The ability to differentiate oneself from the “other,” which may be something or someone who is dangerous, is part of a set of complex survival skills that evolved to help protect human beings in ancient times. Being able to distinguish between a friend or a foe quickly and to know the difference between a benign animal or a vicious predator was a matter of life or death.
Fight or Flight
Survival skill became engrained in the human psyche very deeply and causes the “fight or flight” response first identified by Walter Canon in the mid 1920’s.
The fight or flight response is an autonomous process. The mind rapidly processes danger signals and then, the body immediately has an elevated physiological response. This response includes such thing as adrenaline released by the endocrine system and increased heart rate. In a matter of milliseconds, the decision to stand ground or run away happens quickly. In some cases, this response is so automatic that it seems to occur by itself without thinking.
The flight or flight response produces stress when triggered. The response is “hard-wired” into the human brain. The process is such a fundamental part of the makeup of a human being, it is impossible to remove it. There are ways to manage this process that are healthy and reduce the stress caused by inappropriate triggering of the response.
Understanding this process and learning how to manage it, offers insights in how to deal with racism as well.
The Collective Unconscious – Archetypes Compared to Racist Stereotypes
One explanation for this fight or flight behavior is the collective unconscious as noted by Carl Jung. The collective unconscious exists to define societal patterns from generation to generation through the collective memories, group experiences, and the formation of archetypes. Jung believed that human beings, as a species, have a latent memory that is residual in all persons, which comes from experiences of our ancestral past.
Examples of archetypes are the common character types found in any human stories or movies, such as the hero, the villain, etc. A descriptive word with a negative meaning that is similar to an archetype is a stereotype.
A stereotype is part of cultural racism, because it includes judging a person simply from their looks, attributes, race, religion, behaviors, cultural aspects, country of birth, or any other observable characteristics they have and then making assumptions about that person, which may or may not be accurate.
Fear of Spiders and Snakes
Some scientific research demonstrates the existence of a collective unconscious or of species-based memories that are like symbolic racism. Live Science reported an example of this collective unconscious pattern in a study suggesting that babies can have a fear of spiders and snakes before birth.
It would be logical to assume that babies need to learn about fearing snakes and spiders. Having no previous experience with either of them, babies should have no bias in their encounter with a spider or a snake when compared to any other animal or insect. There is no logical reason for anyone to fear something that a person knows nothing about, unless others people teach a person to fear something. However, researchers found that learning from others is not the full explanation of where a fear of spider and snakes comes from.
Researchers first studied crickets and observed the differences between the actions of baby crickets born to mothers than had exposure to spiders, compared to other baby crickets whose mothers had no exposure to spiders.
The baby crickets whose mothers had exposure to spiders reacted distinctly differently when encountering spider webs or spider feces. They unexpectedly froze in place. The baby crickets whose mothers had no experience with spiders did not exhibit this “freezing in place” behavior. Not moving, when encountering a spider web, is a defense mechanism. A baby cricket, which fears spiders, uses this technique to prevent alerting a spider of its presence.
The researchers went on to try to find some proof of unlearned behavior in humans. They determined that fear of spiders and snakes in the human species may be innate (i.e. unlearned).
Researchers found that both human adults and children were able to identify snakes and spiders in photos much more easily than caterpillars, frogs, or flowers. This suggests that having a fear of spiders and snakes is part of the collective human unconsciousness. This fear may have become a genetic trait passed down from generation to generation. The reason for this to become genetically transferred knowledge is those humans who had such fear enjoyed increased survival rates since ancient history.
The Basis of Racism
The term of racism, in its most general use, has a severely negative connotation. In order to understand the basis of racism, there are distinctions to make between positive and negative aspects of stereotypical thoughts, overt racism, and the outcomes of applied racism.
An example of such a distinction is inherent in this statement, “Black athletes are superior to others when participating in sports.” This is a racist statement, but it is not necessarily a negative statement. In fact, it is quite complimentary and, in general, the statement is true. However, it is not accurate to say that all black athletes are better than all other athletes are in all sports.
It was less than a century ago in America when black athletes could not be on a professional basketball team. They could not play in football on a professional team and racism in soccer was apparent in that global sport. Professional sports changed, so that just like the military, any individual, regardless of race, can excel if they have the talent and required physical attributes.
