Unknown Racial Discrimination Habits and How to Avoid them

Happy International Day against Racial Discrimination to you all, in today’s age, is surely among the most important days and seeing it celebrated makes everyone fight more meaningful

One day someone said…

One day someone said that the worst mistakes are those we don’t even know we are doing them, and the un-helpless people are those who does not even know that they need help, in this thought we can clearly see that it is a matter of knowledge and acknowledge, first of all our state and second our actions

And accept it or not, the same we can hurt our beloved ones without knowing or paying attention, we can have a behaviour that reflect racial discrimination without knowing, and the goal of this article is to help you detect actions you may be doing everyday but you should not or should reduce the frequency as it can be hurting people around you without you knowing

When it came from

Before going deepper into the subject, let’s talk about today’s date and why it is important.

Everything (The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) started on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

Since then, the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled. Racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and we are all fighting to help built equality for everyone everywhere

Different types of racial discrimination and examples

Racial discrimination can wear different mask, take different forms and even can be mask with good words to seem like a kind act of attention but in fact may not be, here are the common ones :

Direct discrimination: This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because of your race.

For example, A restaurant owner refuses to serve customers who are Black or Asian. A school rejects a qualified applicant because they have a Middle Eastern name. A bank denies a loan to a Hispanic family based on their race.

Indirect discrimination: This happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that applies to everyone but which puts people of your racial group at a disadvantage.

For example, A cleaning company needs to reduce their number of cleaners because of a downturn in business. As one of the redundancy selection criteria, the company includes good written English skills, even though the job does not involve writing. This criterion disadvantages cleaners who have English as a second language and may be racially discriminatory

Harassment: This happens when someone behaves in a way that makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded because of your race.

For example, A co-worker repeatedly makes derogatory remarks about another co-worker’s accent or skin colour. A teacher makes fun of a student’s ethnic food or clothing. A customer verbally abuses a shop assistant because of their racial background.

Victimisation: This happens when someone treats you unfairly because you have complained about racial discrimination or helped someone else who has been discriminated against.

For example, An employee is fired or demoted after filing a complaint about racial discrimination in the workplace. A student is bullied or excluded by their peers after reporting a racist incident at school. A witness is threatened or intimidated after testifying in a court case involving racism.

How to solve racial discrimination if it happens that we were the ones doing it without acknowledging it ?

There are things that you may be doing without knowing but can appear to be racial discriminative, here are some examples, most of them may have never cross your mind to be putted in this box :

  • Asking someone where they are really from: This question implies that a person does not belong or fit in because of their appearance or accent. It can make them feel like an outsider or a foreigner in their own country


  • Using racial slurs or jokes: Even if they are meant to be funny or harmless, racial slurs or jokes can be offensive and hurtful to people who belong to a certain group. They can reinforce negative stereotypes and create a hostile environment


  • Complimenting someone for being articulate: This comment can suggest that a person is expected to be less intelligent or eloquent because of their race. It can also imply that they are not speaking their native language or that they have assimilated to a dominant culture


  • Touching someone’s hair without permission: This action can invade a person’s personal space and make them feel uncomfortable. It can also show a lack of respect for their culture and identity, as hair can have different meanings and significance for different groups


  • Assuming someone’s profession or role based on their race: This assumption can limit a person’s potential and opportunities based on stereotypes. It can also ignore their individual achievements and qualifications


  • Crossing the street or clutching your purse when you see someone of a different race: This behavior can signal fear or distrust of a person based on their race. It can also make them feel unwelcome or unsafe in public spaces


  • Asking someone to speak for their entire race: This request can put pressure on a person to represent a diverse and complex group of people. It can also ignore their personal experiences and opinions as an individual


  • Using terms like ‘exotic’ or ‘oriental’ to describe someone: These terms can objectify a person based on their race. They can also erase their specific culture and identity by lumping them into vague categories


  • Ignoring or dismissing someone’s experiences of racism: This reaction can invalidate and silence a person who has faced discrimination or prejudice. It can also deny the existence and impact of racism in society


How to avoid being involuntarily racially discriminatory

Here are some habits and things you can do to avoid being involuntarily racially discriminatory:

  • Stop using racial slurs: If you grew up hearing and using racist language, it can be hard to unlearn it, but it’s an essential step toward becoming anti-racist. Racial slurs can be offensive and harmful to people who belong to a certain group


  • Avoid constantly mentioning someone’s race: Unless it is relevant or respectful, you don’t need to point out someone’s race every time you talk about them. This can make them feel like their race is the only thing that defines them or that they are different from others


  • Become friends with people from different backgrounds: One of the best ways to overcome your biases and stereotypes is to interact with people who have different experiences and perspectives than you. You can learn more about their culture, history, and values, and also find common ground and interests


  • Support media and art created by people of color: Consuming diverse media and art can help you appreciate the creativity and contributions of people of color. It can also expose you to different stories and realities that challenge your assumptions and broaden your worldview


  • Don’t overcompensate to seem non-racist: Trying too hard to prove that you are not racist can backfire and make you seem insincere or patronizing. For example, don’t assume that someone needs your help or sympathy because of their race, or that they share your opinions or beliefs because they are not white¹.


  • Speak out against overt racism: When you witness or hear about racial discrimination or violence, don’t stay silent or indifferent. Use your voice and platform to condemn racism whenever you see it, whether it is online or offline, personal or institutional. You can also join or support movements that fight for racial justice and equality


What Numbers say

Racial discrimination is find everywhere, white, black or asian every race experience one way or another a kind of racial discrimination

Here are some numbers based by continents:

  • In Europe, 10 percent of people say they have experienced racial discrimination in the past year. The most common places where discrimination occurs are at work, when looking for a job, and in shops or restaurants¹.


  • In Africa, 64 percent of people say they have personally experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity. The countries with the highest levels of reported discrimination are Mali (85 percent), Senegal (80 percent), and Ivory Coast (78 percent).


  • In Asia, 45 percent of people say they have witnessed or experienced racism. The most common forms of racism are verbal abuse, physical assault, and online harassment. The countries with the highest levels of reported racism are India (74 percent), Thailand (69 per cent), and Indonesia (66 percent).


  • In North America, 33 percent of people say they have been discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity. The groups that face the most discrimination are Black Americans (58 percent), Native Americans (55 percent), and Hispanic Americans (52 percent).


  • In Oceania, 27 per cent of people say they have experienced racial discrimination in the past year. The most common places where discrimination occurs are on public transport, at work, and on social media. The groups that face the most discrimination are Aboriginal Australians (46 percent), Pacific Islanders (39 percent), and Asian Australians (37 percent).


  • In South America, 24 per cent of people say they have suffered racial discrimination in their lives. The most common forms of discrimination are insults, threats, and physical violence. The countries with the highest levels of reported discrimination are Brazil (41 percent), Peru (35 percent), and Colombia (31 percent).


(1) Racism and prejudice in Europe – Statistics & Facts | Statista.


(2) Race report statistics | Equality and Human Rights Commission.


(3) Category:Racism by continent – Wikipedia.


The Outcomes

In conclusion, racial discrimination can take many forms and it is important to be aware of our actions and words to avoid unintentionally hurting or offending others. It is essential to recognize the different types of discrimination, such as direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimization, to prevent them from occurring. We should also make an effort to identify and eliminate racial biases and stereotypes that may lead to discriminatory behavior. By being mindful of our language, behavior, and assumptions, we can create a more inclusive and respectful society. Let us all strive to promote equality for everyone, everywhere.

Again, Happy International Day against Racial Discrimination to you all