There is no doubt that racism exists and is present in every sector of society, from media and culture to social systems and institutions. Anti-racist education can play a crucial role to help stop racism on all fronts, eradicating the myths surrounding different ethnic groups and the causes of racial inequality.
Children from a very early age start to notice differences in their environment including racial differences in individuals and groups of people. Thus, it is crucial that they are taught to understand that these differences are normal, so that these observations and assimilations do not develop into racist ideologies. For example, nonverbal cues are one way racism is learned because it can leave a lasting impression in the minds of children. According to Alex Haley, “Racism is taught in our society…it is not automatic. It is learned behaviour towards persons with dissimilar physical characteristics”. Therefore, if racism is taught it can be untaught.
Helping individuals from different racial backgrounds, understand, appreciate and respect the differences in other people can build empathy in them towards others and help them understand when systems are unequal, as well as the consequences of their actions. When individuals can understand that racism is not the problem of just a particular community, but a global problem it can change their worldview.
The Bridges Program at GLHCSS was developed to give communities an opportunity to get to know each other, to understand their own experiences and the experiences of others, to realize that we are all more similar than they thought and to promote cross-race relationships and social solidity by bring different communities together.
Through education, discussions and activities, participants are encouraged to learn, think critically and make connections. Through this program, individuals engage in self-reflection allowing them to identify biases, experiences and privileges that they have that influences the way they think, feel and behave towards other races and individuals. We aim to create a culture of unity, respect, diversity and racial equality in the hearts and minds of our younger and upcoming generations to create a better future for all races and communities.
Learn more about The Bridges Program.