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Some Thoughts on "Racism"

by Michael,

People define “racism” as: "prejudice, discrimination and antagonism against someone of a different race, based on the belief that one's own race is superior". Defining racism is problematic because in reality it is not a viable concept. Individuals and governments incorrectly categorize people by the color of their skin and call it "race". This is very wrong because black, brown, red and white skin do not represent "races". Neither is Hispanic a race; it is a term created by the U.S. government in 1970s to describe people of who had the Spanish language and culture. There is no "Asian race"; Asia is a geographic region, not a race. There is only one race - the human race! According to the bible, all people groups descended from one original couple and this has been confirmed by science through DNA tracing of genealogies. Race is a divisive and artificial construct! In reality, there are only other people groups with different skin color, languages, nationalities, customs (culture) and spiritual beliefs.

What people call "racism" is really discriminatory actions based on prejudicial beliefs and attitudes (usually negative) towards a person or a group that is different. These thoughts and attitudes are based on assumptions about the individual or group and according to how one has decided to categorize them. Categorization is usually done based on observable traits such as those mentioned above (skin color, nationality, culture, language or spiritual practices). Negative perceptions and attitudes are usually learned and are often reinforced by individual experiences, half-truths, prevailing attitudes, and parental or societal indoctrination.

If the beliefs are strongly held, it can it can lead to discriminatory actions against those individuals or groups that have been identified as inferior, threatening, undesirable or just different. So, what most people call “racism” is really discrimination driven by prejudicial attitudes towards others based on assumptions (usually negative) related to their ethnicity, culture, language or skin color.

While there is nothing wrong with being critical of bad behavior, we all need to resist the tendency to categorize and judge others before we understand them. It is very difficult to eliminate prejudices and negative attitudes in the hearts and minds of people. Laws can and should be passed to protect people from discrimination and harm. Governments and organizations should also stop identifying and labeling people according to their skin color. This type of categorization does nothing to foster understanding about a person’s nationality or culture. It is divisive and actually feeds prejudicial beliefs and discrimination towards other people groups. In fact, no one should self-identify based on their skin.

Ultimately, if we want a more peaceful and understanding society, each person must do his/her part to examine their prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes and eliminate them.

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