Give Racism The Finger

Campaigning for change article written on the 13 May 2011

Give racism the finger

Anti-racism organisation All Together Now have a great new campaign – Give Racism The Finger.

Giving racism the finger means saying ‘no’ to racist slurs and remarks. There’s many ways you can do this during the campaign from 16 May to 12 June.

Remember – every day is a day to give racism the finger. You can be proactive in talking about racism by talking to friends, family and colleagues about what racism is, how it feels, and how it impacts society. Many people are reluctant to talk about racism because they either don’t want to offend somebody, or don’t want to be labelled as a racist.

As confronting as this conversation may appear to be, it is vital to discuss racism so that we all:

  • know what racism is;
  • can judge whether a comment or joke is racist;
  • have the confidence to speak up when we witness racism; and
  • understand our own negative attitude towards people from other cultures.

We need people who are already positive about people from different cultures to speak to their less-tolerant friends, colleagues and family members about racism so that together we can make our country a more tolerant and welcoming place.

You can also be reactive in talking about racism by speaking up when you face racism or witness it happening. The next time you hear someone make a racist comment, don’t be silent. Say something. Let them know that it’s not acceptable. By speaking up, you’ll feel better knowing that you’ve taken a stand. Whoever made the remark may then think twice about expressing racist attitudes in the future. And the person on the receiving end will feel supported and hopefully less disturbed by the abuse.

Often the racism you hear stems from misinformation, generalisation, or fear and does not account for the victim’s individual identity. You can address these assumptions by trying to find out why the person who made the remark said what they said. If you’re nervous of confrontation, you could start by asking a question like “I’m surprised to hear you say that…what makes you say that?”

What you can do: