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03/21/2003: international anti-racism day

Since it's after midnight here already, and thus the 21th...

March 21 is the international anti-racism day, iirc its official name is "International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" but I think that's a bit unwieldy, and also racism is more than just "racial discrimination." The day commemorates the anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa in 1960, when the police opened fire on anti-apartheid demonstrators. The UN declared it the "International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" in 1966.

Like the rest of these kinds of days it does little good if one doesn't try to be aware and active the rest of the year, but I still think they make sense. This year I'm not involved in any activities, though.

In the last few years I've learned a lot about racism and racist structures in discussions, and became more aware of how I perpetuate these things too, despite my best intentions not to act racist. I've also learned how important it is not to be defensive in these discussions, if there really is to be progress made. In a society that is permeated with subtle, structural (and even very open and explicit) racism, it's counterproductive to think that just because one doesn't want to be racist (or homophobic, or sexist...) one would magically not do, or say, or think racist (or homophobic, or sexist...) things anymore.

Posted by RatC @ 02:05 AM CET
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