Passive Activism Not Enough To Combat Individual’s Biases

Ella Villar and Isabella Mahar

There is a difference between saying “I am not racist” and being actively anti racist. 

To singularly think of racism as what happened to George Floyd, or the events of slavery, or the actions of the KKK is simply believing in partial truths, as racism is much more than that. It’s easy to say that you don’t behave like those police officers, or you would never be a part of the KKK, but that is not enough.

We need to recognize the subtleties of racism and the more nuanced definition of being racist. There are small instances of being racist even when you might not feel like you are: whether you allow offensive comments to go unnoticed, laugh at an insensitive joke in a movie or TV show, or cross the street when you see a person of color walking towards you on the sidewalk. Allowing ourselves to recognize these moments will only benefit ourselves and help society as a whole become more anti racist. 

It takes action. We cannot allow ourselves to be bystanders and just claim to be something that in reality, we are not. Action may seem scary or intimidating, but it is necessary for us to step forward and change the world we are living in.

Recently, “action” has been interpreted as going to marches or posting a black square on your Instagram feed, but we need to go even farther. Diversify your bookshelf, follow more educational social media accounts, support black-owned businesses, or dine from black-owned restaurants.

Acknowledging your own bias is a pivotal step, yet extremely hard considering no one wants to admit to themselves that they have it.

We are all experiencing a type of awakening where we find ourselves trying to become better individuals; and in that awakening, we can all agree that something needs to change.

There needs to be a mental change to be able to change the system which allows for BIPOC people to be pushed down and aside for white peers based on stereotypes and prejudice.

Education is by far the most important thing to do if we want to create lasting change. That means educating yourself on racism and the systems that were built to put white people at a clear advantage. It means acknowledging that when you walk into a room people will look to you as a leader rather than someone who is BIPOC, and they will listen and not interrupt as much. 

Read the news and listen to activists to learn the story from their lens because it’s a lot different than one for white people.

Acknowledging your own bias is a pivotal step, yet extremely hard considering no one wants to admit to themselves that they have it. A momentary thought can seem like nothing but that is where the snowball starts. When that happens, take it in and tear it apart and reflect. Ask yourself why it crossed your mind and digest it.

Take that knowledge and use it. Teach family and friends because people are a lot more willing if they hear it from someone they know and trust.

Lasting change is not something that happens overnight because it involves dismantling societal ideals that have been seen as standard for centuries. It is up to you to take the first step and start living an anti-racist life.