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Racial justice : Definition, Initiatives, Organizations

3 minutes read

- Written by Yubo Team

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the unequal treatment of the black community, our users had countless conversations on how they can educate themselves and others on antiracism, racial justice, and systemic inequality. This was one of our most talked about topics in 2021, so we thought we would provide a guide for the basics of racial justice, and how our GenZ users feel about it.

Definition : What is racial justice? 

Racial justice is the systematic fair treatment of all people, resulting in fair opportunities and outcomes for everyone. Earlier this Year, to celebrate UK Black History Month, Yubo hosted a Live with Racial Justice and Anti-Racism Advocate, Kaia Allen-Beven who shared that “ordinary citizens can integrate daily antiracism practices in their daily lives” in order to work towards ending the current social, economic and political disenfranchisement of historically marginalized and minority ethnic groups. She told viewers that we need values and institutions that ensure fairness and justice, but that starts at the individual level by “bringing activism into their own homes and daily practices”. 


What is racial equity and social justice? 

Racial equity is actualized fairness and justice; and is the condition that would be achieved if one's racial identity no longer predicted, statistically, the outcomes of a person’s life. Meanwhile, social justice is fairness in society as a whole. During a live session, Kaia explained how there are many intersections between racial equity and social justice. One example she shared was in “fast fashion [where there is] intersectionality between environmentalism and how that disproportionately affects people of color, especially black people.” She said that this intersection shows the importance of individual and institutional change because while “we want to take down corporations” that are destroying the environment for fast fashion“ at our level to get that big change takes a long time, so it is about us as individuals having a conversation about why fast fashion is bad” These conversations allow us to reflect on ourselves and educate others at the same time.


What is the difference between equity and equality? 

Equity and equality are completely different from one another. Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities; meanwhile, equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the specific resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 


How do you define race?

Race is a social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on certain characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly skin color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification. However, this is only a technical definition of race. When Kaia asked participants in the Live “what does being Black mean to you?” They said it means “happiness”, “to be able to fight through all struggles that you face”, and “a power in society because it was something that was meant to be used as a negative thing, but our community flipped it and made it mean something beautiful”. 


What is social disparity? 

Social disparity is the condition in which unequal opportunities, rights, benefits, incentives are afforded to some, but not to others. This is due to their membership, or non-membership, to a particular class, gender, age group, or race. Currently, social disparity is often manifested in the lack of opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment and the racial wealth gap of historically marginalized and minority groups. 


What is racial profiling? 

Racial profiling is when the police use generalization based on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin, rather than individual behavior, specific suspect descriptions or intelligence. As one user, Steven, put it: “the police are more likely to stop a group of black guys than a group of white guys and it’s not fair at all if we are going about in our everyday lives”. Police officers are racially profiling when they view people as suspicious because of who they are, what they look like, or where they pray, rather than what they have done, and this has resulted in the police brutality which sparked the Black Lives Matter Movement

One user on Kaia’s live shared that racial profiling makes him “scared, as me being a black man, I was scared because if what happened to [Eric Garner and Tamira Rice’s died at the hands of police], who did nothing wrong at all, what can happen to me?”. He stated that this fear is what made him join the Black Lives Matter movement because now there is a movement for “people speaking out against the police, and holding police officers accountable who had been getting away with [racial profiling and police brutality] for decades”. 


How does race affect sentencing? 

The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, and the system is set up to disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities. Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. The disproportionate effect of race on sentencing is an example of “what happened, and what is still happening to the extent of it being modern-day slavery” according to Kaia. 


What causes racial health disparities? 

Racial health disparities are caused by the conditions in which people live, including access to good food, water, and housing; the quality of schools, workplaces, and communities; and the composition of social networks and nature of social relations. Racial health disparities are systematic differences in the opportunities groups towards achieving optimal health, leading to unfair and avoidable differences in health outcomes. 

Racial justice organizations that you can support 

Racial justice and equity will never be achieved by one leader or one group alone. It’ll take an array of activists and organizations operating at all levels, from the local to the international, to make change happen. Here are some organizations doing everything they can to make racial equity a reality:

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter is a dynamic, chapter-based, international organization whose goal is to create a world where violence is no longer inflicted on Black people. On the live, when asked what the BLM movement means to him, a user said that he feels “very proud of the Black Lives Matter movement” because “it is very effective at making change… and has achieved police reform, gone into education and helped black students in their schools when it comes down to fighting for teaching other parts of black history besides slavery”. 

Color of Change 

The Color of Change is the US’s largest online racial justice organization. It addresses racial inequality through campaigns that  move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ)

Showing Up for Racial Justice uses community organizing, mobilizing, and education, to move white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for racial justice.

Black Youth Project

Young Black Americans are often talked about in the media, but it seems like they’re rarely heard from. The Black Youth Project provides a much-needed platform for the ideas and voices of Black millennials. The Black Youth project is so important because according to Mahalia “it can take years for a black person to get recognized compared to a person who isn’t black”. 


What is the purpose of the racial justice act?

The North Carolina Racial Justice Act, serves to ensure that the death penalty is not invoked on the basis of race. It was enacted in 2009 after comprehensive studies from studies in North Carolina and other southern states showed racial bias in the administration of the death penalty. The Racial Justice Act is one of the critical pieces of the criminal justice system today that is trying to combat the system’s disproportionate harm in Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.


What are racial justice initiatives?

Racial justice initiatives work to achieve racial equality and end racism. They strive to advance genuinely inclusive and equitable social, democratic, and economic institutions. Many of these initiatives are spearheaded by activists. An activist for racial justice is, according to Racial Justice and Anti-Racism Advocate Mahalia, “someone who puts a lot of time and effort into educating people on being Black and the issues amongst Black people”. These activists “work to change the narrative about what’s going on” according to Mahalia. They challenge dominant normative value of whiteness and replace exploitative practices with an anti-racist ethos that values diversity, inclusion, and reinforces the dignity of all people. 

Racial justice initiatives can also take the form of fairly funding, supporting, and promoting black culture, whether it be through it’s organizations, creators, or achievements. When we asked one user about this, he told us that “as a society, we could be promoting black and African cultures by having community cook out’s, family outings and community events to promote the culture”. Kaia echoed the importance of this for “bringing black excellence to the forefront, because it is very easy to associate blackness with its trauma, but to be able to say that blackness is beyond that, it is about the excellence” of people pursuing their passions even in the face of disproportionate oppression. 


Yubo and racial justice 

At Yubo we are taking action for racial justice by partnering with racial justice NGOs,  teaming up with BLM activists like Kaia Allen-Beven to host a racial justice Live Sessions, and helping our users leverage social media to fight for racial justice. Yubo has been a place for organizing for social change. During our Live session, Kaia and the fellow activists who joined her planned the best ways to advocate for racial justice beyond Black History Month. At Yubo our belief is that we can make a difference, but only if we all stand together

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