Before I researched for this blog, I felt I was not a contributor to racism, but now need to re-think this and watch my own words towards others not my own race. I realized I may practice Denial inadvertently, not recognizing I am practicing it when I say, “I don’t even see colour.” I thought that was a freeing comment but it actually is saying, I don’t recognize your struggle. I am looking at it from a ‘me’ perspective, not the ‘other’ and this is microinvalidating (Sachs, 2016). One of the key components in removing any racist word/thought from our lives is to listen, really listen (Arnott, 2002; Sachs, 2016) to what someone of a different race, mixed or otherwise, to hear what they are saying and acknowledge their stories and experiences. Another factor that will help is to introduce anti-racism in the school system (Husband, 2011; Levinson, 2003) and be conscious of the deprecating language we use (Whitehead, 2013). A good example of this being effective is when Terry Husband, Jr. was re-telling a story of a pre-school teacher (Husband, 2011) treatment of ‘flesh-coloured’ bandaids in the classroom. After having all the students compare their skin colour to the colour of the bandaid, there were only a few whose skin tone matched the bandaid. Using this example as a teaching point, the teacher had the class write a letter to the company who made the bandaids. The company responded with a note of apology and sent along clear bandaids.
Within the discussion of anti-racism being taught in the school system, I am reminded of an exceptional video I saw of Jane Elliott’s, Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes racist experiment a few years back. Here is a clip from 1992, when Jane used her experiment on the Oprah show that was quite impactful. Jane has also brought her methods to Canada and created a video called Indecent Exposure, using it to show the racism towards the Indigenous population. It is a hard hitting video that shows how internalized racism is.
*Momentary acts that serve to invalidate the very people of color [sic] we care about. (Sachs, 2016)
Arnett, J. (2002). Speak Out, For Example. In E. C. Karpinski (Ed.), Pens of Many Colours (pp. 91-95). Canada: Thomson/Nelson.
Buzzfeed Videos. (2014-09-04). Words With Racist Origins. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j328SwxxQzk. 04 June 2017.
Husband, T. (2012). “I Don’t see color”: Challenging assumptions about discussing race with young children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 39(6), 365-371. doi:10.1007/s10643-011-0458-9
Levinson, M. (2003). The Language of Race. Theory & Research In Education, 1(3), 267. doi:10.1177/1477878503001003001
Sachs, G. (2016-09-25). 10 Ways White Liberals Perpetuate Racism. Huffington Post: The Blog. Retrieved 2 June. 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-sachs-psyd/10-ways-white-liberals-pe_b_8068136.html.
Whitehead K. (2013). Managing Self/Other Relations in Complaint Sequences: The Use of Self-Deprecating and Affiliative Racial Categorizations. Research On Language & Social Interaction, 46(2), 186-203. Available from: Education Source, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 4, 2017.
Diversity Delivers. (2009-02-23). Indecent Exposure. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j328SwxxQzk. 03 June 2017.