Racism is the apparent belief that race is ultimately the basic determinant of human capabilities and traits, and that the differences on race produce an intrinsic superiority of a particular race, which in that perspective should rule over the other inferior races. Racism in other words signifies the violence, prejudice, oppression or discrimination directed towards a certain group of people due to the feel that they are inferior, and due to this they are denied their benefits or rights in the society. This term is used in some countries and in some circles to put across the discrimination and hostility aimed at against a group for nearly any motive. In France, for instance, they use the term to explain biases founded on gender, age or sexual orientation (Fredrickson 2002). Racism is an inhuman practice that started many years ago, and has continued to assault and haunt the society its causes and effects being felt by people and should at all cost be fought to restore future peace, prosperity and democracy.
Race is one of the characteristics in the description of individuals among age and sex, and for this reason the description of a person in terms of his or her race has been one of the factors contributing to the perceptions of other people on that person. Therefore, racism has existed among men, but in various ways depending predominantly on the time in history (Steven 2006). All throughout history, people have created borders and strong defenses to lock out strangers simply because of the fear of the unknown. Racism flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe whereas the twentieth century saw institutionalized racism in its most extreme force (Fredrickson 2002).
According to Steven (2006), racism is a direct product of capitalism because it developed from the early capitalism’s employment of slaves in plantation and homes, and was prescribed to justify the white and western eventual domination over the world. This practice started many years ago but still flourishes in the contemporary society, drawing lines between black or Muslim and white, natives and immigrants. Fredrickson (2002) reminds us that people in early sixteen century knew nothing about race and lived without conceptions of oppression or discrimination. For example, ancient Roman and Greek societies did not have the concept of race or racial oppression. The emergence of slave trade saw groups of people undergoing discrimination and oppression by others and by end of seventeen century, racism roots had become established with the conscious and systematic validation for cruel treatment of slaves. In fact, racism became an ideological justification of imperialists’ expansion and plundering of wealth and the subsequent exploitation of natives. In a way, we can attribute the cause of colonization to racism (Crocker 2007).
Fredrickson (2002) argues that racism in some cases can cause such uproar that generate and spread spirited anger which can result into war. Anger can be caused by fear, fear of a stranger whom you do not know. Fear that this stranger wants the same rights as you, wants to own your house, displace you from your job and worse still take your wife or husband. People clandestinely yearn to shout racial epithets profoundly predisposed by stereotypes incessantly perpetuated in our culture. The only way to demystify the fear that causes racism is to take to the bold step to first know the stranger or the person before we can construct those stereotypes and prejudices against them (Workers Solidarity Movement 2006). Learning about other people before we can start describing and generalizing them on discrimination or oppression opens up about their culture and take radical opinion of them. The belief that one human race is superior to another is a mere fallacy. The difference between black and white people is significantly small for it has been proved biologically that the main difference is a chemical called melanin that gives the skin a certain color. It can be said authoritatively from a scientific perspective that racism is absolutely ridiculous and without any factual base. The differences between people from all over the world are basically cultural but not biological (Steven 2006).
Racism has its root in the slave trade of the eighteenth century for it led to dehumanization and oppression of slaves who were exposed to harsh working conditions. The society then created the ideology to justify slavery and this ideology was that Africans were not human beings and therefore they were born to be slaves. The slaves’ class was looked down upon for endured hard work like draught animals which led to the assumptions that they were inhuman and deserved what they underwent in slavery (Fredrickson 2002).
Immigration can be said to be a cause of racism because immigrants are viewed as competitors for social amenities in the destination society. Steven (2006) points out that due to capitalism which required importation of foreign workforce in Britain, in Europe, and in America, many Africans, Asians and Muslims have immigrated to these countries where they have been viewed with mixed feelings. Racial attacks have been witnessed and felt across the globe even today when we say that civilization has gone a notch higher in the age of enlightenment. Racists groups have always pegged their frustrations on innocent immigrants and make their lives a living hell (Crocker 2007).
Racism has all along impacted negatively on the society. Minorities have always been perpetually marginalized and discriminated against, living in the periphery of the society. Social inequality has always faced minorities leaving them in position of helpless discontent (Steven 2006). The impact of racism has always been negative bearing heavily on ones physical and psychological well-being. With the existence of racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, mass murders have been witnessed which is to account for the polarization of the society on racial and ethnic grounds. Counter attacks have always worsened the situation where the society lives in perpetual fear of being attacked anytime leading to psychological stress. This stress has been attributed to antisocial behaviors which are said to eventually result to violent outbursts and suicides (Crocker 2007).
Stigmatization is another effect associated with racism resulting to distressful situations. In most cases, this has affected ones abilities to perform tasks and even ones personality. People exposed to racism may indulge in drugs abuse leaving them physical and emotional wrecks. In football, efforts have been spirited towards ending racism among players and fans. Hatred directed to players on racial grounds has been a major subject especially in Spanish football. To resist racism in football, players have stood in solidarity to end the inhuman behavior (Workers Solidarity Movement 2006).
Fight against racism
The world has witnessed the worst forms of racism there is in history and a repetition of these would be a failure on the part of humanity. Steven (2006) asserts that the fight against racism should drum up support from all quarters and put in place measures that deal with the vice once and for all. The international community has made important advances in the fight against racism with the enactment of laws against racism and the continued campaigns by human rights activists fighting for the ban of all forms of racial discrimination. The challenge to fight racism is a fight to restore future peace, prosperity and democracy. According to Workers Solidarity Movement (2006), the society today is racially oppressed and therefore the fight against racism is imperative for the fight towards a classless society. Fight against racism is about breaking down racial barriers towards unifying the working class and strengthening it to raise the consciousness on the oppression of the ruling elite.
The issue of racism was started by man and it can only be brought to an end by man lest history condemns us. The pains people have gone through because of racism are beyond description and it is wrong that in this era of enlightenment, the contemporary society should continue to be haunted by the horrors of racism. Now that we can trace where and when the rain started beating us on racism, having witnessed and suffered under racism, we should by all means endeavor to fight it to the end. The world should put up spirited efforts; united in common cause to put this menace behind us for it has been embedded in our society’s institutions with our minds conscious and unconscious of it.
List of References
Crocker, J (2007), The effects of racism-related stress on the psychological and physiological well-being of Non-Whites, Rivier Academic Journal, 3(1): 1-3.
Fredrickson, G. M (2002), Racism: a short history, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Steven, (2006), 800BC-today: A very brief history of racism, Retrieved July 17, 2009, from http://libcom.org/history/800bc-today-a-very-brief-history-of-racism.
Workers Solidarity Movement. (2006), Fighting Racism, Retrieved July 17, 2009, from http://www.wsm.ie/story/829