Thursday, April 7, 2011


    Disclaimer: Dear readers, please be advised that there is no harm meant in this article. If there is anything that was said here affects you, I would like to apologize sincerely. You are encouraged to leave your feedbacks on the article in the comments column. Thank you.

    Among so many deadly words out there, ‘racism’ and ‘discrimination’ are two of the most powerful weapons encouraging fear and hatred of others in times of conflict and war, even during economic downturns. Isn’t that scary? It appears that a lot of people does not fully understand the meaning of ‘racism’ as well as the effect that comes along. Racism is defined as the belief that the genetic factors which constitute race, ethnicity or nationality are a primary determinant of human traits and capacities, also that ethnic differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Racism’s effect is called ‘racial discrimination’. In the case of institutional racism, certain racial groups may be denied rights or benefits, or receive preferential treatment.

    Racism is certainly one of the most touchy issue to be talked about. Yet still, we often witness arguments that supports racial discrimination and prejudice to be aired freely with the reason of it just being a practice of freedom of speech. The right of freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the First Amendment of the U.S Constitution recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR recognizes the right to freedom of speech as ‘the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression.’

    However, freedom of speech was put to practice recently when an UCLA student’s racist rant video caused a major stir among the Asian community from all over the world. Though the student apologized for the outburst and took the video off, it was already too late. Damage has already been done. The most interesting fact was that UCLA did not discipline her as they have proclaimed the incident as a practice of free speech and did not violate any student code of conduct. Shocking? Watch the video below.

    While the World Wide Web (www) broadens it world beyond borders, it is also the most prominent place to exercise the ideal of free speech. But sadly, it also plays a huge role in breeding all the sites harboring hatred. A large number of hate sites have sprung up into the pictures at an alarming rate. There are a lot of groups who discuss these matters. Some groups even went to the extend of buying racist domain names so that the racist groups could not get a hold of it. There are certain countries who block certain domains due to it’s explicit contents. However, people often manage to create or get hold of alternative ways to access or implicate details or even carbon copy of the same site under a new domain. This is very devastating as the World Wide Web is open for everyone regardless of age. Is it even possible to be able to bring this matter under control with the help of law and order?

    Moving on, certainly we do come across different kinds of racism throughout our daily lives. For most people, it could be a daily routine but the question is what are we going to do about it? Sexist is also a part of racism. Probably a lot of people might disagree with the particular point but why not take a minute or two and think about it? Racist among the genders as how I would prefer to put it as proved to be a never ending battles of the ego. Apparently the clashes of ego started a long time ago when they even have a saying of ‘women belong in the kitchen’. I would not comment much about it as I was not present when it was started but now I see that women are fighting to be equal which no doubt is admirable. But the problem is that the racism among the genders is killing us silently. So what if there was only one gender that exists? Still, that will never guarantee that there will never be any prejudice, bias and etc. How and why? Simple, just try to observe at how we treat people of our own gender.

    Next would be of course the most sensitive issue of all, color. I certainly do not bother if you are white, yellow, beige, brown, black or even pink! I would definitely treat you as an equal person rather than being biased or having any sort of superiority coming into picture. Proof? I have friends from different parts of the world and not to forget I have dated people from different ethnics, skin colors, backgrounds and etc. But as a human being, we like to portray that we are better than the others. One might say, “I am better looking because I am taller.” Another might say, “I look better because I have a better built.” Or even, “My complexion is better than yours.” I could go on and on with all the examples, hypocrisy is just another human nature. I would certainly plead guilty for such rants in my life but come on, who has not? Even if we were all of the same color, still prejudice might not be quenched. It is just very easy for us to catch the I-am-better-than-you attitude.

    Now we move on to the topic of globalization that as globalization expands its current form, so does inequality that accompanies it. Rising inequality results in increase of racial bias for scapegoating or advancing xenophobic and isolationist tendencies.

    "Racism has always been both an instrument of discrimination and a tool of exploitation. But it manifests itself as a cultural phenomenon, susceptible to cultural solutions, such as multicultural education and the promotion of ethnic identities.
    Tackling the problem of cultural inequality, however, does not by itself redress the problem of economic inequality. Racism is conditioned by economic imperatives, but negotiated through culture: religion, literature, art, science and the media.
    ... Once, they demonized the blacks to justify slavery. Then they demonized the “coloreds” to justify colonialism. Today, they demonize asylum seekers to justify the ways of globalism. And, in the age of the media, of spin, demonisation sets out the parameters of popular culture within which such exclusion finds its own rationale — usually under the guise of xenophobia, the fear of strangers."
    — A. Sivanandan, Poverty is the new black, The Guardian, August 17, 2001

    With the expanding of globalization, the need of skilled workers is in demand especially in North America, Europe and elsewhere has led to increased efforts to attract foreign workers filtered, based on skill. At the same time, this increases resentment by citizens in those nations who are not benefiting from the globalization. Due to tighter immigration policies, those trying to escape authoritarian regimes find it hard to migrate to the wealthier countries. Unless of course they are professionals like highly-skilled computer wizards, doctors and nurses trained at Third World expense and sought after by the West. From the prospective of globalization, the skill pool is the key and not the genes pool.

    However, immigrants face numerous criticisms and challenges. It is certainly not easy to enter wealthy countries, and if succeed there a more challenges that lay ahead of their path. Being a foreigner where there are vast cultural differences can be daunting. Due to this, some foreigners try to maintain some resemblance to their own culture. It could possibly be culture shock or fear towards racial abuse, they normally end up as a community form to deal with this by looking out for each other. By doing so they tend to face criticism that they only stick to their kind. Even those who mingle around, they still face criticism from certain groups of environmentalist or consumers regarding the degradation of the environment around them stating that these foreigners are the culprit for it. Rationally, singling out the immigrants for the cause of environment degradation is often unfair, and itself hints of prejudice and of attitudes intentionally or not like as if saying "you don't belong here", "you're over populating our country and causing pollution", "we can do this but immigrants don't have the right to do so" and etc. It's common to hear an immigrant being blamed for the all the bad things that ever happened to the countries.

    Well many have tried to cut the tree of racism but it exist in every corner of the world. Addressing the issue alone would not be able to stop racism. Certainly I cannot destroy or stop racism all by myself but together we could! Why not we just make it simple. Pride is the reason for racism. If we give ourselves way more credit than we deserve, it's natural to feel that we are superior or cooler than the others. For instance, males are generally stronger than females but that doesn't mean that females are not as important as the males. Everybody shares the same amount of importance. Races, religion all fall under the same categories as every ethnic group have their own unique features. Racist have been proven since dinosaur generation and history that those who often regard themselves as higher or better than the others have scaled certain prominence or greatness. At this point, I would like to share a quote by King Solomon, said to be the wisest human ever.

    "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16: 18)."
    "Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility (Proverbs 18: 12)."

    Dear readers, we, together, could always overcome this issue. I certainly think that there is nothing impossible when we do it wholesomely as the saying goes, “a single tree would never make a forest". Let's us all joint forces, throwing away all the differences and gather together only as humans to make this world a better place to live in!

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