What is Racism?
* A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural
or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
* Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination.
In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially
to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature (i.e. which harms particular groups of people),
and which is often justified by recourse to racial stereotyping or pseudo-science.
* Racism is popularly associated with various activities that are illegal or commonly considered harmful,
such as extremism, hatred, xenophobia, (malignant or forced) exploitation, separatism, racial supremacy, mass murder
(for the purpose of genocide), genocide denial, vigilantism (hate crimes, terrorism), etc.
* "Racism" and "racial discrimination" are often used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis,
independent of their somatic (i.e. "racial") differences. According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction
between the term racial discrimination and ethnicity discrimination.
* Racism involves the belief in racial differences, which acts as a justification for non-equal treatment
(which some regard as "discrimination") of members of that race. The term is commonly used negatively and is usually
associated with race-based prejudice, violence, dislike, discrimination, or oppression, the term can also have varying and
contested definitions. Racialism is a related term, sometimes intended to avoid these negative meanings.
The UN does not define "racism", however it does define "racial discrimination": According to
the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction,
or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or
effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing,
of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or
any other field of public life.
Some sociologists have defined racism as a system of group privilege. In Portraits of White Racism,
David Wellman has defined racism as "culturally sanctioned beliefs, which, regardless of intentions involved,
defend the advantages whites have because of the subordinated position of racial minorities”.
Dictionary definitions of xenophobia include: deep-rooted antipathy towards foreigners (Oxford English Dictionary; OED),
unreasonable fear or hatred of the unfamiliar, especially people of other races (Webster's) The Dictionary
of Psychology defines it as "a fear of strangers".
Centuries of European colonialism of the Americas, Africa and Asia was excused by white supremacist attitudes.
During the early 20th century, the phrase "The White Man's Burden" was widely used to justify imperialist policy
as a noble enterprise.
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities
such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a bath room, attending school, going to the movies,
or in the rental or purchase of a home. Segregation is generally outlawed, but may exist through social norms,
even when there is no strong individual preference for it, as suggested by Thomas Schelling's models of segregation
and subsequent work.
Racial discrimination refers to the separation of people through a process of social division into categories
not necessarily related to races for purposes of differential treatment.
Institutional racism (also known as structural racism, state racism or systemic racism) is racial discrimination
by governments, corporations, religions, or educational institutions or other large organizations with the power
to influence the lives of many individuals.
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 generation, and through primarily unconscious racist attitudes and actions on members
of the general population.
Declarations and international law against racial discrimination:
In 1919, a proposal to include a racial equality provision in the Covenant of the League of Nations was supported
by a majority, but not adopted in the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. In 1943, Japan and its allies declared work for
the abolition of racial discrimination to be their aim at the Greater East Asia Conference.Article 1 of the 1945
UN Charter includes "promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without
distinction as to race" as UN purpose.
In 2001, the European Union explicitly banned racism along with many other forms of social discrimination in the
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the legal effect of which, if any, would necessarily be limited
to Institutions of the European Union: "Article 21 of the charter prohibits discrimination on any ground such as race,
color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion,
membership of a national minority, property, disability, age or sexual orientation and also discrimination on the grounds of nationality."
As an ideology, racism existed during the 19th century as "scientific racism", which attempted to provide a racial classification of humanity.
Although such racist ideologies have been widely discredited after World War II and the Holocaust, racism and racial discrimination
have remained widespread around the world.
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