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Racism Essay, Research Paper

Racism

The one attribute that has characterized the United Nations throughout history is the commitment to the dignity and equality of each human being, regardless of race, and its determination to combat racism and racial discrimination wherever it may exist. Therefore, I am identifying the functionalist approach.

Mankind is a social animal. Groups seem to form almost spontaneously in any social setting. Their commonness is seen from the fact that they occur in all societies, from the advanced to primitive. ?Discrimination between human beings on the grounds of race, color, or ethnic origin is an offense to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations, and as a fact capable of disturbing peace and security among peoples? (Ross, 121).

I believe that racism has always existed, that this was something that was deeply embedded into the American character, something that we had little opportunity to do little about. In reality, race theory and racism is a relatively recent development in world history. If one were to go back and read some of the ancients, Herodotus, the Greeks and others, what we find in the ancient world is cultural bigotry. The Greeks felt that they had the best civilization going. The Romans felt likewise. And then there was prejudice and bigotry. People fought each other based on that. But it was not on the basis of skin color. Indeed among the Greeks there were leading African people, among the Romans there were leading African persons, some of whom became Roman emperors. As Roman emperors they thought they were better than anybody else, including other black people who were non-Roman. So that the discrimination and the kind of conflicts between the groups were not about race, not about color but it was more about culture. It was more about cultural superiority than it was on the basis of skin color.

Racism has always been a major concern. If we go back historically to slavery times, very often in the South slave masters would hire out their slaves to enterprises, to small businesses in the urban areas. The result of that was that this slave labor, which was out at very, very cheap wages, undercut free labor. The problem is that white folks who found themselves victimized by the system could never quite get the point that it was not the slaves who were the villains, that they were in fact being manipulated also. So the venom always tended to be aimed at the slaves rather than the collusion between the white businesspeople and the white slave masters. After the Civil War, there was a period called the radical reconstruction or black reconstruction. Radical reconstruction because there was the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and another little known act, known as the Civil Rights Acts of 1868 and 1875. In black or radical reconstruction, black people had more power than any other time in the present. In 1877 all the federal troops were pulled out of the South and the flight of the so-called Negro was turned over to the so-called redeemers in the South, a new emerging white power elite.

One of the pledges that these redeemers made was that they would not brutalize black people and they indicated that they preferred to associate with the better class of Negroes than with what they called themselves ?white trash.? The problem is that something happened in the South. Therefore there was not the imposition of this Southern problem, this Jim Crow system that we fought to overturn in the civil rights revolution on the 1960?s and the 1970?s. For a while after 1877, the first three years after everything was sort of okay. Black people continued to vote and to be on public transportation.

There are some solutions to this problem that we should take into account. We should always respect the culture and identity of communities of color. Respect the leadership and agenda of people of color. Serve as a facilitator not the leader. Predominantly white organizations should always have people of color in critical roles on their staff so they can take the lead in organizing in communities of color. This doesn?t mean that only white people can only organize in white communities or black people in black communities. We could have interracial teams doing work, and we certainly need interracial collaboration on strategies to move this work forward.

I conclude, on racism by simply saying that to talk about fighting against racism is to talk about a revolution. That is to say that we need to struggle against racism so that we can in fact create a force that will be cutting edge on the fight for social transformation and the creation of a new society and a new world.


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