I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.Martin Luther King, Jr.
Recently the internet is swarmed with the videos and posts that include racism in relation to the COVID 19. In last 4 months a trend can be seen where people are assuming anyone from China has the virus and will make you sick. Even if the person is living in your country for a long time and haven’t been to China the perception was still intact. COVID 19 related racism just started there.
Recently, in India people are seen boycotting, avoiding and ill behaving with the people from North Eastern India. The COVID 19 has taken the whole world by a surprise, however it is disgusting to see how people are assuming and spreading racism in the times of this pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity and discuss the very fundamentals of Racisms and how it affects us the world around. Only on the Critical Thinkers India.
What is Racism?
According to the Oxford dictionary, Racism is prejudice, discrimination and an act of opposition directed against someone of a different race* based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Racism has been in existence since human history. It has influenced wars, slavery, the formation of nations, and legal codes.
*A Race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society.
Racism can be revealed by someone not just by their actions but also by their attitude. It includes each and any action that blocks or hurts a person’s dignity and equality because of their race. It is sometime very much Unconscious bias.
Unconscious bias, also called implicit bias, “is a prejudice in favour of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another usually in a way that’s considered to be unfair.
Why is racism a problem?
Racism harms those who are at the receiving end of it. This can include from an individual to community to a whole society. It challenges our society’s values of equality and fairness.
Studies have shown that experiencing racism has deep impact on people’s health and welfare. It can include ongoing feelings of sadness, anger, depression and being left out. Headaches, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling and muscle tension.
It can hurt people’s freedom and dignity. A constant fear of being verbally or physically attacked and not wanting to go to school are common traits that can be seen especially among children. In longer term it leads to having little or no trust in anybody apart from family. Those who suffer discrimination can be made to feel they have less freedom or are second-class citizens.
Racism in India
Racism can be seen all around the world. In a diverse country such as Australia, the effects of racism aren’t confined to individuals. America is another example which is fighting a great battle against discrimination, since the times of Rosa Park. It has the potential to affect all of us.
India is not an innocent in this area. We are experiencing racism in India since the ancient ages of Later Vedic Period. It had many faces such as Racism in the name Casteism (Ethnic Bias) or Religion. It is very sad that even after more than 70 years of independence and almost 70-year-old constitution, we still see the incidences of Racism. Some recent examples can be seen as discrimination against the people of North Eastern region of India in regard to COVID 19. Recent Delhi riots among two communities were also the result of a type of racism.
Government of India has done plethora of work in this regards, one of the iconic law is Reservation. Do checkout Reservation as a Policy in detail.
How racism takes place?
Racism is in existence since the existence of humanity. It can happen just about anywhere. Research indicates that it is most likely to be experienced in the places like the neighbourhood, shops, and in the workplace. It can also appear in spots like public transport, sporting events or at schools.
Expressions of racism can also very well be found in media. This happens when, racial groups are represented in an unfair or negative spotlight in news media. Indian media is being accused of the same in the recent years. The lack of cultural diversity represented in media is regarded as another form of racism.
In the age of internet, racism has set its roots online. Whether it is offensive comments on social media, inflammatory memes or hateful videos shared online, cyber-racism has had a significant impact on the growth of racist attitudes. Moreover, fake news is just adding the fuel to the fire. Check out Fake News in India. This often can be done in anonymity online which makes it more disastrous.
Why are people racist?
People aren’t born with the capabilities of racism. It is learned throughout time. There is always a small minority among the people which believe that they are superior than other. In context of India, where whole country is enjoying the life among multiple diversities. There are some elements that give rise to problems related to prejudice e.g., Rohit Vermula case. A belief in racial superiority or purity can lead to racial hatred and sometimes crime.
However, it is not necessary that it can only come from hatred, it can also be a result of fear and anxiety. If someone believe that the other group pose a threat it can lead to racism against that group or community. A very fine example of that is Islamophobia among various countries around the world. Which also did rise to racism in terms of the national identity such as Trumps ban of countries in USA basis religion. India as country is also facing lot of protest for the same in the recent times such as nationwide protest for CAA.
Racism can be fed in the results of ignorance. Fake news, propagandas and malicious internet feeds try to do the same, that’s why one should always be on toes to see through the authenticity of the media. Because sometimes racism can be done innocently, because someone may not know better.
In these hard times of COVID 19 we are seeing a rise in discrimination against the Asian people based on the nationality and appearance. It can be seen all around the world. The world must not repeat the same mistake it made by normalizing a whole population in the name of Islamophobia. Let’s fight this crisis together by taking everyone together and treating everyone as equal.