How to talk about racism in public health: How to avoid offending people
Posted October 19, 2018 07:50:03 If you find yourself on the receiving end of racist remarks, don’t try to hide them.
The best thing you can do is to respond by saying: “I don’t think that’s racist, it’s just that it’s not me”.
You can also say, “I’m not offended”.
“It’s OK to be rude.
We have a responsibility to help each other.
It’s just rude to be racist,” said Lidia Krasinski, a professor of public health at George Mason University and co-author of the book Racism in Public Health.”
It has consequences and you should be able to understand that,” said Krasinksi, who is white.
“Racism in public life is a problem, not a badge of honor.”
The most common form of racist rhetoric is a statement like “I’ll have a drink of water if you don’t have a beard” or “I can tell you’re a racist if you wear a suit”.
But many people, especially people who are minorities, may feel uncomfortable saying or doing these things.
Krasinski said there is a need for people to say these kinds of things, even if they are not necessarily meant to be offensive.
“You can say, ‘I’m sorry if I offend you’, or ‘I don’t want to offend you’,” Krasins said.
“But we need to stop being defensive and start being compassionate.”
For example, you can say: “It’s just an example of racism.
That’s why I don’t want to talk to you.
I don”t think it’s racist.”
You could also say: ‘I am not offended.
That is not racism.’
“I think it is important for people, even in a small way, to be aware of how their words and actions can be seen by others,” said Dr. Susan St. John, an associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University and the author of the blog Racism and Race.
“In a world where so much racism has been institutionalized, there’s a lot of room for people who aren’t white to have these conversations and to have a healthy attitude about it.”
While you may be surprised by the things you might be able say, she said the most important thing is to avoid offensive language.
“When you’re in a group of people, the language that’s used has a lot to do with who’s in the group, and who’s heard it before,” St. Johns said.
“If it’s an example that you’re hearing in a place where you’re not familiar with, and you’re thinking, ‘Is that what I’m hearing?
I don ‘t know that,’ then you’re going to be much less likely to say something that’s offensive.”
Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover or reach her at [email protected]