The exponential increase in participation by black athletes in major sports, after the racial barriers came down during the last century, caused a serous reduction in participation by white athletes in some sports. As an example, professional basketball changed from having all white players, to having mostly black players. In some instances, this led to charges of reverse discrimination against whites and the complaints by whites about such things help define what is reverse racism. However, the truth is that, in general, black athletes are simply much better players of basketball, than whites are.
There are always individual exceptions to any generalizations. Asian people are not normally associated with the concept of being exceptionally good basketball players; however, Yao Ming, who played for the NBA team of the Houston Rockets and many other Asian basketball players are the exceptions to this rule.
Yao Ming was the tallest NBA player during the time he played. His height was seven feet, six inches. This is not a detail one would expect to learn about a person born in China. Yao Ming played in the NBA All-Star game eight times. Ming received a nomination to the Basketball Hall of Fame, which includes such notable American black athletes as Shaquille O’Neil. Yao Ming broke all the stereotypes in wonderful ways, which is one way how to end racism.
Every Human Being is a Racist
You are a racist. In order to be able to deal effectively with the negative consequences of racism and to explore the question of, “How does racism affect society?” this is the fundamental concept that needs acceptance and general understanding.
Before immediately dodging this allegation by jumping into thoughts of denial of this truth, consider the following perspective. There is a clear distinction between the human race, other animal species on this planet, and extraterrestrial life (which we believe to exist, in all likelihood, at least somewhere in the universe).
To say that a person belongs to the human race is a “racist” statement. This is not a bad thing. This is a simple truth. To think that human beings are somehow more intelligent and superior to all other living creatures on Earth is racism at its extreme. This kind of thinking may result in the self-annihilation of the human race. Our destruction may come from natural disasters caused by the effects of human pollution on global warming or a nuclear holocaust caused by the warring species that we are, leaving the surviving cockroaches with the last laugh about who is the most intelligent creature on Earth.
In order to challenge and change the harmful negative aspects of racism, we must first admit we all are racists. We need to consider that racism permeates all parts of society. It may find expression as implicit racism, covert racism, passive racism, or even accidental racism. A distinctive part of what makes up a human being is having racist thoughts. It is just as natural to have these thoughts, as the fear we would experience when confronting a tiger in the wilderness, even if we never experienced this type of tiger encounter before.
Just Because We are Racists, Does Not Mean We Have to Act Like One
The internal management of a racist thought includes taking a determined and elevated position in our minds about a stereotypical reaction, when it comes up as a sudden thought or feeling. This mental examination counters the veracity of the negative thought and calms the unwarranted negative feeling.
Using such a proactive stance of examining our own thoughts and feelings, gives us the power to understand them, where they come from, and grants us the ability to manage thoughts and feelings with appropriate responses.
By practicing this process, we learn how to have compassion for ourselves, other humans, as well as the other living creatures on planet Earth. We will leave the issue of human racism against extraterrestrials aside for the moment, since the existence of alien species is not yet completely determined. However, the racist process is the same with the potential of extraterrestrial encounters.
Stopping the Evils of Racist Presumption and Racist Action
There is a distinction between having a momentary racist thought, converting that thought into a presumption, and taking a racist action because of the presumption. As discussed above, humans will probably not be able to eliminate the arising in their consciousness of a racist thought, when it comes up without warning.
If a person suddenly sees a ten-foot tall, purple person, the reaction could be cautiousness, fear, and/or curiosity. The possibility of jumping to a conclusion about a tall purple person’s appearance is part of our fundamental construct as human beings.
Dealing in a proper manner with the arising of these momentary thoughts is the key to eliminating any negative consequences. The thoughts may arise, and then if a person has elevated awareness, dismissing those thoughts leaves open the possibility of genuine understanding.
A ten-foot tall, purple person is certainly unusual. However, meeting a specific ten-foot tall, purple person could be an extraordinarily positive encounter with a rare and special being. Upon first sight, one should not judge either way and remain as neutral as possible. This is the antidote to racism. It is not effective to deny that racism exists. Even people who pretend to be “color blind,” actually have a form of color blind racism that they may not even notice. To say that you are color blind, when it comes to racism, means also to say you know there are differences in color. No person is without at least a small bit of racism.
