How to face a world of discrimination
Discrimination can occur anywhere, and it can be the most unwelcoming and unsettling feeling for anyone. As humans, we have to look beyond race, colour, and religion. Read more to find out what dealing with discrimination encompasses and how you can help your kids overcome it.
Faz Abdul Gaffa’s teacher told her that she wouldn’t call on her to answer questions because she was ‘black.’
Gaffa, an Indian, who is now a contributing beauty editor at xoVain talked about her experiences growing up in Singapore on the website, “The correlation between dark skin and ‘dirtiness’ is not anything new… It’s funny because one of the lines in the Singapore pledge is ‘We are the citizens of Singapore… regardless of race, language or religion.’”
Discrimination can happen to anyone, anytime and in any country.
This isn’t an isolated case, and no, she isn’t the only one who has dealt with it. This can happen to kids and adults, sometimes because they’re Muslim, Hindu, overweight, darker than others, or homosexuals, and so on. Reality is, your daughter, husband, sister, son, or anyone you love can be a victim of racial or religious discrimination.
Types of discrimination
Racial discrimination is when a person feels that their race is superior to other races.
A race is a group of people classified based on history, nationality, or having distinct common physical characteristics. However, racial discrimination isn’t the only kind of prejudice there is out there, religious discrimination is equally widespread.
Religious discrimination is when a person values or treats another person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe.
How does it feel?
Kids who are discriminated against tend to feel helpless and hopeless.
Young kids especially feel as if they can’t stand up for themselves, because they feel as if others are more powerful than they are. They feel out-casted, different, sad, lonely, nervous, and even sick. More than anything, victims of discrimination face public humiliation.
What are the other kinds of discrimination? How can you cope with it? Read on to find out what you need to think about while dealing with discrimination.
Around the world these days…
When the Boston bombings took place, Muslims came under a lot of scrutiny all over the world because the alleged bombers were Muslims.
People blamed Islam and its followers on the whole as culprits for a crime committed by two people. Since the bombings, many Muslim girls have been singled out for wearing headscarves, and many Muslims have been verbally and physically attacked in the US.
Many parents are keeping their kids home from school in fear of retaliation. And unfortunately, the kids feel responsible and answerable for an entire race and religion. Discrimination is a monster that feeds off of narrow-mindedness, which can hurt the core of society.
How to overcome it
As you have probably noticed by now, discrimination comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. We all have dealt with it at least once in our lifetime. In order to overcome a discriminatory situation, experts recommend following these four steps:
- Know what kind of person you are dealing with: are they aggressive, cyber, or do they taunt you?
- Try to work your way around it by avoiding them and not reacting to their actions.
- Most importantly, make sure you report all discrimination to an adult or an authority.
- Never let anyone make you feel less than you are!
Are we only dealing with discrimination or do we also discriminate. How can we be better people? Read on to find out.
How not to be the bully
As parents, we worry our child will be the victim of racial discrimination, but seldom do we think about our child being the bully.
We caught up with Alfian Sa’at, a famous Singaporean writer, poet and playwright who interacts with tons of people on a daily basis, and asked him tips on how to teach and encourage our children not to be racist. Sa’at recommends using these 5 tips to help teach your kids not to discriminate against anyone:
- Avoid using racial terms to scare your child for discipline purposes. There must be better ways of disciplining your child than to threaten them with ‘if you don’t do that, I tell you, that Indian man or Sikh man will kidnap you!’
- Have a zero-tolerance policy towards racial slurs.
- Teach your child that people are born with skin that is of different shades. Yes, dirt is black, but black skin is not dirty. And no, the pigmentation at the elbows or knees cannot be ‘scrubbed off’. Can your child scrub off a mole?
- Encourage your child to avoid racial descriptors on their classmates. If your child says, ‘the Malay girl cried in class today’, ask for her name and insist that it be used from then on.
- Encourage your child to make friends with those of other races, without drawing attention to their races.
We are all humans.
Discrimination starts at home with the values we instil in our kids. We have to teach our kids to look beyond race, colour and culture. Everyone is equal and no one deserves to be treated less than that.
As Gaffa said, “I will teach my children that your skin is something you should be so proud of…one day maybe Singapore will follow suit.”
Let us know if you have ever dealt with any kind of discrimination and how you overcame this obstacle!
Watch this video for more on discrimination:
Have you or your child been discriminated against? Share your story with us in the comments section below.