Racism If there is one single problem thatcould be solved in order to bring world peace into reality, it would be racism.Racism came from the word “race” which has become a sensitive topic lately.Racism, as defined by many dictionaries, is a belief that race is the maindeterminant of human traits and capacities.
It can also be defined as hatredfrom one towards another due to race difference. Racism seems to be just asimple word, but in fact, this simple word has caused mental problems, chaos,conflicts, and much more, since racism does not only affect individuals, but italso affects society and even country. In the worst case, it can even cause oneperson to kill another, in wars. Racism has turned from just a simple word to anightmare for each and every one of us. Up until now, even scientists arewondering, why could it happen? Why could people become racist? One of the mostfamous revolutionaries in the world, Nelson Mandela, states that no one is bornracist. He emphasized that no one is born hating other people because of theirskin color, background, and religion.
People are born neutral; the major causeof this kind of belief that people should hate others with different skincolors comes from the society. Another person agrees with Mandela’s quote, sheis no other than Jennifer Richeson, who is a social psychologist at YaleUniversity. According to Richeson (2017), people learn to be who they aremostly not from what their parents teach them to, even though we often makethat kind of assumptions. People learn to be someone through their society andculture. She also states that being a racist does not come from the evil insideour hearts, in fact, it comes from the environment we live in. There are threemain types of racism, which are individual, institutional, and also culturalracism.
The first type of racism isindividual racism, this happens when the actions, believes, and attitudes of aperson are judged according to his/her race. Without looking for examples outthere, racism can simply be found in our daily life, for example, when a personchooses his/her friends based on their race, it is already classified as anindividual racism. Usually, there are some people around us that only want tohang around with people that have the same background as them, whether it istheir skin color, race, and even religion. For example, some Indonesians refuseto get along with Chinese, and some Moslems refuse to get along withChristians. In Indonesia itself, this type of racism has been happening for awhile.
There are some words/phrase that some of the Indonesians use dailywithout even noticing that those words/phrase are considered racist. Forexample, some Indonesians use the word “bugle” so often they do not evenrealize that they are actually being racist when they use that word. This wordhas spread widely among Indonesians and sometimes some people use this word asa part of their sentences without feeling guilty at all. This could happenprobably because they do not know the meaning of the word itself, or becausethey are just being ignorant of the fact that they are being racist. Anothercommon example comes the word “cina” which simply means Chinese. A briefinformation about Chinese, most of them live their life in such a way to reduceas much money spent as possible, because most of Chinese are traders, so theyprobably value money more than any other people (Fera, 2015).
Some of theindividual racists in Indonesia think that most of Chinese are stingy, again,without even noticing that they are being racist. However, this statementcannot be proven scientifically, because while some of Chinese are saving theirmoney in such a way, the others are living their life glamorously. Anotherexample comes from a real-life case that happened around three years ago inBoston. According to Jacobs (2017), there was a black police officer that wasdiscriminated by a white lieutenant. This white lieutenant was asking about howcould a black person become a police officer in a rude gesture. Apart from thefact that it was offensive and threatening for the black police officer, itmight also lead to another problem at work. The black police officer wasworried about his job, he wondered if the white lieutenant will be willing towork together with him next time when they are attacked on patrol. From thisreal-life case, we can conclude that this individual racism could be a badthing because it can lead to another type of racism, which is institutionalracism.
Institutional racism, which is thesecond type of racism, happens when laws and organizations/groups putregulations to be racists towards a certain group of people (Socyberty, 2011),and in the most cases, people do this kind of racism unknowingly. Thisinstitutional racism might starts from individual racism because usually in anorganization there is a leader that makes decisions, and when this leader isracist, he/she tends to teach his/her organization members to become a racistas well. For instance, when an owner of a company refuses to promote his/her employeesthat come from certain communities, it is considered individual racism. Butthen, when other employees see this kind of situation, they will instantly makeit a policy of the company. Therefore, when the company actually follows this”unwritten policy” of not promoting employees that come from certain communities,the situation is considered institutional racism.
