Racism is not something many of us would like to speak about in polite conversation, let alone in public, but unfortunately not addressing the very real problem facing our society only gives strength to its perpetrators.
So let’s say you yourself, as not only a citizen of the UK but a human being, firmly stand against racism and are able recognise the very real danger it poses to not only your neighbours but yourself as well. Racism does not only tragically effect those that have to face the uglier side of humanity, but all of us, as a society that allows racism to persist is not beneficial to any member.
That is all well enough and good, every person should be able to look into themselves and find that they hold no assumptions, fears, or hatreds aimed at a group of people simply because of the colour of their skin or perceived nationality, and certainly not propagating hateful viewpoints is one way to go about snuffing out their existence, though this at times is not enough.
Unfortunately being able to say that you yourself are not discriminating against others is not simply enough to eliminate and fully address the complicated issue that is racism within the UK. The moment often calls for all of us to stand together to fight the devastating effects of racism, this is where groups like the National Assembly Against Racism, Stand Up to Racism, Stop Hate UK, and Show Racism the Red Card come into play.
These concerted efforts allow us as a society to rally around our neighbours and show support when needed while actively targeting racism where it breeds. While each group goes about ending racism in their own way, the underlying message of accepting people for who they are rather than how they look is strongly carried within each organisation.
The power of coming together as one
Often news outlets will portray the efforts of anti-racist organisations as simply counter protest movements or, depending on the view of the publication, even as violent provocation. While there is a bit of truth to that claim, of course anti-racist organisations often plan to hold counter rallies opposing gatherings of racists and bigots in the streets of our cities, and as they should, letting such viewpoints to be openly expressed victimises vulnerable members of our society, though movements against racism are so much more than simply reactions to a gathering of racists.
Many of these organisations create community outreach programs that give those suffering from the ugliness of racism an opportunity to share their experience and find others who stand beside them.
Others, like Show Racism the Red Card, provide educational outreach programs aimed at teaching the youth of the UK the harmful effects racism can have on their peers while showing them ways to recognise racist behaviours and ways to prevent them.
More than just another voice in the fight
While these groups and many like them often are the starting point for much of the counter protest that take place, any time individuals decide to take the streets and spread misinformed assumptions about others or just outright hate, no society should allow the open victimisation of any of its members, the services they provide extend way beyond banners and bullhorns.
These groups are often the forefront of campaigns against racism as well the frontline in times of crisis.
One particular group, Stop Hate UK, has built its organisation around giving those affected by racism an outlet to report the incidents and resources to defend themselves within the courts. By providing a strong united front against racism while simultaneously standing beside those that have unfortunately felt the sting of racist beliefs, the group works to end antiquated and wrong beliefs held concerning race but also show those struggling with its effects that they are not alone in the situation.
Shinning a light on the situation
Beyond providing indispensable efforts towards eliminating racism where it is created and facing it when it rears its head, these groups give society a deliberate watch dog against racism. Unfortunately as many people who don’t regularly encounter racism within their daily lives, or fail to realise the signs, are unaware of many of the problems, incidents, and cases that are taking place within their country, these groups prove valuable in shining a light on what might be overlooked, thus making the problem very much everyone’s problem.
While groups like the NAAR, Stop Hate UK, and Shoe Racism the Red Card have made quite a good amount of progress in helping end the plight that is racism, their existence, and the existence of groups like them, is very much a necessary component of moving forward towards a better society.