Ways to challenge racism
- Inform yourself - browse suggested resources, readings, and websites.
- Ensure your local office or district has resources that address racism.
- Advocate for anti-racism training workshops within your local or district.
- See BCTF Social Justice calendar. GET ACTIVE and BE INVOLVED!
- Act on racist remarks: How to handle harassment in the hallways.
- Stop the racist remark.
Do not pull students aside for confidentiality unless absolutely necessary. It is important that all students—onlookers, potential victims, and potential harassers—get the message that students are safe and protected in your school. Make sure all the students in the area hear your comments.
- Identify the racist remark.
Label the racism. "You just made a racist comment." Do not imply that the victim is a member of that identifiable group.
- Broaden the response.
Do not personalize your response at this stage. "We, at this school, do not use racist comments against people." "Our community does not appreciate hateful or thoughtless behaviour."
Re-identify the racist behaviour. "This racist comment is hurtful to others who overhear it."
- Ask for change in future behaviour.
Ask for accountability. Even if she or he was "only kidding," the oppresser must realize the ramifications of the action/comment. A major goal is to take the spotlight off the receiver of the racist comment and turn the focus to the behaviour. Students should realize what was said, regardless of what was meant (e.g., kidding).
- Check in with the victim at this time.
Reassure the receiver that he or she should not dismiss racist comments. "If this continues, please tell me, and I will take further action. We want everyone to be safe at this school." Again, be sure not to treat the receiver as helpless or a member of any target group. Rather, plainly give her or him responsibility on behalf of others.
Actions have been adapted from Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Program, Central Toronto Youth Services Rainbow Resource Centre, Winnipeg, Canada, 2002.