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  • Written by Merry Brunner

We’re Hiding Behind Casual Racism

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Casual racism is harmful and hurtful. It is even worse when it is seen as normal or not serious. Unconscious bias can take many forms, such as jokes or even compliments.

Read about Casual Racism at Weather and Palette
Photo Credit : KiYun Kim

Humanity might have fought off Fascism from the mainstream, yet the deeply rooted concept of racism has never been eradicated. One of the causes is the aspect of casual racism we allowed in our society.

What exactly is casual racism?

It happens to a figment of racism where the negative stereotypes stick to our daily lives, and our decisions regarding people are based on their race, ethnicity, and skin colour. This can be so subtle at times that we fail to notice it immediately. Once the unjust biases start to fester, we see people becoming the lifelong targets of racial profiling in society.

Whether you are aware of Kim Kardashian being called out for casual racism on her label Skims, or international students being laughed at for their English accents in University campus, examples of negative and racist prejudices push past us every day. And the first step to stopping more immense tragedies born from racism is to eliminate these smaller figments first. These include racist jokes, comments, and racist exclusions of people.

Stereotyping is casual racism

Even though we live in modern times where negative stereotyping is socially frowned upon, do you know that some people still have to check if a place is racist, much like checking the weather before their visit? If you happen to be "a person of colour", your traveling research would involve a matter of beautiful scenery and a question of safety. Even moving to a new neighbourhood would mean you foreseeing whether people would start avoiding you on the streets because of your colour.

Did you watch Michelle Obama's documentary "Becoming"? We are pushed to ponder about the things we thought had changed. But have they really? Perhaps, the only change we see is a larger group of people being hesitant in open racial profiling. A handful of these happens to hide behind the practice of casual racism. The small acts of casual racism contribute to aggravated mental abuse, humiliation, and racial profiling in a much larger circle.

To begin with, casual racism does not sink into the belief of superiority of races, but it grows from negative stereotyping. And many cultures around the world are affected by this. Unlike the overt acts of racism, casual racism is not intended to cause outright offense or harm. However, it does contribute to a lifetime of racial abuse experienced by people.

Lack of intent is still racism

In some cultures where racism runs generations deep, it is challenging to remove that perspective, especially when most of them do not even consider their remarks or behaviours 'truly' racist. It encourages particular prejudices and racial profiling where a larger group of people end up suffering.

One of the most significant issues with racial profiling comes where people with darker skin colour are 'snubbed' or targeted for suspicions. Let's be clear, racism is about the effects our actions and words have on others rather than our intentions. Once the majority starts to realize this particular fact, we can weed out casual racism "NOW."

Casual racism can marginalize, humiliate, and degrade

The moment we stop considering how our remarks and actions might be influencing those on the receiving end, we already caused harm even if our conduct was not motivated through hate or any form of malice. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, racism affects the physical and mental health of abused victims. It affects their dignity as an equal member of the society caused by accumulated acts of racism micro-aggressions.

Standing up against violent acts of racism is necessary. Still, we cannot ignore the subtle ways in which casual racism creates long-term damage to the society hiding behind the shadow of the status quo. These smaller acts create a bigger difference tomorrow.


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