The Importance of Racial Awareness

Acknowledging biases and privileges that spark conversations and social change


Traci Iyamabo

The Abington High School’s library with its collection of Black literature.

Traci Iyamabo, Contributor

The first step to fostering an anti-racist society is acknowledging that racism exists. Racial awareness is paramount to promoting social change. 

Unknowingly, people centralize their treatment and judgement toward a particular race on a set of socially internalized beliefs. Not only can bias persuade a doctor to deny a person of color medication, but it can also sway the opinions of jurors that determine the ruling of a case. As people neglect their privileges and biases, it grants them a pass to turn a blind eye toward racism and not tackle the weighted history and emotional distress that accompanies it. Racial awareness fosters deep conversations that enrich people with new insights on racial issues. Discerning these implicit biases and engaging in meaningful conversations prompt society to cultivate a deeper understanding of the influence it has on the world and to take action against it.

Racial awareness fosters deep conversations that enrich people with new insights on racial issues

— Traci Iyamabo

Not to mention, racial awareness allows us to deconstruct the persuasive ideology of the colorblindness – the “I don’t see race” mindset. A handful of people are uncomfortable when it comes to talking about race due to a lack of racial awareness, hence propounding color-blindness as a conflict-free way for all groups to coexist. Globally, there is an array of cultures, norms, ethnicities, and customs. It is not only salient to acknowledge and embrace these differences, but to also be open-minded to the social barriers that these groups face.  

Racial consciousness sets the foundation for a socially-aware world, as it leads to self-reflection, profound conversations, and ultimately, action.