Racism: A Social Cancer
Racism is a great social cancer. It has existed for hundreds of years, enslaved nations, praised tyrants, and placed humanity at a lowest scale. There are many concepts surrounding racism. One, it is the hatred of one group of persons towards another. Second, there is the belief that one group is better than the other, in terms of language, skin color, birth or place of origin. Racism has changed the lives of people; it caused wars, divided nations, and paved ways for Constitutional rights. Perhaps the most notorious kind of racism is that between the whites and the blacks. There is a colonial mentality that worked like osmosis among Caucasians: If you’re born with white skin, you are better than the others. All the rest, the black and brown-skinned peoples from the mountains and banana republics, are slaves, savages, not fit for kings and leaders.
The receiving end of bullying and slavery are the Africans and Black Americans. It is evident in literature that Africans have been suffering from apartheid and racial discrimination. The short story “The Bench” by Richard Rive perfectly captures the feelings of Africans. In the story, there are designated seats for whites and blacks. Could this be existing only in literature? The answer could be more horrifying than fiction, for in the past, there was a clear segregation of races.
In the Philippines, brown-skinned natives were once referred to as indios, a derogatory term almost synonymous to slave. Those who were treated with respect and civility were the top-ranking officials, members of the elite (the ilustrados), and the mestizos (or half-Europeans and half-Filipinos). The twisted mentality of racists has a strong grip on men and women even now, when they try on various whitening creams to set themselves apart from their olive-skinned peers.
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In the global arena, not only Filipinos suffer from racism. There is a minority of Asian groups in Europe and the United States, and somehow, the line between the Caucasians and Asians has not yet disappeared. Consider the restaurants that do not accept Asian customers, or the lack of support for the immigrants. As for blacks, they are usually seen by racists as inferior and subhuman. They become an easy target of abusive authorities, and the lone receiver of subpoenas and accusations without due process.
Up to now, too, Jews experience discrimination from other people. The horror of the Holocaust is enough to remember the atrocities of Hitler and his one-sided mind, and the sufferings of Jews at the hands of Nazis and their supporters.
Even Charlie Hebdo, the political cartoon paper, got flaks for its racist comments against Muslims. Though the killing of their editors and journalists is inhumane, readers of the French satirical paper cannot deny the pictures and headlines that were done with a lack of taste. Its illustration of the dead Syrian boy who drowned last year, with the caption “Ass groper in Germany” sparked countless debates online.
Where do we draw the line? Where do we see something as racism, and something as just an exercise of your freedom to express and your artistic license? Racism is not just merely the obvious pinpointing of differences, or the overt mocking of people we see as inferior. Racism exists the moment you look at yourself as better than others, the moment you start segregating yourself from a group of people because you think you are more intelligent, more affluent, or more powerful than them. Racism breeds a culture of shock, violence, and disgust. It gives birth to other atrocities. People could enslave, kill, and oppress a nation because of racism. Truly, this cancer is incurable.