An Unwanted Lesson

A global problem

Racism is a matter of growing concern amongst the nations of the world. Far from being a social ill restricted to one or two countries, the moral disease of racism spans communities, countries, and continents. Racism is a complex issue. At the core of any working definition of racism is the unspoken ingredient of fear. People around the world all belong to the same human race; they share the same tendencies to fear, domination, and subjugation. Hence, inevitably, racism is a world-wide issue. Mankind has been unable to embrace and celebrate the uniqueness of the various ethnic groups. Instead, fear has taken control. Xenophobia, defined as an intense fear and dislike of foreign people, or simply racial intolerance, is a disease reaching epidemic proportions.

Racism and Prejudice

Let’s define both terms first to gain a better understanding and to know the difference between them.

Prejudice involves stereotypical thinking and is something that individuals may or may not evidence. Racism does not need, although it tends to spawn, prejudice. An example of how racism can exist without racial prejudice is institutional racism in which overt or covert prejudice may not even exist, but the institution itself in its operations and outcomes is indisputably racist.
Racism is both an ideology and a system of domination. In systems that are racist, some groups by virtue of the group that they are labeled as belonging to are considered inferior and less deserving of the rights that the superior group or groups enjoy. Race is a social construction and not a biological feature. In biological terms, there is only the human race; there are not subcategories of distinctly different “races.” The notion of race (whites, blacks, etc.) is socially (and historically) constructed and not a natural physical or biological category.

Prejudice is then a more of a broad meaning of racism , Because prejudice is not only about a certain ethnicity but could be about religion , sexual orientations , socioeconomic status , age , sex and many more elements , while racism is about race itself. not all prejudice people are racist but all racist people are prejudice.

Can a person be prejudice without being racist ?

Yes. A classic example would be cold war America’s prejudice towards the people of the USSR. This had nothing to do with race, but was prejudged hatred towards a nation of people. Most Americans could not have told you that the USSR was composed of people from a wide variety of races, they were just “Commos”.

When certain types of prejudice can be labelled racism ?

It happens when you allow your personal opinion to influence other people’s rights , so if you are prejudiced against a certain group says like Muslims and you call for Muslims immigrants to be denied access to a certain country , or Labelling them terrorists ,You are then a racist. So Islamophobia could be considered Racism in this particular case.

The last piece to the puzzle is sexism, if you think a certain gender
( male or female ) shouldn’t have certain rights like a political vote , or the right to have a driving license ! you are no longer prejudiced but a racist.

Are we born racists?

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, author of Are We Born Racist?, said in an interview with UC Berkeley, ‘Research shows that human beings have a natural proclivity to make distinctions between “us” and “them.”

‘That natural proclivity has a survival value. You want to know who to trust and share resources with, and who is your enemy.’

But Mendoza-Denton said that racial prejudice isn’t hardwired into the brain, just the capacity for prejudice.

The first thing to understand is that the “in-group” and “out-group” distinctions that we talked about before, that define “us” and “them,” are highly malleable. Whether it’s race, class, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, research shows that the specific identities that we are prejudiced toward or against can change.

That’s an important finding. A few years ago, research that made headlines seemed to suggest that we are hardwired to be racist. Scientists found that when research subjects were asked to make distinctions between photos of black and white faces, a part of the brain called the amygdala lit up. The amygdala is part of the limbic system, an evolutionary early part of the brain, so the findings seemed to show that biases are a very basic, primitive response. But we’ve since discovered that the amygdala lights up when people are asked to make almost any kind of socially relevant distinction, positive or negative. When research subjects are asked to distinguish between team members and nonmembers, for example, the amygdala lights up.

So the answer to the question ” Are we born racists ? ” is very simple , We are not born racists but the current scientific understanding is that we’re hardwired to make distinctions that are helpful in navigating our social world but not to be racist per se.

Famous Racism acts

The Nazi belief that the Aryan Race is superior to any other race was a unique Racism act , Because they went to invade Poland and Denmark and many other countries like France and The UK , what is in common between all of these countries that they all have the same skin color. Yet a higher sense of superiority amongst the Germans was emerging. So it was a matter of pride in their nation, which is highlighted in Nazi Germany’s ally the Independent State of Croatia rejected the common conception that Croats were primarily a Slavic people and claimed that Croats were primarily the descendents of the Germanic Goths.However the Nazi regime continued to classify Croats as “subhuman” in spite of the alliance. And we all know what happened when a racist regime was in power , The holocaust ! Need we say more ?

Another famous act was The Ku Klux Klan as it was basically based in the south of America. Here they targeted those set free after the American Civil War – the African Americans. The KKK had never considered the former slaves as being  free and terrorised Africa American families based in the South. America experienced great economic prosperity during the 1920’s but not much of it filtered to the South. Racism mixed with anger at their economic plight formed a potent cocktail.

