A small change in perspective can lead to big changes in acceptance, says Hardev Singh Agimal
On a daily basis, thousands experience racism, discrimination, microaggressions and underrepresentation. This significantly impacts on people’s employment, mental health, relationships, and self-efficacy. These factors linger in our society and workplaces because of internalised racist stereotypes.
We know the definition of these terms. However, the actions are often unintentional, and the majority of people will not understand how or why they are an issue. Microaggressions I’ve experienced include being labelled ‘coloured’, someone asking ‘where in India I come from’, assuming English is a second language, insinuating I played on the school cricket team, being given an English nickname, or being regularly mistaken for other minority members.
As a profession, we should be breaking down these stereotypes, challenging this behaviour and fighting for change. CSP’s new equity, diversity and belonging strategy will help. But is that enough? Unfortunately, no. We, as individuals, also need to make changes to help achieve the strategy’s aims.
Not only should we be represented fairly, accurately and equally, we should be empowered to stand against these behaviours. This means the terms ‘colour blindness’, ‘I do not see colour’, or ‘I try and treat everyone the same’ aren’t acceptable. These statements ignore the fact that, although we all live in the same world, our society does not treat each person the same way.
Everyone has their own culture, background, beliefs, and colour and these need to be represented, respected and celebrated rather than ignored or belittled.
Small changes in perspective lead to big changes in behaviour, and those changes are going to make our profession, society and world a better place. It can be very daunting to advocate for one’s self; however, it is less daunting when those around you are also advocating for themselves and others.
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