It’s mind boggling to me that we still have racism today. A friend of mine tells me that in his small town he often hears racist comments or “jokes” that make him feel uncomfortable but he’s not sure how to deal with these people. Should he ignore their comment and move on or should he confront the person about their distorted view?
Sadly ignorance often comes with confidence and assertiveness. While the knowledgable person knows there’s no real point in arguing and sits there cowardly trying not to rock the boat.
But when you know it’s wrong in your heart, have the courage to speak up.
We’re all shaped by our environment and many people living in small towns have grown up secluded from different cultures. Most likely one of their parents was racist which trickled down to the next generation. They adopt these ridiculous and hurtful views and maintain them – until they get confronted.
School teacher Jane Elliott understood this and decided to take action at an early age. The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, in her small town in Iowa she tried a daring classroom experiment. She decided to treat children with blue eyes as superior to children with brown eyes. Then she reversed the roles so all the kids felt what it was like to be discriminated. When they followed up with those students later on in life, they all said that it had opened their eyes and changed their life.
Now there’s something to teach in school.
Also published on Medium.