Racial Discrimination in College
Are you reading an article from the 60s? Not really. The sad truth is that even today when millennial are taking over the world and attaining new heights in terms of technology and social progress, racial and caste discrimination continues to act as a bane for our society. And it is something that only an individual who has been through can understand.
Even today, you will come across articles in the newspapers about racial and caste discrimination traumatizing students and making them so distressed that they are considering leaving college or even worse opting for escape routes like suicide. Where and how such discrimination happens?
Such discrimination happens everywhere. Sadly in places like colleges, where you are entering a whole new world and waiting to kick-start your journey towards fun, thins like discrimination and being judged make you take a step back. College racial and caste discrimination includes-
- Being denied entry into a particular sorority or club due to the color of your skin. Of course, no one is direct about it because of the punishable offences being involved, but such instances keep happening.
- Then there are instances where lockers and rooms of students from other countries, communities and racial backgrounds are ransacked. You will find them being targeted to menial jobs, tasks, etc. during ragging. In certain cases, teachers to involve themselves in such hideous acts!
- Slogans or graffiti mocking their social or caste background are written across walls or even as posters or on the blackboard of the classroom.
- In extreme cases, these students are abused verbally and physically too. Sudden attacks from behind, in the dark, cases of molestation and gang-attacks have occurred constantly in the past.
And the sad thing is that most students are unaware or unprepared to deal with such racism and caste discrimination. Students are being preached that in today’s generation, life is all about making friends who matter and interracial relationships are very much common. Filled with optimism in their hearts, students come to class - only to be targeted. Here is how they are impacted-Psychologically
Their entire self-confidence and faith in the educational system is shaken. If they are prone to acts of cruelty because of their skin color, they not only lose their dignity but also are unable to understand the cause of these attacks. The feeling of abandonment is there as these students are often isolated from other groups. They don’t feel that they belong in the university and question whether they should have come this far from home. Lack of friends, no support from parents (usually because they are located thousands of miles away) and being in a strange land makes things worse. Sadly, these acts can turn fatal and result in suicide too.Social Impact
Along with the above, the negative social impact such acts of disdain result in losing faith in the existing system. Their land of dreams suddenly becomes the land of nightmare. You question yourself and your very existence in the first place. Is it a crime to be born in a lower caste or because the color of your skin is so different? Financial Impact
Along with this, there is also a huge financial aspect to the entire scenario. Parents or students who come to study so far often shell out the savings of their life to pay for these courses or colleges. Once such incidents happen, they are in a turmoil on whether to actually continue with the college or dropout because of such acts.
Negative connotations of these attacks are not restricted to just the mind but also scale out to physical issues. Acts of molestation, gang attacks, physical abuse and brawls are rather common in caste and racial indiscrimination. More than often, the victims are first instigated to fight back and then bigger groups, which again may prove fatal in some cases, mercilessly beat them up.Your action plan-
Such attacks should not be taken lightly, even though it may just be restricted to some jokes. So here is what you can do, depending on the nature of your discrimination. Affirm Yourself
One of the first steps to take against oppression and racism is to not accept defeat and compose yourself. It is the time to reinforce your belief in your background and also yourself. So regain control rather than just losing your temper here. You have come here to achieve an academic degree and ensure that you get personal accomplishments too. Just because someone is treating you poorly doesn’t imply that you should react the same way. If the act is something minor like a joke or just a comment, try to explain to your friends or others why it is hurtful of you give your background or caste.
If you feel that you are not being approached then maintain a positive attitude and accomplish more academically and on the sports front so that you win the faith and support of everyone. Try approaching and making friends yourself, sometimes there is a stigma or stereotype associated with certain groups and you can take the initiative to change the same.Get Support
There are a lot of groups available in colleges, support forums and other networks that consider and take action against such acts of racism and casteism. You can discuss your problems with them. You can talk to your friends, family and faculty members about such cases or even approach the counseling center for individual counseling and support to handle such issues.Take the initiative
Instead of just getting oppressed, it is time for you to make the initiative of helping people getting over this stereotypical thinking. Mix around with people of all groups and castes, showcase that you too are a part of the college and a teen like everyone else. You can also start your own small support group in case there is an extreme case of racial or caste discrimination where you are studying. Here is what you can do-
Taking an action
- Make a group and try to watch each others back
- Don't go alone but take friends along to the department or official that instituted the policy is the first place to start
- Become involved in making changes, but the peaceful way.
In extreme cases, remaining quite is not the way to be and stern action needs to be taken when no other measures are enough. These could involve legal acts to but this is a step towards making a cultural shift. Remember that you are the one who’s being victimized or your friends. If they were not sorry or apologetic about their vindictive acts, the legal system will help you in the process. A healthy dialogue and support from the college authorities to institute training and other programs to foster a positive campus environment should come forth. And on the whole the result will be a positive area for students to study together, from all kinds of backgrounds, castes, colors and creeds.
With these simple measures, you will be heading towards taking a small step to ensure uniformity and create an equal opportunity to study in a safe and sound environment with just other students, irrespective of their skin color or caste.