How to deal with racial discrimination in college and future career?
I am excited about beginning the second quarter of my life, however, the aching fear is always scratching my back. I am scared to go to many places because I do not want to deal with racism but I know I have to encounter it one day. I know my first reaction will be to cry but I want to be able to deal with these things maturely.
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1. Racism is the problem of the racist.
The need to feel superior to another person based upon physical and genetic characteristics is a sure sign that the person in question has nothing else in his life which seem to indicate superiority of any kind. The more overtly racist they are, the more obviously pathetic they are in every other way.
2. Choose your battles.
In your long and successful career, the ugly, hateful assumptions and microaggressions are likely to be so numerous that going to battle against every single one would be crazy-making. So, too, would never taking a stand. I suggest that you figure out the right combination of situations that demand an immediate response and situations where your response will be particularly meaningful. As you rise in seniority, always be the champion of those lower down the hierarchy than you are.
Remember that it is not the words or the actions of the bigot that will define who you become. Rather, your response is what matters. Cultivate those responses as you would any other skill. Forgive yourself if you make a mistake. Analyze the outcomes and discuss with trusted advisors what you might have done better. This way, you will grow and thrive as the bigots wallow in their incompetence, thinking racial categorization will hide it.
I am a Chinese woman who came to America when I was 7. I barely spoke English and I was constantly fearful of not being good enough or not fitting in all the way. What I learned is that once you truly believe in yourself and your capabilities, whether it be academic, sports, whatever, that fear will disappear.
So please instead of putting effort in being fearful of the world, put that energy into bettering yourself. I promise you will not regret it.