Racial discrimination scars those it touches. It also costs money. Big money. A recent study put the economic impact of racism at nearly $2 trillion a year in the United States alone.

Racism is the belief that inherited characteristics like skin color make one group superior or inferior to others. It can be embedded in a society’s institutions, where it affects policies on lending, hiring, housing and education. When people’s biases lead them to treat others unfairly, that’s racism too.

By denying people the right to work or go to school, racial discrimination reduces earnings and productivity. That means less money in the pockets of those affected by racism — and a lower GDP for their country.

“When people face barriers to achieving their full potential, the loss of talent, creativity, energy, and productivity is a burden not only for those disadvantaged, but for communities, businesses, governments, and the economy as a whole,” according to the study “The Business Case for Racial Equity.”

What do you see in the posters above? Every one of us plays a role in reinforcing or breaking down racial stereotypes and prejudices.

Take a stand on March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Share what you are doing to combat racism using the hashtag #FightRacism.

Posters courtesy of the United Nations