Against the recent developments regarding the shooting of unarmed black men and women in the USA, it is pertinent to state here and now that endemic racism is not limited to the USA alone. Endemic racism has been well documented in other countries and societies as well, simply because certain group of people in our society feels they are more superior to other races. It is a ruse that has been propagated for decades if not centuries, this article will critically examine the aspects of racism, it’s impact on human society and the ways and means by which this scourge afflicting the human race can be tackled.
ORIGIN OF RACISM
The idea of racism is a relatively modern concept, arising from the European age of imperialism, the subsequent growth of capitalism and especially the trans Atlantic slave trade, of which it was a major factor. This factor led to the birth of racial segregation in the USA in the 19th century and early 20th century. Racism in western culture is particularly well documented and has constituted a reference point in past studies and recent discourse about racism. That racism played a part in past genocides that include the Holocaust, the American genocide and the genocide of Serbs. Racism has also been responsible for the deportation of ethnic minorities in the former Soviet Union, and it has also been the driving force in genocides perpetrated on the African continent.
There are various types of racism endured by people in the different parts of the world, these are
This is a term that refers to the use of science to justify and support racist beliefs, which dates back to the early 18th century, though it gained prominence in the mid 19th century, during the New imperialism period. This is also sometimes known as academic racism in which theories were used in order to overcome the resistance the church, in which the church believed in positivity accounts of history and it’s support for monogenism, which is the concept that all human beings originated from the same ancestors in accordance with the theory of creation. At the end of the 19th century, proponents of scientific racism intertwined themselves with eugenics discourse of “degeneration of the race” and “blood heredity” before this theory was disqualified by the American school of cultural anthropology and the British school of anthropology. Scientific theory was based primarily on the following postulations:
Heredity and Eugenics
This theory was developed in 1869 by Francis Galton (1822-1911), who used the then popular concept degeneration. It was him who applied statistics to study human differences and the alleged “inheritance of intelligence” foreshadowing the future uses of “intelligence testing” by anthropometry. Such theories were further advanced by other people especially the writer known as Emile Zola(1840-1902), who linked heredity to behaviour through his writings. Let it be known that during Nazism in Germany, heredity and eugenics were made to be official state policy and the end result of that evil policy was what led to the genocide of the Jews and other minorities in Germany and it is what the world is still grappling with today.
Polygenism and Stereo-typologies
This racist theory is based simply on biology while at the same time applying the principle of heredity and eugenics. Publications such as the one by Arthur de Gobineau’s “An Essay on the Inequality of the human race” (1853-1855) was based on an essentialist notion of race which proclaims the classification of the human race on the bases of biological differences. It was a publication that postulated that the European race or Aryan race is superior to all other races. This theory drew it’s inspiration from the earlier works of Francis Galton.
TYPES OF RACISM
Tis is a form of implicit racism, in which a person’s un conscious negative evaluations of racial or ethnic minorities are realized by a persistent avoidance of interaction with the other racial or ethnic groups. As opposed to traditional, overt racism, which is characterized by overt hatred or discrimination against other racial minorities, aversive racism is characterized by more complex, ambivalent expressions and attitudes. Aversive racism is similar in implications to the idea of symbolic or modern racism, which is also a form of covert attitudes which results in unconscious form of discrimination.
In relation to racism, colour blindness is the disregard of racial characteristics in social interactions, an example is “the affirmative action” as a way to address the results of past patterns of discrimination. Critics of this attitude of colour blindness have argued that by refusing to attend to racial disparities, racial colour blindness in fact will continue to perpetuate the patterns that produce racial inequality.
This type of racism manifests as societal beliefs and customs that promote the assumption that the products of a given culture , including the language and traditions of that culture, are superior to those of other cultures. This shares a huge similarity with Xenophobia, which is often characterized by fear of, or aggression toward, members of an “outgroup” by members of an “ingroup”. In that sense it is also similar to communalism as used in South Asia. Cultural racism exists when there is a widespread acceptance of stereotypes concerning different ethnic groups. Whereas racism can be characterized by the belief that one race is inherently superior to another race.
Historical economic or social disparity is alleged to be a form of discrimination caused by past racism and historical reasons, affecting the present generation through deficits in the formal education and kinds of preparation in previous generations, and through primarily unconscious racist attitudes and actions on members of general population. Examples of economic racism abound, like during the Spanish colonial period, Spaniards developed a complex caste system based on race, which was used for social control and which also determined a person’s importance in society. Another example of this kind of racism is the fact that in 2011, Bank of America agreed to pay $335 million to settle a federal government claim that it’s mortgage unit, countrywide financial, discriminated against black and Hispanic homebuyers.
This is also known as structural racism, state racism or systemic racism. This is a kind of racial discrimination by governments, corporations, religious or educational institutions or other large organizations with the power to influence the lives of many individuals. A man known as Stokely Carmichael is credited with coining the phrase institutional racism in the late 1960’s. He defined the term as “the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”.
Steps must be continually taken to stem the tide of racism that is fast becoming the “new normal” and the way to stem this tide includes beliefs, actions, movements and policies which must be adopted or developed in order to oppose racism. In general it must promote an egalitarian society in which people are not discriminated against on the basis of race. Movements such as civil rights movements and anti racism movements must ensure and work towards emergence of policies that will eradicate the scourge of racism in their countries.
I must say it is my opinion that if we must eradicate racism, it must be through educating people on the evils of racism, but this education I believe must start in our individual homes with our children and our family members. May the world experience peace and may we be at peace with ourselves.