The “Big Girl’s” Guide to Survival in a Racist Community
It’s difficult to imagine that in the 21st century, with the appointment of Barack Hussein Obama as our 44th national president, there remains profound racism among us. But why not? Were we so caught up in this tremendously historic landmark that we mistook it for a dissipation of hatred? The truth of the matter is that with this progression towards leveling the playing field for all human beings, there remained a quiet undertow of resentment, hatred and fear among those who wish to not only preserve the racial divide, but widen it. The inauguration of a president of African descent posed a threat that came with a backlash of both overt and covert racism in those communities, leaving those targeted to deal with the consequences.
If you have found yourself in a community that harbors racist methods, practices and ideologies, the following are a few suggestions to help you remain undaunted in the face of opposition.
· Don’t take ownership of other people’s problems.
Racism is clearly a social cancer that impedes progress. Racist attitudes and behavior are most often cultivated and bred from generation to generation. It can be easy to meet the racist on his or her terms and attempt to return hatred for hatred. Avoid this. The racist often feeds off of your defensiveness. Don’t engage. Instead, simply acknowledge the attitude of the racist and his or her right to feel that way, and move on without giving more attention. You have nothing to prove.
· Don’t be intimidated by ill behavior.
Attempts to intimidate you can result in you withdrawing from your responsibilities as a productive member of society. Don’t allow yourself to become socially withdrawn. Continue to participate in social activities and events that interest you. Maintain who you are. Vote.
· Know your rights.
Keep abreast of local laws and your rights as a citizen. If you feel your rights have been compromised or violated, be sure to keep documentation of everything and navigate the channels of government appropriately if the need arises.
· Be true to yourself.
Many times in difficult situations we find it easier to accept the ideals of the dominant society. Guard against this. Not every act is one of racism. Not every person in the community is racist.
Continue to present yourself in a manner that is easily approachable without compromising who you are as an individual.
The challenge to make America its best is ongoing. Some can seem more a snag in the very fabric that represents our great country rather than a thread holding its place alongside others to allow the beauty of it to show forth. Don’t allow your rights as a citizen to become overshadowed because of a minority of those who seek to preserve oppression and hatred. Uphold America to its creed and responsibility to you handed down from your forefathers and accessible from sea to shining sea.