The Harm that Turns Back on Itself
The history of racism contains an ungodly amount of despicable stories of abuse, slavery, genocide, discrimination, and other incredibly negative examples of the mistreatment by people of other human beings.
Rarely is racism addressed from the point of view of self-attack on one’s on race or the lowered self-esteem experienced from beliefs in actual (and imagined) limitations due to racism. There are plenty of examples of this type of self-reflective racism in history where one group within a larger group attacks people of the same or similar kind.
There is also the phenomenon among the different types of racism caused by those who experience racial abuses who then treat others in a similar discriminatory way. This is one reason why there are so many forms of racism.
How to deal with racism in a proper way is to learn how to say no to racism and not make more of it. This stops the ongoing negative effects of racism and ultimately has the power of undoing racism to reduce the harm caused by it.
The Most Racist Countries in the World
InfotainWorld lists ten racist countries in the world. The number one offender on this list will surprise many, especially if they do not live in that country.
Here are the top-ten, most racist countries in the world as reported by InfotainWorld in order:
- United Kingdom
- United States
- South Africa
Listovative adds Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to a list of the top twelve racist countries and changes the order slightly, but otherwise agrees with the list from InfotainWorld.
This article compares and contrasts racism in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan to see how racism in those countries stacks up against other countries in the world. The selection of those three countries came about because, historically they all made expansion attempts as an Imperial power. Germany would also make the comparative group for this same reason of Germany’s historical attempt at imperial expansion, but detailed information about German historical racism under the Nazi regime is readily available elsewhere. Moreover, both the U.S. and the U.K. have racist Nazi hate groups operating within their borders, so these two countries are examples showing the existence of ongoing Nazi racism, which is illegal in modern Germany.
Shades of Black and Other Colors – Racism in the United States
The global racial discrimination against black people in developed nations has significant documentation. There is historical evidence of scientific racism that tried to “prove” the inferiority of black people due to physical characteristics.
Racism in the 1930’s prevented black people from using the same places as white people. There was entrenched racism in the south, racism in schools, and on college campuses. American “white” society supported institutional racism and racism in the media.
The racist culture continued with racism in the 1950s that kept white teenagers from listening to black music, until Elvis Presley copied the styles of black performers to his great success during the birth of the rock and roll musical style.
Things began to change with the American civil rights movement that took a stand against racism. The civil rights movement challenged racism in the 1960s. There are disturbing racism facts about this era published by the National Humanities Center in an academic essay about what does racism mean.
During this time, there were popular poems about racism, many racism articles published, and books about racism. One best-selling book was “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” which was about a lawyer defending a black man against an unwarranted rape charge. The book, published in 1960, won the Pulitzer Prize. The book showed the implicit racism in the American justice system.
Additionally during the sixties, there were freedom marches in the south led by Rev. Martin Luther King and a massive anti racism march on Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. King’s assassination occurred on April 4, 1968.
There has been some progress since then in some areas; however, America racism is still strongly influencing thoughts, politics, the criminal justice system, and the housing and job markets in the USA. Racism exists at all levels of society and is not limited just to black people. Moreover, black people can be just as racist as anyone else is.
The Atlantic magazine reported on a statement made by U.S. President Obama in an article about black-on-black racism in America. President Obama knows quite a bit about racism and has plenty of personal experience with it. In some quotes from him, Obama called racism, “a plague,” and “the hidden biases that we all carry around.”
It is easy to see that the definition of racists includes the white supremacists, who formed hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) and Nazi skinheads who want a race war. However, there are black racists as well, as evidenced by the Black Supremacy groups, who think the black race is superior to all other races. Black racists sometimes hide their racism behind the veil of victimization.
The Southern Poverty Law Center currently tracks 892 hate groups in America of all kinds. There are hate crimes committed in the USA, but there is also freedom of speech in America. The hate groups test the limits of the law. The examples of overt racism make people ask the questions: “Is racism legal?”, “Is racism illegal?”, and “Why does racism exist?
What is a more difficult to see than overt racism, is the systemic racism in American society as a whole, because this is more subtle racism. Systemic racism needs recognition for what it is and to be seriously challenged with modern day questions about racism.
