5 ways to advance the conversation when dealing with prejudice

It is often the case that people are unaware of their own inherent prejudice and other people who do identify someone's discrimination are sometimes unable to confront them or maintain a constructive conversation.

On the back of discussions around race and transformation in South Africa, primarily based on the #Rhodesmustfall and other statue debacles, Marsha called in to CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies.

I would just like to mention that I don't want to have any cohesion with the blacks at all - nothing...They give off a stench, you got it?

Marsha

CapeTalk listeners respond to Marsha's racist remarks:

5 things to do when confronted by prejudice

So how is one meant to react to prejudice remarks or behaviour, in order to advance the conversation?

1. Do not ignore the prejudice.

By remaining silent on matters involving prejudice thinking, we indirectly allow the prejudice to continue to exist.

2. Try not to respond with anger.

The video below explains how thoughts that make you angry are the ones most likely to be spread and be reproduced in a counter-productive ways. It illustrates how angry disagreements tend to work on divisive binaries, which argue among themselves, as opposed to with each other.

The more angry thoughts are shared, the more they are changed and distorted to be more aggravating. These have a better chance of spreading than more accurate but boring facts.

3. Separate who the person is from what it is they said.

In the video below, commentator, Jay Smooth advises that people distinguish between what someone has done or said, from what or who they are. These are two separate discussion, and for the purposes of advancing the dialogue, it is better to hold each person accountable for their words and actions.

When somebody picks my pocket, I'm not going to chase him down to figure out if he feels like he is a thief. I don't care what he is, but I need to hold him accountable for what he did.

4. Remember that discomfort is sometimes necessary

Don't forget that having uncomfortable questions and conversations is crucial to the understanding and appreciation of diversity. This is preferred over pretending that everything is equally respected. The video below unpacks the importance of uncomfortable discussions.

The first step to solving any problem, is to not hide from it. Sharing of experiences makes us a little less anxious and a little more bold in our conversations about race.

5. Most importantly, remember that the conversations are necessary

Above everything else, keep in mind that prejudice is a result of a lack of understanding. The only way for people to shed their ignorance is through discussions and other efforts to engage in awareness.

CapeTalk's Africa Melane continued the discussion on prejudice and asked listeners to share their experiences on how they deal with it. Listen to the full conversation below:

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