpetuates inequality that people of color have to face even more.

There are many contemporary movements and organizations that are trying to educate people about racism. Many of these movements just want people to know that racism still exists and that as a society we should try and get rid of it. These contemporary movements are usually run by advocates for equal rights and they believe that unless people become educated about the consequences with racism then we will never make changes and be forced to live in a world where one race is believed to be superior to another. These organizations provide many resources and outreach programs for people who want to become involved in stopping racism in our society and educating others to do the same.

One of these contemporary organizations is called “Center for the Healing of Racism”. This group’s goal is to provide people with a safe environment to be themselves no matter their skin color. They want to make historical information about racism available to all people so they can educate others. They also want to try to educate Whites about the struggles that minority groups have to face so they can understand the pain and suffering these groups feel. They believe that in order for racism to disappear not only do people need to be educated, but the ones hurt need to be healed so they can properly recover from this pain. This organization also offers many programs and resources for people to get involved and help out.[3]

Another organization called “Human Rights First” also tries to educate people about racism. This one however is a little more focused on the resistance rather than the actual education. They offer resources such as how the public can participate in campaigns to fight for equal rights. Although this organization does provide some resources specifically for racism they also fight for equal rights for many different groups. They are more focused on rights for all groups of people rather than just rights for minority race groups.[4]

Another movement called “Anti-Racist Action” is looking to educate people about racism as well. They also focus not just on racism, but on educating people about other minority groups in our society. They host many conferences, concerts, and other events to promote what they do and their goal is to draw in a crowd to educate. They have also started chapters in many different areas that people can join to educate others in their own individual communities. This group provides many more hands on ways to get involved with the educating of people in our society. They do not just put the information out there, but they force people to become involved so they can keep educating.[5]

Many of the contemporary movements that are educating about anti-racism have specific strategies for doing so. Protests are one of the main ways to spread the word about racist practices still prevalent in our society today. “Anti-Racist Action” and “Human Rights First” are very focused on getting out there and doing hands on events for the public to learn about racism. Many of the organizations surrounding anti-racist practice hold protests and rallies frequently to educate the public. Another way that many movements plan to educate people is through the use of small discussion groups where people can come together and talk about their common misconceptions when it comes to race. In these groups people can also get information about the history of racism and what they can do now to support anti-racist groups.

Other goals that many of these organizations have are to not only provide education to people about the history of racism, but also to provide resources for people who feel that they have been discriminated against. The organization “Center for the Healing of Racism” wants people to come forward with their stories so they can educate others about discrimination and so that this cycle does not continue. They want to provide people with emotional support because they believe that there should be equality for all people of all different races. This can be an effective strategy because when the public gets to see that there are real people suffering from racism then they will be more willing to educate others about this.

These movements target:

-Discrimination in public places such as the workplace and housing

-Educating about the common sense

-Historical practices of racism

-Current practices of racism

I believe that the only way to make any significant changes in our society is through education. Many people only know the myths about racism and they seldom realize that racism still exists today. Many view racism as only a historical thing that happened thousands of years ago and does not affect anyone currently. The problem with this thinking is that people do not see what a huge problem historical racism has caused for people of color today. Racism in our past has perpetuated the inequalities that people of color face every single day.

Another way that education can help is to stop the cycle of racism that seems to be repeating itself. Racist practices have not ended today and I believe that unless we educate the public about this then there is no way to completely abolish these practices. Discrimination practices need to be outlawed so that every single person has a chance at equal opportunity. Without pushing education on people, people will just continue to live with their false beliefs about racism and we will never accomplish anything. I think more people need to be involved in promoting equality and every single person should be educated on the true facts about racism and racist practices. There should be more available resources for people that want to educate others and join anti-racist movements. I strongly believe that the only way to change is to be educated and without this we will continue to live in an unequal society.


[2] http://www.enotes.com/topics/civil-rights

[3] http://www.centerhealingracism.org/home0.aspx

[4] http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/our-work/fighting-discrimination/racism-and-xenophobia/

[5] http://antiracistaction.org/

References:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/2155932?seq=1&Search=yes&searchText=history&searchText=slavery&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dhistory%2Bof%2Bslavery%26acc%3Don%26wc%3Don&prevSearch=&item=5&ttl=125725&returnArticleService=showFullText&resultsServiceName=null

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3877064?&Search=yes&searchText=movement&searchText=rights&searchText=civil&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dcivil%2Brights%2Bmovement%26gw%3Djtx%26acc%3Don%26prq%3Dslavery%26Search%3DSearch%26hp%3D25%26wc%3Don&prevSearch=&item=8&ttl=141797&returnArticleService=showFullText

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1180053?&Search=yes&searchText=anti-racist&searchText=resistance&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Danti-racist%2Bresistance%26acc%3Don%26wc%3Don&prevSearch=&item=2&ttl=1267&returnArticleService=showFullText

page by Nicole Rosenberg

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