Racism has come to the forefront in a lot of conversations throughout the United States and other parts of the world. With outrage exhibited through protests, mostly peaceful, over the killing of George Floyd with the knee of a police officer pressing against his neck, the issue of race has once again emerged with full force.
This is not the first time protests against police brutality toward black men have been held. It has happened several times with people upset at the deaths of black men who were unjustly killed by police who seemed to have racist tendencies. Protests have happened also when civilians, ordinary citizens, have targeted black men whom they suspected of wrong doing. Some of the victims killed were unarmed and totally innocent. Some were mere boys.
People are often prone to turn the other way if they see a racist event taking place. If someone is calling another person a racial slur or telling them to go back to their own country (even though they may have been born in the USA), those are acts of racism. It is not easy to intervene if someone sees that type of behavior, but speaking up in defense of the innocent person could go a long way in starting on the road to easing racial tensions. More people could help instead of ignoring the situation.
Hate crimes sometimes are perpetrated against people of minority races, people who are or are perceived to be immigrants, LGBTQ people, or others who may be different in some way. If it seems dangerous to get involved or to speak up, a bystander could call the police. Hate crimes are not allowed and need to be eliminated.
Although not all police are sympathetic to minorities and some have been shown to be racist, most police can be relied upon to respond with care to calls for help. Police work is dangerous and not always appreciated, but they are the ones who respond when help is needed. The good police will be instrumental in stopping the racism which is too often manifest against black men and others unjustly.
Racism and hatred of people different than the majority were the reasons that Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated in camps during World War II. Although a few people tried to help them, no one stopped the unfair treatment these innocent people received because of racist actions.
Personally stopping a racist attack may be difficult and scary. There are things people can do to stop racism. Being kind and caring are first steps to being able to help people who may be bullied and attacked with racist actions. Calling out a bully may curb the name calling. It will take courage, but speaking up will help curb racism.
It may be next to impossible to completely eradicate racism in the United States while ignorant and intolerant people are around. Black people and other minorities who face racism need a more just and equal chance for success and fair treatment.
Can you stop a racist act? Maybe and maybe not, but the world would be a better place if more people would try to help even by just saying something.
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by Irene Mori