Discrimination and prejudice in general have always been prominent topics, but recently they have been brought into the light even more. The dangerous and unfortunate consequences they bring have become more and more evident. Being a Muslim American myself, I have felt the ramifications directly. Since this topic hits so close to home, I took it upon myself to develop a survey and ask the Kalamazoo community their opinion on how we can, collectively, target discrimination. The answers I received were substantial, thoughtful, and extremely useful. I picked out a couple that I think we can easily implement and get one, hopefully more, steps closer to achieving a more just society. Concepts like these are so abstract and ingrained that it seems almost impossible to diminish them. As we all know, the journey to change is not meant to be easy; it is hard, it is tough, and it requires time and patience. Change begins from one person, from one community, and it slowly inspires others to do the same.
So here are some ways to fight discrimination in your own backyard!
- “Hold small, local events with diverse groups of the population. Allow time to celebrate the amazing, interesting differences between cultures instead of emphasizing our differences.”
- “Encouraging desegregation and intermingling of class, race, religion, and gender/sex.”
- “Normalizing minorities in the media, equal treatment and portrayal in our generation will normalize it for generations to come. We also need to continue to speak up and challenge the abuse that is in our culture today. Resisting hate as we see it today will never be a vain battle, although it often feels thankless.”
- “This work takes a generation or two of intentional community building through shared meals, worship, creation, music, schooling and grieving.”
- “Educating our children on the cultures and religions of the world.”
I urge all of you to take these into consideration because when we are all empowered, we succeed.
This article was written by Tashifa Fayyaz who is a freshman at Western Michigan University studying Public Health. Her project as an intern was creating a survey for constituents within the Kalamazoo area with an emphasis on discrimination and microaggressions.