Episode 53: How to be more anti-racist
This year the issue of racial discrimination is forefront in our minds. It exists in every profession and every walk of life. It exists in ways we don’t always realise. It has raised many questions. It has created a sense of discomfort. And it isn’t going away.
When we don’t know the answer to something, we are encouraged to ask questions. The subject of racism is no different. Only, the subject of racism comes shrouded in societal shame. It’s time to shake off that shame and ask a few questions – or let You Are Not A Frog’s Dr Rachel Morris and Dr Abubakar Mohammad, GP and Wessex RCGP Executive board member ask them for you. This week they’re joined by their guest, Dr Aigbokhai Ohiwerei, a GP in Fareham and Whitely.
This week we ask; what’s in a name, what is racism, how do I speak up with confidence when I see injustice and why have people found speaking up so hard?
Racism exists in many forms and this week’s episode explores the many forms that it can take, from overt expressions (“Go back to your own country!”) to microaggressions (“Can I have another doctor please?”) and how this impacts on the lives of your team and patients.
Abu and Aigbokhai share how these issues have affected them and some of their colleagues and give some great examples of how combatting racism doesn’t have to be combative. It is in fact, more about choosing to speak up or through the right channels when you see or hear an injustice.
The team offer some great ways to challenge and question:
- Can you write your name for me to help me pronounce it correctly to patients?
- When you say (for example “You’re a foreigner though!”), what do you mean by that?
- When you hear someone misappropriate a term, or use a stereotype – gently explain how that is inferred as a racist statement (we all have done this without being aware – let’s help each other!)
- If you don’t feel comfortable talking, write an email or speak to someone who can share your voice.
Personal and societal change are big subjects and may make us uncomfortable with what we’ve witnessed previously or left unchallenged BUT the greatest thing we can do is listen to these experiences and learn how to make our practices, businesses and workplaces happier, harmonious and more equal.
The team share their top tips to help bring about change:
- The only wrong thing to say when you see injustice, is nothing.
- Just do it – speak up in a way that you are comfortable with.
- Reflect on yourself. Take a look at your personal biases and learned behaviours – what can you change, how can you contribute?
As a final thought and a direct quote, “It’s more powerful when you are in a position of privilege to speak up.” If you’re in a position of privilege, imagine just how much positive change you have the power to invoke today.
If you want to hear the further two episode in this series of three episodes commissioned by Wessex RCGP Faculty, please visit their website
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