Racism believes that some humans possess different behavioural traits to others, corresponding to their physical appearance and dividing individuals based on the superiority of one race over another. Prejudice, discrimination and antagonism are all closely linked to racism as well. Understanding how racism has developed and how we can work to untie our personal and collective ideas surrounding racism are both essential steps in dismantling and deconstructing the preconceived notions that make us contribute to racism, whether that be intentionally or not.
The Root of Racist Ideas
The term racism derives from the idea that humans can be divided into ‘races’, different groups of people based on origin. The root of some racist ideas came from biologists who subscribed to the notion that these other races had additional attributes and behavioural traits. Nowadays, it is recognised that despite differences found in empirically verifiable data, these old-fashioned concepts of race determining characteristics such as intelligence, for example, are not actual.
The use of the word ‘racism’ is relatively recent, first used widely in the western world in the nineteen-thirties to describe the actions and beliefs of the Nazis. Despite this, it is easy to understand that racism existed before the coinage of the word. Racism today is still a wide-reaching problem, but growing awareness of the issue has developed more excellent conversation about the issues which continue to overarch different racial groups and how this continues to create injustice and issues.
When we consider how we can play a part in dismantling racist ideas or developing better perspectives, we need to listen to those most affected by racism to understand how we can collectively address the problem. We need to be active in our commitment to the problem instead of assuming it can be aided merely with passive support. Seeking to understand racism and working towards a solution is not something we will find comfortable, and it shouldn’t be something we see as straightforward. Hard work and commitment to the cause are required to solve such an issue.
As groundwork towards addressing racism, we should lay bare our thoughts on the matter and correct them if need be. We need to remember that all humans are equal in their worthiness of love, respect and justice. We should make it our mission to ensure that this idea is one we revolve our treatment of others around wholly. We should also seek to investigate which preconceptions and stereotypes we hold and how they have been ingrained within us. Exploring the root of these issues within our minds can help us fix our judgment errors or how we have been convinced to believe something that isn’t true. Questioning these notions, which we hold as evident on the surface, is imperative to repairing inequalities within our society.