However, institutional racismcannot lead to individual racism simply because institutional racism comes fromone person (individual racist). While individual racism is focused on howpeople treat other people from different backgrounds negatively, institutionalracism is more focused on how policies/laws treat people differently. Anotherexample, many companies in Indonesia only want to hire people from specificbackgrounds. Sometimes, some of them will put specific requirements such as;”only Indonesians” or “only Christians”. These kinds of requirements are alsoconsidered as institutional racism since the company itself decided to notaccept just anyone from any backgrounds.
For the real-life example, one of theprofessors at Temple University has done a research in the U.S. about thehomeschooled children.
According to Mazama (2015), the reasons why whitechildren and black children are homeschooled are quite different, in a negativeway. White children are homeschooled mostly because their parents want them to.On the other side, black children are forced to be homeschooled due to thecircumstances in the normal schools. Her research shows that black children aretreated very differently from the whites in their schools. Black children tendto be harmed by the whites, and even some of the schools give harsh schoolspunishments to the blacks only.
This situation is considered as institutionalracism because it does not come from only one individual (for example, ateacher). It is not that only one teacher is being a racist, it is the whole schoolthat is already being racist. The last type of racism that can beseen clearly in our society is cultural racism.
Different from individual andinstitutional racism, this kind of racism is more focused on the culturalstereotypes. As stated by Brice (2015), cultural racism can be defined as theuse of symbols and elements of certain groups (most likely to be minorities),by the majorities in a negative manner and also in an ignorant attitude. Insimpler words, cultural racism allows people to think about certain communitiesin an inappropriate and ignorant way. The easiest example of this kind ofracism is the use of religious statues. Almost all of the religions have theirown statues that are usually used in various spiritual ceremonies.
But somepeople use these kinds of religious statues in such manner without knowing thatthey are being cultural racists. For example, nowadays there are many peoplethat are putting Buddhist statues in some areas of their house in order to makeit look pretty, even though they are not even Buddhists. They probably do notknow about the real function of the statues, or some of them maybe just do notreally care about this misbehavior. Another example, when there is aMexican-themed party, some people often use poncho, sombrero, and maracas tomake their costumes more appealing. But in fact, maracas are actually an itemthat is used by the native people of Jamaica and Cuba when they are doingspiritual ceremonies.
Thus, using maracas in parties roughly means that thepeople do not really have respect towards the religion. Through these kinds ofactions, cultural racism can be a very disrespectful thing to do even thoughmost of the people who do this kind of racism do it unknowingly. In conclusion, racism is a simpleword that carries a very deep and sensitive meaning. Many people are hurtbecause of racism, and even some of them are dead because of racism. In themost common case of racism, people that are classified as “racists” believethat white people should be separated from black people and that the whiteshold more power and are dominant towards the blacks Smedley (n.
d.). The blacksshould have different schools and hospitals than the whites, and even for theblacks, it is very hard for them to marry the whites because the racists thinkof it as “unnatural”. The most common racism case that almost everyone knows isabout Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America.
According toLeonhardt (2018), Donald Trump recently said that Barack Obama, the formerPresident of United States of America, was born in Africa, just because hisskin color is black, whereas most of the people know that only a person thatwas born in America can be a president. This proves that Trump is really aracist. Another case happens when he describes Mexicans as rapists, this isclassified as individual racism that might lead to institutional racism sincehe has more than thousands of people listening to him. Some people mightactually believe in what he said, even though it is not necessarily truebecause up until now, all of his racist statements cannot be provenscientifically, meaning, it is just an opinion. These kinds of situations areactually really unhealthy because some people might become racists just fromhearing what Trump has said.
Through all of these manners, racism can bestarted easily from everyone’s mouth. And clearly, many people are already sickof racism since it is not just a simple case. In order to make our world abetter place for everyone to live in, racism must be stopped, regardless ofwhoever starts this unpleasant and ignorant belief.