A lot of us tend to believe that we’re all perfect human beings incapable of causing harm to anyone. We believe that we’re kind, generous and especially not racist. However, even if you don’t think you’re racist because “you have a friend who’s black” you most likely are.
There are so many subtle words or actions that can be counted as racism and you should definitely be aware of them. Although we might have the best intentions and don’t mean to say these things on purpose, they can still hurt those around us. So, be aware if any of the following things pop up in your vocabulary.
1. You start a sentence by saying “I don’t mean to be racist but…”
If you start off any conversation with those words then odds are, whatever you’re about to say is probably racist. If you have even the smallest doubt that what you’re about to say is racist then you probably shouldn’t say it in the first place. Just because you believe that you’re not a racist doesn’t mean that your statement isn’t either.
2. You try to defend your controversial political, social, and racial views by letting people know that you have a friend who belongs to an oppressed racial group
I’m sorry but if you have to use the phrase “I have a friend who’s ___” just to defend your ignorant remarks then they shouldn’t be friends with you in the first place. Just because you’re friends with someone who’s black, Muslim or Indian doesn’t mean that your racism is justifiable.
3. You say things like “you’re pretty for a brown girl”
Statements like these are inappropriate, ignorant and just simply racist. When you make a statement like that you’re implying that other people of color aren’t attractive. You may mean well but this isn’t a compliment at all. Statements like these also display that you’re the type of person who classifies people of color into their stereotypes which isn’t appropriate either. If you’re going to compliment someone then maybe leave race out of it because it really isn’t necessary.
If you have said any of the statements above then you have probably hurt a bunch of people. Next time, try to be more aware of what is or isn’t appropriate to say. If you’re about to say something negative that is in relation to race then you probably shouldn’t mention it at all. We all make mistakes but it’s important to learn from them and to not make them again.