Here are 5 simple things I think someone could do to take a stand against bigotry and Nazism in 2017:
- Speak up when you hear a racist joke. Don’t laugh, don’t let it pass you by. Say something. Racist jokes aren’t funny. Stereotypes aren’t funny. Let those around you know that what they are saying is not funny. It’s part of the problem. Microagressions disguised as “just jokes” contribute to white supremacy on a daily basis.
- Publicly denounce Nazism, white supremacy, and racist actions when you see them and even when you don’t. Now, more than ever, the world needs LOUD voices to drown out the hatred. The more people who speak up, the better. Let the oppressed around you know that you will not stand for their oppression and you will use your place of privilege to not only stand up for what is right, but to amplify their voices. If you have a platform, USE IT FOR GOOD. Publicly condemning bigotry is a simple, small, easy thing that you can do that just might affect the way another person thinks for the better.
- Don’t assume that you know the struggle. I know wrongness when I see it. I know racism, hatred, and bigotry when I see it. I won’t pretend to know what it feels like. I’ve never been treated differently for the colour of my skin, had my resume thrown out because of the name on it, and have never been hated simply because of who I am. Be willing to listen, learn, and never assume. Recognize how you’ve benefited from the systems that are currently in place.
- Try not to consume or tolerate media that diminishes reality. “Alt-Right” and “White Nationalist” are terms that allow media to lean neutral in the face of actual Nazis. This is not the time or place for neutrality. Call Nazism out for what it is.
- Encourage conversation, education, and empathy. It’s easy to say, “It’s too upsetting, I can’t read about it.” It is upsetting, and I do get the need to take care of yourself and your mental health, but recognize that being able to say or think such a thing indicates the incredible privilege that you have. Strike a balance; be informed, don’t be complacent.