SHARPENING OUR STANCE AGAINST CASUAL RACISM

Cultural shifts across the decades have deepened our understanding of what is considered racist. Behaviours that were once deemed as merely distasteful are now recognised as significantly more insidious.

Against this backdrop, it is no longer enough to assume that awareness alone will render one “less racist” or less prone to acts of casual racism. After all, individuals may have biases and habits that perpetuate their prejudice.

First, there is a need to reject bad behaviour in everyday settings actively. Given that many spend a significant portion of their waking hours at work, employers play a crucial role in rebuffing casual racism.

This starts with acknowledging that seemingly innocuous acts or comments should not be dismissed as harmless. Cultural competency training programmes can help sensitise employees to the perspectives of others and equip them with the skills to navigate a diverse workplace respectfully.

Establishing clear channels for reporting and addressing grievances, in tandem with the existing Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) framework, is another important step in creating discrimination-free environments.

Second, it is essential to implement corrective actions for those who perpetrate casual racism.

These must go beyond punitive measures, focusing instead on education, awareness, and the opportunity for personal growth and understanding. By engaging individuals in dialogue over and above mere sanctions, we can challenge and change the underlying attitudes and assumptions that fuel casual racism.

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