The racism problem in America is not going to go away on its own, especially if the cause of it is unconscious racism. There is an ongoing need for new polices, laws, and preventative measures to reduce the negative consequences of racism that will continue to harm people, if left unchecked.
The investigation of racism in America, from a historical perspective, includes issues about slavery and such anomalies as Irish racism in New York at the turn of the 20th century that diminished thereafter. Irish racism decreased, once the Irish assimilated into American society. It would be nice if all individual racism disappeared in the same way.
Racism is part of the current political debate in America because it is so long-standing and pervasive. The racism current events in the news highlight, includes Republican racism at a fever pitch, presented by Donald Trump that focuses on Hispanic racism and discrimination against Muslims. Part of the Trump campaign strategy is to use “dog whistle racism.” Dog whistle racisms is a politician’s trick of using code or disguised references that imply racism in public speeches.
It is clear that everyone in America has some racist tendencies, everyone participates in discrimination to some degree, and therefore everyone needs to participate in the solutions needed to address the problem of how to stop racism.
Unfortunately, some church leaders use Bible quotes for hate-filled speeches and some organized religions like the Mormon religion have a history of racism within the church.
Reading articles on racism, studying facts about racism, pointing fingers at others for being the source of the problem and even memorizing anti racism quotes, is easier than the deep self-reflection necessary to understand everyone’s personal contribution to racism.
Black-on-Black Racism vs. Black-on-White Racism
One interesting aspect of racism vs bigotry are the feelings that black people have about the shades of color within the African-American community. This is an example of racism vs prejudice, when discrimination against certain types of darker-skinned black people comes from other lighter-skinned black people.
The Occidental Observer reported racism statistics in America are increasing and talked about a trend they define as “the Black Code.” The definition of the Black Code is discrimination against black people, who socialize with white friends. Black Code racism comes from other black people who have a disdain for the mixing of the races.
This category might be called liberal racism among blacks themselves or college racism if found in the education system of black universities. The Black Code can lead to aversive racism, which arises from consistent avoidance of contact with other racial groups.
Both the “White Power” and the “Black Power” movements are not “empowering” people at all. These groups are just using slogans that contain another word for racism and synonyms for racism. People Power would be a better term for an anti racism group, since it has no racism implied in the title. People Power that empowers all people is the antidote to what causes racism. This slogan of People Power does not promote the origins of racism, because it does not distinguish between groups of people.
Another sad example of black-on-black racism, discussed in the Advocate publication, is the discrimination felt by black LGBT people that they receive from members of their own black community. One would hope that those who suffer from discrimination would be less likely to do this to others. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Homophobic black people regularly and sometimes forcefully discriminate against black LGBT people with verbal assaults, threats, and physical violence.
It is Not Only About Color
People of all colors experience the negative aspects of racism. Much of the focus on racism in America is racism directed against black people. This leaves other types of racism less publicized. Asians, Native Americans, Latinos that are Mexican and others not from Mexico, and yes, even White Americans, all experience racism in the USA.
There is a long history of racism in America. White racism against blacks, black racism against whites, racism against other people of color, and reverse racism (racism against whites) are all part of the makeup of racism in America today. Structural racism, institutional racism, and police racism are rampant in the USA.
Racism harms anyone who experiences it in the USA, regardless of the individual’s characteristics or the circumstances. The many types of racism in America require educational efforts to encourage cultural evolvement to reduce modern racism and delineate what is racism.
It is possible to have racism without racists and environmental racism caused by insensitive applications of technology. Teaching children how to deal with racism goes hand-in-hand with robust laws to help stop racism. The racism problem will most likely always exist in America, but a reduction in the negative impacts from racism is possible. This is the goal.
Take the Implicit Racism Test
To learn more about your own racial biases, there is a Harvard racism test called Project Implicit®, which offers the IAT test to uncover attitudes or beliefs that you have about racial issues. Be forewarned that the test results and the interpretations may be discomforting and surprising to some. Often we have a racial bias that remains hidden, even to ourselves. This personal bias combines with other people’s biases to create systemic societal racism.
To continue the exploration of racism, it is helpful to look at how racism manifests in other countries besides the USA.
