Racism: Cause and Effect
Are all people equal? Why do some people believe that they are better than others? Are whites better than blacks? Equality of people in the community implies that they have equal civil and political rights, as well as access to the means of production. Roger Trigg (2012) stated that the tug between the demands of equality and those of freedom became crucial in the modern world. Many people find the growing inequality in the modern society unjust. According to Roger Trigg (2012), if all are of equal worth, is it right that some cannot afford a proper health care, and could even die prematurely?
People who live on different continents look very different from each other. There are three main differences: skin color, facial features (shape of the nose, lips, jaw, and eyes), color and type of the hair. Such people’s features were called racial characteristics. They are transmitted from parents to children. There were nominated false ideas about the existence of “higher” and “lower” races in order to justify European colonization of Africa, America and Australia in the mid-nineteenth century. The point was that the “lower” races did not seem capable of self-development and mental labor. These were the beginnings of racism.
Racism is system of beliefs about physical and mental disparity of human races. In the twentieth century racism became the official ideology of fascism. From a psychological point of view, the cause of racism is a violation of self-concept, or simply terribly narrow worldview. Racists are people who believe that innate, inherited biological characteristics of a person determine his/her behavior. They believe that racial characteristics have a decisive influence on the ability, intelligence, morality, behavioral characteristics and traits of the individual person. Racism is all about the idea of the original division of people into superior and inferior races. Superiors are the creators of civilization and are intended to rule over the inferiors.
There are a lot of problems caused by discrimination and inequality: unequal access to education, discrimination in the school, inequality in employment, inequality in ownership and housing, unequal access to social services, etc.
According to Tariq Modood (1994), these inequalities are produced by a variety of factors, interacting in a complex way. Increasingly, race relations, discrimination and disadvantage cannot be satisfactory analysed in terms of a simple black-white division.
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Scientists have proved that the human capacity for mental and physical labor does not depend on racial belonging. All people can successfully develop their culture, science and economy. Nicolay Maclay made great contribution to the study of equality of races and people. He dedicated his life to the study of the peoples who inhabited the tropical islands of the Pacific. In 1871 M. Maclay settled on the island of New Guinea, where Papuans lived, who belonged to the equatorial race. The scientist had lived among them for a long time and has established friendly relationships with them. After studying the life of Papuans, Maclay concluded those so-called primitive people were as capable for intellectual development, as any other nation on Earth.
The formation of a democratic society provides equal opportunities for all people regardless of their sex, age, nationality or social origin. Every person should be treated equally, unhampered by imitative barriers or preferences, except when some distinctions can be exactly justified. According to this complex and contested concept, the aim is that jobs should be given to those who are most qualified. They should not go to persons for irrelevant or arbitrary reasons, such as conditions of birth, friendship ties, sex, religion, race, ethnicity, caste, or personal inadvertent attributes such as age, disability, or sexual orientation. Chances for promotion should be open to all interested people. They should have equal chances to reach their aims.
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Trigg, R. (2012). Eguality, freedom, and religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Modood, T. (1994). Racial equality: Colour, culture and justice. London: Institute for Public Policy Research.