Advice: Racism hurts
There’s a guy at school who keeps making racist comments to me and my friends. The others somehow ignore him but I’m so over it, it makes me feel like crap. I’ve told him to stop heaps of times but he thinks its funny. I’m getting really edgy whenever I see him and he’s making me stressed about going to school. I don’t know how to make it stop.
T.A.T, 15, NSW
Our psychologist says: Racism is not OK. When a individual or even a group is the target of racist comments, it can really undermine their sense of identity and self-worth. Even though you’re trying not to let him get to you, the reality is this guy’s constant racist remarks are deeply hurtful and upsetting. If this situation continues, your stress levels are likely to keep spiralling skywards as you worry about crossing paths with him and having to deal with his put downs. Refuse to be the victim and take a stand. You’ve done the right thing by firstly being direct with him and and telling him to stop. The fact he hasn’t changed his behaviour, demonstrates a complete lack of respect for you and shows he doesn’t care about or doesn’t understand the negative impact his words are having. Take back the power by confiding in someone at school who you trust (a teacher, the school counsellor). Explain specifically what this guy has been saying and what you’ve already done to try to take charge of the situation. All schools have a responsibility to provide an environment where students feel safe and free from harassment. It’s important the teachers take this seriously and intervene to break the cycle of racism. If you feel not enough is being done or this guy’s taunts continue, get your parents and the Principal involved. If you need further support, speak to your school counsellor or talk things through with a Kidshelpine counsellor. Put energy into giving yourself a boost. Focus on the unique strengths that make you, you. Try to minimise the impact this guy’s words have on you by surrounding yourself with people who lift you up. To learn more about racism and how you can take a stand, check out the resources at reachout.com and racism it stops with me.
(image credit: digicla)
Over to you:
Our psychologist has shared some of her ideas, but what do you think?
Have you got any suggestions for ‘T.A.T, 15’ that might help her deal with this guy’s racist comments? Have you ever experienced anything like this? How did you manage it?
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