Gender Discrimination as Sexual Racism Genocide
The human race consists of approximately 50% females, except for the countries that have institutionalized discrimination against women. In places like China, that had a “one-child” policy for many years, or in India and Bangladesh where females are inferior to males, there is an imbalance in the population figures.
In countries with severe racial discrimination against women, there are fewer females than males, so it is easy to identify these countries as being racist. The killing of female babies in the tens of millions in these countries amounts to racial genocide. This widespread infanticide is horrific and an entire “race” of female children is at risk.
The historical foundation for this racism in some of these countries comes from having a caste society that divided people into groups based on their societal status. This widespread negative impact of this caste system in India is why India is the most racist country in the world. Women experience the worst treatment, because no matter what their social standing is, they are still inferior to their husbands.
Musicians John Lennon and Yoko Ono sang about this global problem one of the songs about racism entitled, “Women are the Niggers of the World.”
Racism and Brexit
The international news stories about Brexit covered many aspects of the influence of racism on the vote.
U.K. is a place where increased racism in the world is directly associated with the reaction of existing British citizens to the number of immigrants allowed to come into the country, especially those immigrants who are Muslim.
The Independent summarized more than 500 racist incidences occurring in England after the Brexit vote to leave the EU passed, including:
- Brexit supporters displaying flags saying “Refugees Not Welcome”
- Social media sites reporting a dramatic increase in “hate” speech
- More Nazi swastikas on public display
- Street-gangs stopping pedestrians and demanding to know if they speak English and then attacking them if they do not
- Children of immigrants being abused in the streets, such as a young girl in Glasgow who had her headscarf ripped off by a man who told her she better start obeying white men
- Dog excrement thrown at houses and/or shoved through letter box openings in the doors
- Increased physical assaults that are racially motivated
- Increased arson of immigrant’s homes and businesses
- Banners and signs saying “Fuck Off Poles!” targeting Polish immigrants
The racially motivated attacks in the U.K. are reminiscent of the kind of hatred stirred up against the Jewish people in Germany under Hitler. Many in Britain see an increase in overt racism supported by the public statements made by the Prime Minister Theresa May. She endorsed vans with advertisements against illegal immigrants saying, “Go Home or Get Arrested.”
The Independent also notes that Ms. May gave an interview in 2012, saying the intent was to create a hostile environment for illegal immigrants in the U.K. It seems the plan worked. Not only are illegal immigrants now a target for racist attacks, so are the legal immigrants or anyone who simply happens to look like an immigrant/refugee.
The Guardian calls the post-Brexit environment in the U.K. “a frenzy of hate.” The Guardian reported on the firebombing of a halal butcher in Walsal and women of Middle Eastern decent, wearing a hijab, who are spat upon, while pushing their babies in a pram down the sidewalk.
The British police are reporting a five-fold increase in racially motivated hate crimes. A non-profit called “Tell Mama,” which works against Islamophobia, normally receives about forty reports each month. Tell Mama got over thirty complaint reports in a three-day period after the Brexit vote.
Concerned experts are calling this phenomena, “celebratory racism,” that allows those who held intolerant views to express racism openly in public. British, white racists feel the Brexit vote to leave the EU was a declaration of war against immigration and the existing immigrants in the U.K. are the enemy now that needs to go home. English citizens who have an Indian or Pakistani heritage are a targeted for attack. A Swedish mother and her two young children were victims of assault in the street by a British man who told them to “go home.”
CNN reports on the widespread dissemination of plastic placards that say “Go Home Polish Vermin,” and derogatory graffiti sprayed on the Polish and Social Cultural Association community center area that said, “Fuck the EU. Polish Scum Pack Your Bags.” British police searching for the perpetrators warn them that these are hate crimes. According to British law, these crimes carry a penalty for a conviction of up to seven years in prison.
Britain has a long history of racism dating back to the days of global colonization. British racism really took root in the British culture during the 1840’s as researched by Marika Sherwood. Sherwood notes that MacKenzie found that the initial popularization of racism in Britain used all means available during the mid 1800’s. This included promulgation of racism by popular culture, in the media, in the educational system, and through sermons given at churches, missionary work, as well as scientific pursuits.
The fundamental need for the British to feel superior over other people was the excuse used to rationalize the expropriation of lands and resources, taken from native people all over the world by force. Britain conducted these racist global campaigns to “colonize” the world.