Many different groups had emigrated to America over the years. One group – the Blacks – had been brought there against their will and after the success of the northern states during the Civil War and the freeing of the Blacks from slavery in 1865, a sinister group was established which was designed to spread fear throughout the Black population that still lived in the southern states. This was the KKK. Only WASP’s could belong to it —  White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. It is a common myth that the KKK targeted only the Blacks – also hated were the Jews, Catholics, liberals etc but most hatred was directed against the poor black families in the south who were very vulnerable to attack.
Their crimes are well documented as they have written American history with blood instead of ink.

How to detect a racist behavior

Few people would willingly label themselves as racist. We all know the bigot who will start dehumanizing stories with the disclaimer, “I’m not racist, but…” Very often, as a tool to prevent themselves from viewing themselves as bigoted, racists will construct a myth that there is a difference between the subset of people of color they hate and people of color as a whole. This manifests itself most visibly as the trope that “there is a difference between a black person and a the ” n word.”
This is actually entirely what racists do. This is called tokenism: the practice of only welcoming select members of a marginalized identity, particularly those who have acclimated to the dominant group. Racists occasionally celebrate people of color who have gravitated away from their identity and toward the white majority, just as Islamophobes occasionally celebrate ex-Muslims who have cast aside their
” supposedly ” harmful beliefs. Islamophobia manifests itself through the surface characteristics of race. We wrongly think we can judge another’s character by the color of their skin, the style of their clothing, or the Middle Eastern sound of their name. This is not a vigilance worth protecting; this is a racism, a societal evil that needs to be opposed.

Color blinded soceity

We cannot create a color-blind society.  It is unfortunate, but true.  Our prejudices follow us; they affect our thinking and our actions.  Properly reinforced, those prejudices can become bigotry and racism.  So the “color-blind, raceless” society is an impossible dream.

And precisely why is “black pride” a positive thing, but “white pride” redundant and abhorrent?  Rather than suggest that “black pride” is a positive and “white pride” is a negative, why not accept the fact that pride in something one cannot help or change is redundant and abhorent?  Rather than  perpetuate the idea that minorities are oppressed and need special treatment, let us embrace the idea that people are created equal, but their actions and behaviors lead them to greater or lesser lives.  Proposing the “black pride” is good an “white pride” is bad only perpetuates the idea of white superiority and reinforces the prejudice and resentment that can become racism.

No, “white pride” is not productive.  Neither is “black pride.”  Both perpetuate a negative categorization and reinforce prejudice.

When we “celebrate diversity” by talking about it in adult terms–that is, by discussion minorities and ignoring white diversity–it perpetuates the idea among white children that whites are somehow different, somehow superior.  Children aren’t as empty a slate as we often credit them for being.  They perceive and infer far better than we like to think.  When we celebrate diversity but only talk about minorities, both white and minority children see this, and form new prejudices based upon it

Until and unless we celebrate all diversity, we will continue to perpetuate prejudice in America.  Until celebrations of Swedish, Polish and Italian culture is put on an equal plateau with celebrating the cultures of Mexicans, Nigerians and Indians, that seemingly imperceptible omission will be noticed, recorded and internalized.  It will reinforce new prejudices and, uncorrected, can become resentment and even hate.

Racism in sports

Sports should be all about fair play and healthy competing with others however the sports field has been plagued by many dark incidents of racism , I’ll just mention a couple of them , Ex Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been the subject of more than 4,000 racist messages via social media this season, according to research from anti-discrimination body Kick It Out. Thats an enormous amount of pressure on one single human ,And the other incident when Villarreal have been fined €12,000 (£9,850) by the Spanish Football Federation after a fan threw a banana at Barcelona defender Dani Alves.
The Brazilian, 30, picked up the banana and took a bite as he prepared to take a corner in the La Liga match between the sides last month.
That’s a brilliant gesture from him , To mock them back.

Racism is a crime that the law should punish

Racism violates article 12 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
” No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family , home or correspondence. Nor to attacks to his honor and reputation , Everyone has the right to protection of the law against such interferences or attacks ” . Racism is also a very touchy subject for some people, as issues concerning free speech and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights come into play. Some people argue that talking about supporting racial discrimination and prejudice is just words and that free speech should allow such views to be aired without restriction. Others point out that these words can lead to some very dire and serious consequence.

An Unwanted Lesson

So we are not born racists ? Yet the society changes us to be.
The way I see it …. We will never be able to eliminate racism from our world but we can reduce it , Let’s put laws in our constitutions that penalize such racist behaviors, by starting from our own houses . Let’s teach our children to celebrate diversity . to teach them to accept ” others ” no matter what their ethnicity is , no matter what their color of skin is , Let’s create a better world. Let’s not teach them an unwanted lesson.

Are we ‘born racist?’ Expert suggests prejudice is hardwired into us all





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