Racism has been a major challenge for the world ever since people began migrating from one place to another. Coexisting with people of different cultures, race and lifestyle has been the bedrock upon which most acts of racism has been centered upon. The present century has brought about an era where people are more aware and outspoken about the causes and effects of racism, and the importance of these factors influencing discrimination among races needs to be addressed.
What is Racism?
Racism can be referred to as discrimination or stereotyping towards a person or group of people as a result of their skin color or race. The perception of people of a certain skin color or race to be superior or inferior to another. It’s a situation, when a person or group of people dislikes another person or group of people due to their race, and consciously or unconsciously expresses this dislike through words, gestures or actions.
Who is a Racist?
A racist is a person who consciously or unconsciously displays through actions, words or gestures, discrimination, stereotype or dislike towards a person or group of people, due to their race or skin color.
What are the causes of racism?
There are a number of reasons that could result in racism, and we will try to emphasize on a few of these reasons.
Lifestyle: The lifestyle or culture of people of a particular race can also be a reason for their being disliked by some others. This could be feeding lifestyle, cultural practices, way of thinking and religion. The Asians are disliked because they are perceived by some of having a wild feeding lifestyle, which some people still wrongly believe is the reason for the Corona virus pandemic. The Americans are disliked because they are perceived by some of having so much pride, making them see others as inferior. People associated with the Islamic religion are wrongly perceived by some of being inclined to violence. These factors associated with the lifestyle or culture of a particular race or color of people could create a dislike for them, resulting in stereotyping and racism.
Superiority and Inferiority complex: People tend to associate with those in their social class. This occurs in situations where the rich and noble mingle only with their kind, creating the margin in social classes. The same applies to race. The concept of race superiority and inferiority displays members of a skin color or origin as noble and superior, and some others as inferior. This wrong perception creates the two race complexes, which sometimes is passed down from the older generation to the younger ones.
History: History plays an important role in racism, this is because events that have occurred in the past can immensely influence the way people react to situations of the present and future. People tend to refer to the past regarding certain situations. For instance people from African countries are sometimes treated with discrimination. This is due to the history of the high level of underdevelopment, poverty and insecurity in some of these countries. These factors consistently portrays countries associated with these challenges as inferior, thereby creating discrimination.
Another instance is that some people still cling to the past, during the colonial era of masters and slaves. Their perception of people of other races as recorded in past history, still remains the same in this present time. The unwillingness to accept change and let history remain a thing of the past, could create uncalled racism.
Migration: In the past ten years, the level of immigrants has greatly increased, with most trying to migrate to developed countries like the US, Canada, Australia, China, Germany etc. This increase in migrants has also created a dislike for countries with a higher level of immigrants. Some citizens or inhabitants of developed countries, especially those who originated from these countries, perceive some immigrants as liabilities, especially those from underdeveloped countries. Being advantaged to be born, or originate from an economically stable and viable country, makes some view immigrants from underdeveloped countries as problems rather than people. They are sometimes perceived as competitors for the nation’s resources, as immigrants they are sometimes undervalued, perceived as threats to the community and these factors could result in racism.
Is it wrong or right to be a racist?
According to Abraham Lincoln, he states and I quote “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness“.
The beauty of life and the world is diversity. Nothing existing is irrelevant or unimportant, be it living or non living. Our different colors, cultures, and lifestyles are the reason for our diversity. Racism can only do more harm, cause more rift amongst people, and create uncalled hatred that could be inherited by the younger generation. So yes, it is wrong to be a racist.
We constantly emphasize on the need to create a better world for all, this entails understanding, accommodating, and seeing all as equal. We are all born the same way, we bleed the same red blood, breath the same air, and will die and be buried someday in the same ground.
Will racism ever end?
The world is changing, and people are becoming more aware of the fact that racism is wrong. As the world is evolving, so are the measures taken to insure human rights. Countries are placing and implementing laws that prohibit racial expressions, thereby prosecuting offenders, articles are constantly written that indicates the effects and disadvantages of racism, the social media are added avenues that exposes racist to the public tagging there actions as wrong. All these measures indicate that the world is gradually, and hopefully steering towards a brighter future where equality amongst races will be achieved.
Families are the primary educational institutions. A passage of the bible says “train up a child in the way he/she should grow, and when he/she does, they will not depart from it”. Parents are the first role model of any child. Children tend to imitate what their parents do, or follow in their parents footsteps. This shows the importance of a child’s upbringing and how it affects the child’s life on issues of racism. Parents should ensure they try to raise their children to understand that discrimination and stereotype towards people as a result of their race or color is wrong.
The schools are the secondary institutions that plays a key role in the life and positive development of the younger generation on the issue of racism. It is imperative that educational institutions continue to educate students on the importance of equality.
It is also important for developing countries to device measures that will proffer solutions to the challenges of underdevelopment, which they are facing. People tend to associate themselves with someone successful. If you achieve some level of recognizable success, people will perceive you as important. Same applies to countries.
If these measures are taken to curb and suppress the idea of racism, hopefully someday the world will be a better place where racism has no place.
By Emmanuel Ikenna Orindu.