With the more recent influx of immigrants into the UK, it seems to racists that native people from previous British colonies invaded Britain to take the jobs and resources. At least, that is how the racist white-supremacy types in Britain feel about what happened.
British racism has hundreds of years of history. Racism in Britain never went away. It was always there. Racism seemed less common in the recent past, due to the prevalence of a more reasonable British culture and the societal pressure to hide racist tendencies from others. However, with the Brexit vote, British racists feel free to exercise less restraint about spreading the message of their vitriolic racist viewpoints, which is causing a tremendous problem in the UK.
Racism in Japan
Is it possible that, underneath a peaceful façade, the shy, reserved, and polite Japanese people are serious racists? Yes, it is both possible and it is true. Japan is an almost entirely homogenous monoculture, with only a tiny fraction of the people living in Japan, having a heritage other than Japanese.
In 1639, under the rule of Tokugawa Shogun, Japan cut itself off from the rest of the world. The attitude of the Japanese being separate from foreigners started then and continues today.
During the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in China and then during, World War II, the Japanese military was sadistic in its treatment of war prisoners and people from the countries that Japan invaded. What the Japanese did to the Chinese, Korean, and Philippine people during occupation under war times was a brutal form of Asian racism.
In contemporary times, Japan maintains a strict immigration policy and there is a systemic prejudice against any people living in Japan that are not pure blood Japanese. The small group of “second-class” persons in Japan includes those of Korea descent, people from other nationalities, and those from mixed marriages with foreigners.
Children of mixed races are called “hafu” (Japanese pronunciation of the English word “half”). Even those these people live in Japan, they still feel like foreigners.
Newsweek reported that when a hafu, Ariana Miyamoto, represented Japan in the Miss Universe beauty pageant during 2015, the public acceptance of her was low. She has a Japanese mother and an African-American father. Brutal public criticism that she was not really a Japanese person and that she looked like a foreigner, was rampant on Japanese social media.
Being of mixed race, Miyamoto had troubles while growing up in Japan. Her skin color and the texture of her hair made schoolmates scorn her. They called her “kutombo,” which is the Japanese-language equivalent of the derogatory English word “nigger.”
The problem in Japan is the institutionalization of racism. Racism has acceptance as the proper standard of behavior for all Japanese. There is even a Japanese law, introduced in 1984, that defines a Japanese person from their bloodline, not place of birth.
Racism in the form of the concept of Japanese racial superiority and separatism (apartheid) is equivalent with national pride in Japan. Nobody really talks about racism in Japan. It is generally accepted, as culturally appropriate, to be a Japanese-centric racist in Japan.
Japan does not have any laws against racial hate speech or laws that protect a non-Japanese person from discrimination. Public anti-Korean protests and the distribution of anti-Korea propaganda leaflets occur frequently in Japan. This propaganda is horrific. It calls for murdering the Koreans in Japan using gas chambers. These would be hate crimes in other countries.
In Japan, since this activity is not a crime, the only way to intervene, prevent, or stop such racist activities in Japan, is to file a legal civil action and cite the U.N. Global Declaration of Human Rights. Japan is a signatory country to this U.N. international treaty. The Japan Times reported the successful use of this method by a school in Kyoto, Japan, attended by the children of South Korean immigrants. The school filed a successful lawsuit for an injunction to stop the racist hate acts and for damages caused by an anti-Korean protest group that harassed the students, teachers and parents of the school.
An American living in Japan noted common misconceptions that the Japanese people have about foreigners (even some misconceptions taught in Japanese schools), which include:
- Foreigners are criminals – This encourages police profiling and housing discrimination against foreigners living in Japan.
- All westerners are Americans and speak English – The facts are that two-thirds of the westerners in Japan are from countries in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, not from America.
- Foreigners cannot use chopsticks, dislike the taste of sushi, and cannot learn Japanese or speak the language. – Many non-Japanese persons living in Japan speak the language and eat Japanese food in the Japanese style.
- All foreigners in Japan are English teachers. Many are, but not all.
- English and Chinese languages are similar.
