Confronting racism can be hard. That’s true if it’s the explicit racism seen in white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville this month or more implicit institutional racism that exists in everyday life. Because it’s hard, we have to practice, according to Penn GSE’s Howard Stevenson.
“In our work, we think hate is socialized,” Stevenson told WHYY’s RadioTimes. “We think how you deal with hate is socialized. And you can also socialize people to speak up in the face of hate, and that takes practice.”
Appearing with Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler and Rabbi Mordechi Liebling, Stevenson stressed that it’s important for people who are the targets of racism not to become consumed with hate themselves. He also stressed that people cannot lose sight of the humanity of others.
“If you think about what it takes for people who are so threatened that they need a torch and a gun to actually express their voice, it means they feel very weak when it comes to saying what they actually want to say,” Stevenson said. “They need all this armor to say what they mean.”