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In 1966, The UN General Assembly proclaimed 21st March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to be commemorated annually, which has been marked ever since.
Why 21st March?
On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". Proclaiming the Day in 1966 which signifies the struggle to end the policy of apartheid in South Africa, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
Why Is The Day Still Marked?
In the 50 years since the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination came into force in 1969, racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and there is an international framework for fighting racism.
However, racial and ethnic discrimination still occur on a daily basis, hindering progress for millions of people around the world. Racism and intolerance can take various forms — from denying individuals the basic principles of equality to fuelling ethnic hatred that may lead to genocide — all of which can destroy lives and fracture communities.
How You Can Help Eliminate Racial Discrimination
Learn to recognise and understand your own privilege
Racial privilege plays out across social, political, economic, and cultural environments. Checking your privilege and using your privilege to dismantle systemic racism are two ways to begin this complex process.
Examine your own biases and consider where they may have originated
What messages did you receive as a child about people who are different from you? What was the racial and/or ethnic make-up of your neighbourhood, school, or religious community? Why do you think that was the case? These experiences produce and reinforce bias, stereotypes, and prejudice, which can lead to discrimination. Examining our own biases can help us work to ensure equality for all.
Validate the experiences and feelings of people of colour
Support the experiences of other people and engage in tough conversations about race and injustice. We cannot be afraid to discuss oppression and discrimination for fear of “getting it wrong.” Take action by learning about the ways that racism continues to affect our society.
Challenge the ‘colourblind’ ideology
It is a pervasive myth that we live in a “post-racial” society where people “don’t see colour.” Perpetuating a “colourblind” ideology actually contributes to racism.
Call out racist ‘jokes’ and statements
Let people know that racist comments are not okay. If you are not comfortable or do not feel safe being confrontational, try to break down their thought process and ask questions. For example, “That joke doesn’t make sense to me, could you explain it?” Or “You may be kidding, but this is what it means when you say that type of thing.” Do not be afraid to engage in conversations with loved ones, coworkers, and friends.
Find out how your work, school or other organisations work to expand opportunities for people of colour.
Systemic racism means that there are barriers – including wealth disparities, criminal justice bias, and education and housing discrimination – that stack the deck against people of colour in the workplace or at school.
Be thoughtful with your finances
Take a stand with your wallet. Know the practices of companies that you invest in and the charities that you donate to. Make an effort to shop at small, local businesses and give your money back to the people living in the community.
Adopt an intersectional approach in all aspects of life
Remember that all forms of oppression are connected. You cannot fight against one form of injustice and not fight against others.
Racist Hate Crime in Warwickshire
Another way you can help us tackle hate is ensure all such incidents of any nature are reported. Only by our understanding of the scale of hate in Warwickshire will we be able to truly tackle it.
As shown in the 2019 Warwickshire Hate Crime Annual Report, racially motivated hate crime remains the most reported strand of hate in the county. From August 2018 - July 2019, there were 554 race related offences reported to Warwickshire Police - 70% of all hate offences in the reporting period.
We encourage all hate offences to be reported within Warwickshire. You can do this by calling the Police on 101 – only use 999 if it is an emergency. Alternatively, non-emergency hate offences can also be reported on this website either to Police or the Hate Crime Partnership (via EQuIP).