When People Say That Racism and Discrimination Doesn’t Exist

I often hear people say, “Racism doesn’t exist. It’s just people in lower positions that experience it.”

But the truth is, it exists.

Do you know what it’s like to explain to your child that it’s ok if someone doesn’t want to play with them?

How it’s not their fault?

If one minute your child is having fun with another child on the playground. And then the next, they run to their parents. And talk to them. And all of a sudden that child no longer wants to play with my child? Nor even acknowledge her?

The little Asian girl on the playground?

The little girl, who’s parents are engineers and therapists.

And even if we were chefs and baristas, what does that matter?

Racism and discrimination exists whether we choose to acknowledge it.

And advocacy exists to bring awareness to the fact that people of color and lower socioeconomic statuses still experience discrimination. Whether in the workplace, the classroom, or on the playground.

It exists.

Often times we think, racial comments don’t matter.

But these subtle moments, the micro-aggressions, they do matter.

They’re like the small t traumas. That if not addressed, slowly lead to the deterioration of an individual or an ethnic or racial group.

And by the way it was advocacy that led to the Civil Rights Movement.

It was advocacy that led to women being able to vote.

It was advocacy that led to the ability for people of color, minorities to live amongst the predominant group in this nation. To attend schools with them. To work with them!

The belief that if we stay quiet.

If we move on like it doesn’t exist, the problem will go away.

That’s not how these things work.

Racism is the beliefs people have about individuals based on their skin color. The belief that people of different skin colors deserve different treatment.

And discrimination is acting out these negative racial biases.

When we ignore how others treat people of color, we enable the behavior to carry on.

We teach them that it’s ok to treat people that way.

To make comments about their racial or ethnic background.

To not want to include someone whether on the playground or in the workplace.

You teach the perpetrator it’s ok to treat people that way. Because no one is going to do anything about it anyways.

Today, I watched as my child experienced discrimination. And then I explained to her afterwards how it wasn’t her fault.

And the saddest part is, it’s not the first time I’ve seen her experience discrimination. Same story. The kids play with her until their parents tell them not too.

My child is 5. She was 4 when she first encountered discrimination.

I often hear people complain about policies like Affirmative Action. The assurance that there’s equal opportunities in the workplace and in higher education for people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.

By the time we, minorities, get to the workforce or higher education, we’ve encountered so much discrimination. We just learned to pick and choose our battles.

It’s why these policies exist. Because if they didn’t, where would we be?

Our kids can’t even play on the playground without being discriminated against.

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