First of all we need to clarify the concept of racism, and then let´s make the test if you are one or not:) ENJOY
So I need to share with you the definition that I have internalized somehow and comes from CHARMing project:
Racism. We assume that everybody knows the meaning of the term racism. However, it is good to know that its volume is variable depending on the context. Initially “racism” is used to refer to the belief that there are different human races, which are divided into superior and inferior categories, which are biologically embedded and could not be changed. Vast majority of people identifying themselves with racism, however, are not satisfied with distinction of “race” only and they introduce new ones – the inferior list also includes people with disabilities, sexual minorities, ethnic and religious groups. Hatred toward all these groups is a part of the job description of the “racist”. That is why in the context of our project “racism” is understood as intolerance to anyone who is “different”, not just about “race”. In this sense, we determine as a racist the understanding that women and young people have no place in management positions, or that men and older people have no place in youth and social field.
So right now we can start. I would like to ask yourself a question if you are a racist, when flirting and/or choosing your partner. Usually here many people responds no, not at all. Unfortunately I cannot say how many since my research for now was done on a very small group of people.
Next step is to think about the characteristic X, this is the characteristic based on which people discriminates the most in your society (and don´t make it gender please). For same people this could be ethnical background, for some form of disability, for other blond people, or people who are really fat. Just think about your society and choose this characteristic. So imagine that you met a wander full person, who makes you happy, makes you smile, feel good in their company, is beautiful and has the characteristic X. Would you date this person?
And the final step for reflection is to imagine that you are already dating the person with the characteristic X. Imagine you bring this person home. What would be more comfortable for you – to present this person as your friend or as your partner to your parents?
I managed to ask this set of questions to few people why chatting with a beer and sharing work related stories – ideas fort he future, new projects, interesting practices etc. With some people the conversation stopped in the first question, and several times I have heard the same argument – I don´t date Black people because they are black, they are just not my type. This could be a very good statement for the ¨Where do you stand¨ activity. And then I talk with the very aware people, who are very conscious and try to be very much inclusive, and the last question always makes thinking. It was formulated on purpose what would be more comfortable for you… Here we touched very deeply rooted feelings and emotions.
And this is the beauty of using topic of flirting for the anti-racist education. It just brings the real emotions and through, and makes to reflect about the racism not only from the external perspective: Yes I am tolerant, when I am in the office I try to include this person by regularly asking how are you?, but rather from the very personal and intimate point of view.