With the Black Lives Matter movements happening all over the country, we are finally in a position to truly see our white privilege and ways we can stop it. We live in a world where white people are favored because of the way this country was built. We experience white privilege and small forms of racism every day and we may not even notice because we were taught to see things a certain way and become blind to the bad.
The systemic issues that we are facing today need to change, and it is going to take a lot of people to get us where we need to be. However, there are quite a few forms of racism that we can stop right now by recognizing the moments and experiences of white privilege. Here are ten forms of racism that we must stop right away.
1. Alternative Holiday for Columbus Day
There are quite a few states that do not recognize Christopher Columbus day anymore but celebrate alternative holidays instead such as Indigenous Peoples Day, Hawaii recognizes Discoverer’s Day as it falls on the same day as when the first Polynesians discovered Hawaii. Yet, there are still many states that do recognize this holiday and will close down businesses and schools to honor it.
If you were at a school like mine, you were taught only good things about Christopher Columbus and how he discovered America and all that jazz. Well, we’ve come to learn that Columbus was a colossal jerk who committed atrocious acts against the indigenous people. And he was not even the one to discover America!
Christopher Columbus Day should not be recognized as a holiday at all. Instead, the day should be spent at schools learning the real story behind the man and what events occurred at the time he arrived in the Americas. If we continue to let our children be taught that Columbus was good, then we are continuing a long line of white privilege and the idea of white superiority.
2. White Products Being the Majority
Have you ever noticed when you get bandaids that they only come in one color? Or when you buy tights that you want to match your skin and they are labeled as flesh color, but they are only suited for white skin, as if white is the only skin tone?
This is a small form of racism that needs to stop. Finally, there are products being made that are recreating the norm for a diversity of products for everyone, but for a long time, white skin was the only skin. I didn’t learn until the BLM movement that bandaids were made to blend into the skin until someone of color said it and it actually made sense. So why is there one color tone for bandaids? I’ve recently seen that the company Johnson and Johnson have begun making bandaids for different skin tones. This is a step towards creating products for everyone that can create equality for all.
Now, we must do this with other products such as tights or nylons. It is ridiculous that the beige tights are labeled flesh color when white is not the only skin tone. Imagine reading that and understanding that your skin tone is not the norm. This needs to change ASAP.
3. Hair Products
Another small form of racism within consumer products are the hair products for women. Specifically, hair products suited for African-American women’s hair. I have had a few friends who tell me their experiences when they go into stores and cannot find hair products that suite their hair. There is something wrong if someone cannot go into a store and cannot find a simple day-to-day product because we do not create products for them.
We have been built to see one kind of people—white skin, straight hair—and it has hurt many. We must see these forms of racism and white privilege and begin to change it. We need to rebuild our nation to understand equality between every race.
4. Racial Biases of Names
There are many ways racism finds its way within our day-to-day lives, like the workplace. It is not uncommon for more white-sounding named applicants are hired than names of another race, specifically African-American names. This form of racial bias is another side of white privilege.
Something like this should not be an issue when it comes to finding a job. Imagine knowing that you didn’t get the job just because of your name. Being hired for a job should be strictly on experience and how the applicant interviews. There should be no bias because of the look or sound of a name.
5. Racial Profiling
A huge reason why the BLM movement is happening is because of events that lead to African-American’s death by police. Besides the police brutality within this race group, racial profiling is has been the reason for many deaths by police.
There have been many cases where a suspect is charged wrongfully because of racial profiling. Even when there were other witnesses saying that someone else did it, there are biases within our legal system that make it extremely hard for someone in a race other than white.
6. Corona Virus Blaming
Since the COVID-19 has popped up, there were many instances when people of Asian descent were being blamed for the virus. As a college student, I received many emails from my school telling us to be nondiscriminatory of others because of where the virus came from. We didn’t just receive one of these emails, there were many of them.
It was very upsetting to see that as college students, we still needed reminding not to blame another race for something they were not responsible for. How childish are we? Though I hope it is not an issue anymore for that group, since we no longer are getting those emails, I am sure they are still experiencing racist and discriminatory comments from others due to the virus, which like all the other examples, needs to stop immediately.
7. Laughing at a Racist Joke
Some people have a hard time when it comes to joking around because they are just jokes right? Well, it can be hurtful and harmful to the race group the joke is about. Jokes are a tough one to work around. Some people like to argue that they really didn’t mean anything by it, and I am sure sometimes they really don’t, however, racist jokes continue that long line of putting another race down because of the color of their skin or stereotypes.
8. Saying You’re Colorblind
As more blatant forms of racism have kind of died down over the years, there has been a colorblindness that has replaced it. As a child, I always thought that saying you were colorblind to other races was a way of equality, however, races other than white do not want this.
People want their race and culture acknowledge as it is a part of who they are as people, and if we continue down this path of “colorblind”, then we are continuing to view other’s race and culture as unimportant. Their histories and culture need to be taught and welcomed. Colorblind is not equal, it just labeling their lives as not worth seeing.
9. Confederate Statues
Recently, the protesters and rioters have begun tearing down the confederate statues. There has been some anger over this as some people think that these statues should stay up to show our history, however, continuing to let these statues stay up only proves how far we are from equality.
Resurrecting a statue of someone is a form of honoring them, not showing off our history and keeping our history alive. If we taught the true history in our schools, there would be no need for these kinds of statues. By keeping these statues up, we are telling African-Americans, Indigenous people, and all other races, that we honor slave-holders. That we are okay with our history and not horrified.
10. Staying Silent
In times like these, it is hard to feel comfortable enough to share your opinions about things without feeling like you’ll get attacked. I will say, I am guilty of staying silent a lot throughout my life. But now, it is time to speak up. Do not get discouraged by those who say these movements don’t matter because they do!
There are many ways for you to speak up and help during this time. A huge way to start recognizing these moments of racism and discrimination is to read about other’s experiences. Twitter is a mess right now, but it has been a great resource for me to read about experiences that I had no idea occurred. Read and buy products from black authors and creators, indigenous people, people of Asian descent, Middle Eastern descent. Keep an open mind about things and open arms to those around you. It is time to use our white privilege to help keep this movement going.