ISPI's Recommendations Of ISPI On Improving Race Relations In The US:
The Think Tank, ISPI, feels that the analysis of the Muslim experience reveals that the way race relations can be improved is by changing attitudes through the tool of education. Removal and reduction of ignorance about each other that, the think tank feels, is at the root of most prejudice can be achieved only through education. All other strategies would be supplementary and secondary to education, as without a change in heart, legal and other remedies would be only minimally effective and even counter productive. The following recommendations may not result in a short term or quick change in race relations, but should produce lasting long-term results.
- Religion, culture and practices of all of the major ethnic groups and minorities should be part of the curriculum, celebrating and recognizing diversity and pluralism in the society.
- History should be taught with a global rather than an Euro-centric viewpoint, which would allow for a more balanced perspective and eliminate jingoism. This is already being done in selected institutions and should be made a more universal practice.
- All schools and colleges should be taught courses in how to recognize and deal with stereotyping.
- There should be improved access to and improvement in quality of education in schools and colleges in underprivileged areas. Improved access and better quality of schools would provide a level playing field and produce individuals who are competitive and will be successful. The underprivileged groups should take a more active initiative and role in self-help.
- The news media should be held to high standards they claim to follow.
- There should be a watchdog group that should consist of individuals from the media, the academic institutions and well-respected members of the general public to keep an eye on the elite media. Stories, which are clearly slanted, or show prejudice, should be brought to the attention of this oversight group to exert moral pressure on the media to edit or revoke the story. Currently, if a group has been prejudicially represented, the only recourse it has is to approach the media responsible for the offense to begin with. Consequently the resolution of these complaints is dependent on the whims of the individuals controlling that particular medium of communication and is at best erratic.
- Judicious use of class action suits against the news media may prove to be a powerful deterrent against careless or irresponsible journalism.
- Courses in how to recognize stereotyping should be a mandatory part of any training of law enforcement officers.
- There should also be an outside, civilian watchdog group. Some large police departments already have watchdog groups, however, many suburban or small villages don't. There should be pressure brought to set up these groups. There may even be a possibility of federal law to achieve that.
- There should be advisory councils to all major legislative committees. These advisory councils should be consulted and approve legislation which involves a particular minority group.
- Our group was unable to reach a consensus on the future role of affirmative action. However the majority was in favor of affirmative action based on need. The need may have arisen because of the circumstances of birth, race, poverty, or other special situations. These individuals who find themselves in a disadvantaged position, not of their own making, should be given a head start in competing with others to break the unjust cycle of inequities resulting from social class and poverty.
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