In Japan, these widespread misconceptions and other stereotypes are the foundation of pervasive racism, which happens in a hidden manner. The most common racial discrimination experience is the denial of an apartment rental application made by a foreigner (i.e. non-Japanese). Change may eventually come to Japan because the country’s population is rapidly shrinking, as the Japanese people get older. Increased foreign immigration, which the Japanese government is now allowing, is the only way to find enough younger workers to support the more elderly Japanese population.
The Roots of Racism
Studies of racism often focus on the history of slave trading that captured people in Africa and sold them into bondage. However, this does not truly address the question of when did racism start or why racism continues in contemporary times to be so pervasive.
If the definition of racism is a broad one, which includes any attempts to separate people into classes or categories regardless of the differences in an individual’s characteristics, then racism is as old as human nature itself.
Many ancient cultures had large groups of people subservient to the ruling class and considered by the elite to be inferior. Racism in historical Spain, during the time of the exploration of the New World of Central and South America justified the forced conversion of millions to Catholicism. The Spanish conquistadors and the Catholic missionaries set about to bring their “superior” culture and force its acceptance on the “inferior” and barbaric people in Central and South America. The racist attacks on the Americas went all the way from Mexico to Brazil and continued as far south as Argentina. In all of the Central and South American countries, the native people lost their land. In contemporary times, the ancestors of those native people continue to experience racial discrimination. They are marginalized and treated as less-worthy than other people in those countries.
One thing that the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan have in common with the Spanish is the historical attempts at acquisition of territory by force. Also in Australia, there was the subjugation of the aborigines to capture the land. Racism in Australia directed towards the native people included taking the children away from their Aboriginal parents to teach them the white ways in the white schools. In New Zealand, the whites took land from the native Maori.
The French Revolution came about because the peasants tired of the mistreatment and racism from the royalty and wealthy landowners in France.
The fascist leader Hitler told the people of Germany that they were a superior race, which allowed a systemic killing of millions in a racist genocide. Mussolini followed suit in Italy with similar claims of being superior.
Israel, which formed ostensibly as an independent nation, where the Jewish people could escape racial prejudice, turned into a racist state of the Zionists that brutalize the Palestinian people. Just as all the other “super” powers did, the Zionists used racism as an excuse to occupy the Palestinian land.
South Africa had apartheid, which not only tried to separate the blacks and other people of color, like Indians, from the whites, it also effectively separated the blacks from receiving any financial benefit from the vast amounts of natural resources found in South Africa. Once again, the pretext of superiority as racism allowed the white Afrikaners to rob the native people of their land and resources.
Even in communist societies such as Russia (and the former U.S.S.R.) where everyone is supposedly equal comrades, there are serious class distinctions and racism. In communist Cuba, Castro’s rise to power was in reaction to the racism of the elite and the support for the overthrow of the Sandinista government. The power of the revolution came from the poor rural farmers who the government mistreated. This revolution put Castro in power.
Even in the most recent times, progressive countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Canada, are dealing with racist issues stirred up by the massive migration of people through immigration and the acceptance of Syrian refugees.
It all of these countries, racism starts as the foundation of prejudice that justifies the taking of resources and land from native and poor people or in response to immigration. Revolution occurs when those who are harmed fight back.
The premise of this article is no one is immune to racism. It is a global problem and the problem is not going to go away any time soon. One theme that is consistently associated with racism is that the diminishment of a people proceeds or goes along in tandem with robbing them of their resources. It makes it much easier to steal land and resources from others, if the group attacking them considers them inferior.
If those experiencing vicious racism suffer long enough, in many historical cases, this sparked a rebellion, which resulted in the overthrow of the government and breakdown of the systems that supported racism.
Aside from a massive revolution, a more peaceful way is to continue to work on the difficult issues of racism, keep up an open dialogue among all the stakeholders, up-level real-life examples that break stereotypes and give those positive examples more notoriety.
We love that a half-black, half-Japanese woman, Ariana Miyamoto, became the entrant in the 2015 Miss Universe contest, representing Japan. That is the kind of world we want to live in. It is a world that is diverse, with interesting people of all kinds, and filled with societies that respect the rights of every individual to become who they want to be.
We have a long way to go before we get there and may never reach a human society devoid of racism, but the path away from racism is the one most worth pursuing that shows promise and provides the most benefits for all concerned.