In life, there are many things you can control and change including your behavior, the location you live in, your appearance, your friends, your actions, etc. But what do you do when you don't have the same chance to get to your goals even though you have the right skills? When the security follows you around the store and not because you are a thief? When you can be mistreated simply because of your skin color?
Racism is a loaded topic that affects many people worldwide from different backgrounds, religions, skin colors, professions, economic status, skills, and ages. Racism can be seen in many forms. Some of them can't be hidden like murder and violence, others can be so well hidden that you'll feel like it doesn't really exist and it is extremely difficult to identify, like lack of resources that isn't the fault of someone specific but it's a result of discrimination on basis of race. Another example of racism is individual racism like bringing your bag closer to your body whenever you see people of color, which can happen even unconsciously.
Andre Gray is a UK footballer who plays for the Watford team, Andre opened up about racism multiple times in the past and he keeps being an activist, hoping for an actual change to happen. Andre carries the black history legacy on his body and heart, his tattoos tell the stories of the incredibly brave people who fought for equality while putting their lives at risk because they knew they didn't deserve to be mistreated.
"I can't even count how many times I've been pulled over. I can't count how many times I've gone to a club and not got in, how many times a security guard has followed me around a shop." Andre said. To try to understand this situation think about how it feels like to get blamed or be a suspect in something you had nothing to do with over and over again, how would you feel if it happened to you or your loved one?
"it's not about noise, it's not about being heard, it's about change. Right now if I'm being deadly honest [I ask myself] how can we change it? what is going to change a grown man's opinion? A grown woman's opinion? What they have grown to know if we [people of color] are like this or like that. How are you going to change their opinion?" Andre asked.
We all have been misunderstood and judged by others, and we all judge others sometimes. People can misjudge individuals and groups according to many different things including their skin color and that's called Prejudice. Stereotypes are an overgeneralized belief about a particular group of people. When stereotypic beliefs combine with prejudicial attitudes and emotions, like fear and hostility, they can drive the behavior of discrimination.
"I feel we are lucky we don't have armed police officers on the street because we are still stereotyped and judged by these police officers over here, just the same [as in the US]. Andre said and added that there is "systematic racism that is everywhere". This systematic racism is putting an invisible glass ceiling that makes it extremely difficult to break free from. "I'm three people in this country. And that's either a footballer, a rapper, or a drug dealer. These are the facts" Gray said.
Andre said in an interview that a part of his motivation is to prove all of those people who are guided by stereotypes and racism wrong by been successful and, by achieving things they are not going to like but they can't do anything about it.
"I'm inspired to become a better person, to educate myself, to stand by what I believe in and, to treat everyone the same and don't discriminate," Andre said.
How Can We Make a Change?
Making a change can be difficult but not impossible. Not too long ago there was a woman who sat on the bus when she was asked to give up her bus seat and get up, that's because of a man who thought her bus seat belonged to him since she was black and he was white. She refused to get up because she knew that her skin color doesn’t make her inferior to him. This woman was Rosa Parks, and the year was 1955. Back then refuse to give up the seat meant getting in trouble with the law.
That didn't stop Parks from fighting for civil rights and equality.
Many of the things we take for granted today are because of people like Rosa Parks, who fought for a change.
Being a part of the change means learning the history, thinking of ways to improve yourself and your perception of others and, knowing that each one of us is accountable for making a difference for ourselves and for the generations to come.
GRE Psychology by Kaplan