Memorial cof ns on the US-Mexico barrier for those killed crossing the border fence in Tijuana, México. Foto: Archivo.
Editorial note Against discrimination: the power of imagination
It is no secret that, after the General Election, instances of discrimination against minorities have multiplied. The consequences are evident: some members of our community have been offended or made uncomfortable by expressions of racial hatred that directly affect them. What can you do in these cases? How to stop that painfully expanding stain? Sol de Medianoche suggests the following actions that can help our readers deal with discrimination. 1. Do not let yourself be crushed by fear. When a person is injured, they may feel vulnerable. In order to avoid pain, they might hide from any discomfort, which does not help them to resolve the situation in a positive way. Fear is not the best ally in the fight against discrimination because it makes us take unconsidered decisions and it tends to isolate us in an abyss that makes us feel more and more fragile.
2. Stop hate speech. Every person deserves respect not because he is an immigrant or a citizen, but because he is a human being. Regardless of the color of the skin, religion, country of origin, economic status or sexual orientation, we all have the right to be treated with dignity, and to say “enough” when witnessing any hate speech. You should not tolerate humiliation, but you have to be careful not to hurt back. When you respond to hatred with hatred, you risk causing pain that would only make the problem worse.
3. Dismantle stereotypes. Hate campaigns generally divide people between us and them. Then they create stereotypes of all of them. But stereotypes are like the dress that never fits us. Fortunately, people are always much larger than the tags some people want to apply them. Those who measure others through stereotypes, ignore the complexities of human kind. To step out of those oversimplifications, immigrants have to be aware of the greatness of their countries of origin and share it kindly.
4. Think about the cultural advantages of being an immigrant. Immigrants are fortunate to be immersed in two cultures, because they learn how difficult situations are faced in both. And this multiplies their tools for succeeding. Immigrants are not at a disadvantage with respect to anyone. On the contrary, their possibilities increase when they learn to see how positive it is to have a heart beating in two countries.
5. Know the culture of your country of origin and feel proud of it. Every country has fascinating cultural aspects that can be powerful engines of pride. There are countries that were the cradle of ancient civilizations, others are characterized by their exceptional cuisine, and some hold sites that are true natural paradises. When it comes to people, everyone has positive traits to highlight. Those who are proud of their roots are proud of themselves, and share their cultures with a smile. Almost no one dares to defy those who have a solid image of themselves and who respect that which made them.
6. Report. If you experience any kind of racism in a public office or private business, look for the competent authorities and report it. The United States is a country that has fought a long struggle for equality. In honor of that history, people living in this country have the right and the responsibility to denounce any discriminatory treatment.
7. Talk, build, create. When someone feels hurt, it is important to talk and vent frustrations with friends and trusted people. And try to create: writing, painting, acting, and doing community work are very helpful to heal our wounds. Instead of letting oneself be defeated by sadness, transform pain into something positive that helps our society to be more united, to accept our differences and to learn that the greatness of each person is found in what makes them different. We must be greater than hate: against discrimination, we must use the power of imagination.
Fighting racism is not comfortable and not easy, but it is especially necessary at this time. The challenge is to replace the wall of hatred with a bridge of solidarity that helps us to find ourselves and recognize ourselves as human beings, and to constantly remind us that we are all different, but that we are alike in facing the challenge of building a better country for everybody.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE CO. Sol de Medianoche is a bimonthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska