How to combat racism?

Written by Felipe Costa

ArqBahia team of authors.

Racism is a serious issue that impacts millions of people in Brazil and around the world. It manifests itself in the form of discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, ethnicity, religion or national origin. Its manifestations include violence, exclusion, stereotypes, insults and offensive jokes.

In addition to being considered a crime by Law No. 7,716, of January 5, 1989, which provides for a prison sentence of one to three years and a fine for those who practice, induce or incite discrimination or prejudice, racism is also a violation of human rights. It affects the dignity and equality of all people, negatively impacting the social, economic and cultural development of groups and individuals who suffer from this discrimination.

Therefore, it is crucial to fight racism and promote racial equality as a fundamental value for a more just, democratic and diverse society. In this article, we will explore some strategies to confront racism and contribute to building a world without discrimination.

Raising awareness about the existence of racism and its impacts on society

The first strategy to combat racism is to recognize that it exists and that it negatively affects the lives of millions of people. Racism is often denied, minimized or naturalized as something normal or inevitable. However, racism is a social and historical construction that can and must be deconstructed.

To do this, you need to be informed about what racism is, how it manifests itself and what its consequences are for the people who suffer from it. It is also necessary to educate ourselves about the history and culture of black and indigenous peoples, who were enslaved, exploited and oppressed by colonialism and the capitalist system.

Furthermore, it is necessary to be aware of the experiences and feelings of people who are victims of racism. It is necessary to listen to their voices, respect their identities and recognize their struggles for rights and justice.

Promoting racial equality as a fundamental value

The second strategy to combat racism is to promote racial equality as a fundamental value for a more just society. Racial equality means ensuring that all people have the same rights, opportunities and living conditions, regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, religion or national origin.

Racial equality also means valuing and respecting racial diversity as a human wealth. Racial diversity means recognizing and celebrating the differences between people, such as their physical features, their languages, their customs, their traditions, their beliefs and their knowledge.

To promote racial equality, it is necessary to combat all forms of discrimination and prejudice that generate inequalities and injustices between people. It is also necessary to encourage peaceful and harmonious coexistence between people of different races and ethnicities in schools, workplaces, public spaces and the media.

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Implementation of public policies that combat racism and promote inclusion

The third strategy to combat racism is to implement public policies that combat racism and promote the inclusion of black and indigenous people in society. Public policies are State actions that aim to guarantee the rights and interests of the population in various areas, such as education, health, work, culture, security, etc.

Public policies must be formulated based on popular participation and a human rights perspective. Public policies must also be effective in promoting racial equality and repairing historical injustices committed against black and indigenous peoples.

Some examples of public policies that combat racism and promote inclusion are:

  • Racial quotas in universities and public competitions, which aim to increase access and retention of black and indigenous people in higher education and public service;
  • The Racial Equality Statute, which is a law that establishes guidelines and actions to promote racial equality in various areas, such as health, education, culture, work, sport, media, etc.;
  • The National System for the Promotion of Racial Equality (Sinapir), which is a set of bodies and entities that work in the formulation, execution, monitoring and evaluation of public policies to promote racial equality;
  • The National Plan for the Implementation of the National Curricular Guidelines for the Education of Ethnic-Racial Relations and for the Teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African History and Culture, which is a document that guides schools and teachers to include content on school curricula the history and culture of black and indigenous peoples;
  • Law No. 10,639, of January 9, 2003, which makes the teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African history and culture mandatory in schools;
  • Law No. 11,645, of March 10, 2008, which makes the teaching of indigenous history and culture mandatory in schools;
  • The National Culture System (SNC), which is a set of bodies and entities that work in the formulation, execution, financing and supervision of public cultural policies, with emphasis on policies aimed at valuing Brazilian cultural diversity;
  • The Unified Health System (SUS), which is a set of bodies and entities that work to provide health services to the population, with emphasis on policies aimed at the health of the black and indigenous population.

Anti-racist education in schools and universities

The fourth strategy to combat racism is to promote anti-racist education in schools and universities. Anti-racist education is an education that aims to form critical citizens, aware of and committed to combating racism and promoting racial equality.

Anti-racist education must be transversal, that is, it must be present in all disciplines, activities and pedagogical projects. Anti-racist education must also be interdisciplinary, that is, it must integrate knowledge from different areas of knowledge.

Anti-racist education must also be dialogical, that is, it must encourage the exchange of ideas, experiences and knowledge between students, teachers, families and communities. Anti-racist education must also be emancipatory, that is, it must contribute to the personal, social and political development of students.

To promote anti-racist education in schools and universities, it is necessary:

  • Include content on the history and culture of black and indigenous peoples in school curricula;
  • Train teachers to address racial issues in a critical, reflective and sensitive way;
  • Use teaching materials that value racial diversity and combat racist stereotypes;
  • Promote cultural activities that express racial diversity and encourage respect for differences;
  • Create spaces for dialogue about racism between students, teachers, families and communities;
  • Combat all forms of discrimination and racial prejudice in the school environment;
  • Support black and indigenous students in their self-esteem, identity and academic trajectory.

Conclusion

In short, it is crucial to face the issue of racism head on. The responsibility is collective, and it is necessary for all of us to engage in constructive dialogues about diversity and racial equality. By promoting awareness and education, we can deconstruct deep-rooted prejudices and stereotypes, establishing mutual understanding between different ethnic groups.

Furthermore, it is imperative to support public policies that seek to eliminate racial discrimination in all spheres of society, ensuring equitable opportunities for all citizens. Solidarity and mutual respect are fundamental to building a community that values diversity and rejects any form of discrimination.

Recommended readings

  1. G1 published an article in November 2022 that discusses racial inequality in Brazil and the difficulties faced in overcoming it. The IBGE study shows that the informal rate among the white population was 32%; among blacks, 43%; and among the brown people, from 47% 1.
  2. Globo newspaper released an IPEC survey that reveals that more than half of Brazilians have witnessed some situation of racism. The article also discusses the installation of the Special Commission to Combat Racism in the Rio Chamber 2.
  3. G1 also published an article that analyzes civil society strategies to combat racism and police violence against black people in Brazil 3.
  4. BBC published an article that discusses the need to end anonymity on social media to combat racist attacks 4.
  5. World Bank Group published an article that discusses education as a tool to combat racism 5.
  6. D.W. published an article in May 2022 that discusses linguistic racism and how it maintains other forms of racism. The author of the book “Linguistic Racism” explains how many everyday expressions and words are imbued with a deeply discriminatory semantic load towards black people 6.

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