Rebel Well: For People of Color

This piece is part of Rebel Well: a Starter Survival Guide to a Trumped America for Teens and Emerging Adults.

Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action ― Malcolm X

It’s highly likely that significant civil rights gains of the last 50 years are about to be pushed back, as has already happened with voting rights. You may encounter not just difficulty voting, but also increases in workplace harassment, housing discrimination, unequal treatment at school, and other prejudicial treatment. In some of these cases, people may be violating the law, emboldened by the white supremacists in Washington D.C. and convinced they can get away with it. Take advantage of resources at civil rights organizations that can provide you with information when your rights are violated on your best options; historically government agencies like the Department of Justice were responsible for protecting civil rights but changes in their administration may make them less reliable. When in doubt, document the basics of the incident(s) and keep it in a safe place. If you are in the process of pursuing a discrimination case, fast track it.

Dangerous encounters with law enforcement — already a problem — are likely to get worse and more frequent, and our law enforcement guide has more information on handling police encounters. You are entitled to the same civil rights as anyone else in a police encounter, including the right to record, ask officers for their names and badge numbers, request information about why you are being stopped or held, and ask for an attorney if you are under arrest. If witnesses are present, make sure they can clearly see and hear what is going as well.

Racism, already a powerful part of the fabric of society, on both a micro and macro level, is also getting worse. You deserve dignified treatment and have a right to speak up when you aren’t receiving it. Finding community can help you build support networks to deal with racism. When you receive racist treatment from a teacher, bus driver, clerk, or anyone else in a professional context, file a complaint with the details of the incident — you are not an acceptable target for hatred because you are a young person of color.


all of rebel well: front page •  why we made this guide • for everyone • healthcare • relationships & sex • conflict resolution • for those suffering harassment online, at school or at work • for those in abusive/controlling relationships, or who are homeless, transient or in the foster system • for those who are trans or LGBQ • for those who are of color • for those who experience religious intolerance or who are undocumented citizens • for those who are disabled • for those interacting with the justice system • for those engaging in active protest • when everything seems terrible or nowhere feels safe • how to help each other & improve this godawful mess • resources and helplines