Thank you for your question. When having a conversation with anyone about racism, it’s important to begin by defining terms so that a person can recognize their behaviour within the given definition. For example, if my sibling was making fun of or endorsing stereotypes of a particular cultural or religious group, I might use the Oxford Dictionary to define their behaviour as:

  • Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
  • The belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.

Once my sibling is able to recognize their behaviour as falling within the definition of racism, I would point out that racism, discrimination, prejudice, bias all stem from arrogance. Coming from an Islamic perspective, I would then speak with my sibling, offering sincere advice about the impact of arrogance by reminding myself and them that:

  • The Prophet (SAW) said, “No one will enter Paradise in whose heart is an atom’s weight of arrogance.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi)
  • Allah does not like the arrogant (Quran 16:23)
  • The enmity between Iblees and Adam is based on arrogance (Quran 7:12)

I would then continue the conversation with my sibling about the final message of our Prophet (SAW) where he clearly told us that racism does not have any place in the heart of one who claims to believe in Allah and the Last Day:

  • All human beings are from Adam and Eve; an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor does a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white person has no superiority over a black person nor does a black person have any superiority over a white person, except by piety and good action.

We are living in a time where humanity needs to work towards eracism, to stop the erasure of humanity by racism. Keep in mind that this is not always an easy topic to bring up with anyone, let along family members. So be patient and respectful when sharing the above information.