Racism is in every person’s DNA so people should try to ensure that it is overcome by rationality, which itself should be trained to behave in a certain manner so as to not feel threatened, said Professor Afsan Chowdhury.
Bullying mostly starts at home and must be addressed to deal with the associated post traumatic stress disorder, said the teacher of the Department of English and Humanities at BRAC University (BRACU).
Professor Chowdhury was addressing students at BRACU’s Mohakhali campus auditorium during an ongoing “Anti-Bullying Awareness Campaign Week” themed “Respecting Each Other for Who We Are”.
Organised by the BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL), Office of Co-curricular Activities (OCA) and Counseling Unit, the campaign aims on having interactive sessions to create awareness and develop strategies to effectively prevent bullying.
The campaign’s fourth day on 16 May 2018 focused on prejudice and racism.
Joining Professor Chowdhury at the session, Dr Erum Mariam, director of the Institute of Educational Development, relived her experience of unfounded racism of majority communities against the Mandi, Rohingya and Sreemangal tea workers’ communities.
The day started with psychosocial counselors and lecturers Safina Binte Enayet and Anne Anthonia Baroi acting out real life scenarios, saying victims often felt isolated, withdrawn, depressed, aggressive and had low self-esteem.
They suggested being assertive, not blaming oneself, to trust instincts, see the bigger the picture, see help, get involved and set priorities.
Professor Sabina Faiz Rashid, dean of James P Grant School of Public Health, gave a presentation on bullying she faced while growing up abroad and that centring difference in urban/rural areas, language, superficial features and perceptions of being cool and uncool.
Students of BRAC University Cultural Club presented songs.
Singer Jon Kabir was the celebrity speaker, administering an oath before students and asking to shun bullying in social media, especially during the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
He also explained the meanings of his tattoos, saying he had bypassed sentiments centring it in front of the Kakrail mosque by claiming to be of the Christian faith.
OCA Director Dilara Afroz Khan moderated the program while Lady Syeda Sarwat Abed, founder and director of the BIL, was present.