About the event
In 1979 the UN General Assembly voted that the 21st of March would be International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The 21st of March was chosen because on this day in 1960 South African police opened fire on peaceful, anti-aparthied demonstrators, killing 69 people. This day marks a week of solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination.
How to approach it
As with any situation of injustice. The clearest understanding of racism comes from those whom it affects directly. Allow those who experience and struggle against racism to speak for themselves. This will give students the most accurate and intimate understanding of the issues involved. There are many forms of testimony that can be used as resources. Films, documentaries, music, poems, literature, philosophy or speeches are all useful.
It is also important to give students an understanding of the many contexts in which racism is experienced globally. Racism in the UK may be very different from racism in South Africa, India or China. Equally racism for women, LGBTQ+ people, different classes or different religious groups will all affect people in different ways. When looking for resources, find a mix that spans a range of global identities. This will help students to think about racism critically in its different guises.
Systemic racism is when systems such as the school system, or the criminal justice system, are designed in a way that discriminates against people based on their skin colour. What impacts do you think repeated experiences of systemic racism has on a person and their opportunities? What must be done to end these often hidden forms of racism?