Imagine this: You’re on line waiting for the bus to come to the bus stop to pick everyone up, and are on your way to the library. As the people walk onto the bus and sit down, you notice that another person on the bus will not allow a black person to sit down next to them. As they take their belongings and place them on the seat, the person looks at the black person and says that they cannot sit there next to them, and tells them to find another seat. When this happens, the black person walks away, feeling sad and upset because they do not know why they are not allowed to sit there. What is this an example of?
If you guessed that this is an example of racism, you are right. Racism is defined as seeing other people as being inferior or less than yourself, such as black people or people from other communities, backgrounds, or certain cultures. Racism makes people who do not look like us feel left out and ostracized, and discriminates against people just because their skin is a different color or they come from a completely different background. People who are racist may not understand that person’s own unique background or heritage, so they may make fun of others who are different from them. This lack of understanding makes other people feel left out and sad, and people who are discriminated against may have some real issues with feeling left out, sad, or depressed. People who are racist may not understand that there are many different races all over the world, including African-American/Black people, Asian, Spanish, Puerto-Rican or Mexican people, and Middle Eastern people. People who are racist may feel that their own race or color is superior, or better than, someone else’s, and may discriminate and judge people who do not look like them. Racist people may also believe that certain jobs and occupations may only be for certain groups of people as well, such as thinking that all Spanish people serve food and wait on tables at restaurants. People who are racist may not realize or understand that there could be Spanish or other groups of people mentioned above who do hold other kinds of rankings and jobs, such as civil rights activists and leaders, teachers, doctors, lawyers and other professions.
When people put others into a category based upon the color of their skin or their background, that is racism, and it does not show an appreciation for the different kinds of people in the world.
Racism Yes/No Scenario Quiz
Here’s your chance to see how much you know about racism. The following are examples of scenarios- see how many you can correctly identify as being racism or not in this yes/no quiz:
- You see a spotted dog walking on the street with his owner, and the dog is being made to intimidate everyone as he walks by others along the sidewalk, growling at them at his owner’s command. Is this racism? (Yes/No)
- A new girl is starting her first year at a new school, and the teacher tells the girl to introduce herself to the class. She is Asian, and as she is talking to the class about how happy she is to be starting at her new school. She reveals that she was teased at her former school due to her Asian background and culture, and is hoping to make friends here at her new school. Is this racism? (Yes/No)
- A white boy is sitting down in the cafeteria at his local elementary school, and wants to sit down and join his classmates at the lunch table. Just as he asks to sit down, the kids at the table tell him that this table is only for the Chinese students in their club, and do not allow the white boy to sit down with them. Is this racism? (Yes/No)
- A group of students wants to start a Math team at their school, and only students who have an 85% or higher average in Math class can join the team, which will meet every Wednesday.
Is this racism? (Yes/No)
- A young orphan whose parents have passed away is being considered for adoption by a family in her neighborhood. The child is a girl who is nine years old and has brown hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. When the family who wants to adopt her learns about her background and color, they immediately accept the little girl into their home, saying that they would only accept a person from their own culture, and none other. Is this racism? (Yes/No)
Answers to Racism Quiz
- Since the dog is growling at everyone who walks by, this is not a form of racism. However, if the dog was barking at only Black or African-American people at his owner’s command, then yes this would be racism.
- Since the Asian girl was teased at her former school due to her background and culture, then yes, this is a form of racism against Asian people.
- Since the Chinese students are only allowing kids from their own background and culture to sit with them, and not the white student, then yes, this is a form of racism.
- The students who want to start a Math team happen to have high averages in Math class, and this is the only reason why they can join the team and others cannot, so no, this is not a type of racism, just a club for Math students with high averages to join.
- Since the family who is adopting the young orphan will only accept a child if they are from their own culture, then yes, this is a form of racism.