Due to current events, most of us have become more aware of the prevalence of racism within our world. Corona virus caused targeted racism against those of an Asian descent. Following this, one of the biggest injustices that people are currently discussing is the murder of George Floyd by a White policeman. It’s important to note that this is not an isolated case of racism, but a case which has been recorded and documented, out of the many that haven’t been. People are starting to repeat names of Black murder victims such as Breonna Taylor and Tamir Rice. The murder of George Floyd also caused a massive uproar in many countries across the world, begging for justice for Black lives. This also led us to consider the racism directed towards other backgrounds, such as Indigenous people. But what do we really need to do to combat racism?
Change is only going to come through self-reflection and evaluation. We must change our belief systems if we expect racism and racist acts to decline. Simply criminalizing racist acts is obviously a good start, but racism can easily be masked. Internalized racism cannot be changed by a simple change of the law, it can only be changed by being understood. This also stands true for institutionalized racism. Those of us who are born as white must understand that we are born with privilege. We must not be blind of people’s color but seek to understand the historical context behind color. We must understand the racial wage gap and the impact it has on Black communities. The current system is not working, as punishment without solving core issues of racial segregation is ineffective. There has to be more focus on rehabilitation in the criminal justice system and this can be achieved by providing things like accessible mental health services and safe housing for all. We cannot simply link crimes to race, we have to understand the part discrimination had to play. We must seek to understand and learn from those who are being oppressed by the system. We must hear their stories and listen. We must look within ourselves and try to dismantle and understand any preexisting prejudices we hold against people of color.