„I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood (…)
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King (28th of August 1963, meeting in Washington)
The world is not ideal, but the world is also not bad by itself. People make it worse than it is and it should be. Various conceptions and ideologies based on hatred, intolerance and lack of acceptance have been formed over ages. Many of those negative opinions are so deeply rooted in societies, that it is very difficult to get rid of them. Most of them are extremely disastrous and their consequences are, or can be, truly horrifying. One of the views, which have done a lot of wrong to the world and led to great tragedy, was racism.
“Racism is the view and the thesis of human inequality. It is the ideology of the superiority of one race over another. A “higher” race is the most important and its survival becomes the primary goal. That is why a “higher” race should dominate over “inferior” races.”
Racism means nothing else then discrimination. The word originates from the France language (“le racism”); “la race” means: race, social group, descent. Important is that over the ages this ideology, which was never uniform, has been varied. These days the definition of racism cannot be based only on one form of discrimination. Nowadays, racism is not only racial or ethnic discrimination. This word is used to describe various types of prejudice, like e.g.: sexism, ageism, able-ism and specie-ism. The concepts related to these subjects are: anti-Semitism, chauvinism and homophobia.
The arguments put forward by racists generally can be divided into three groups:
- Genetic (inherited intelligence)
- Psychological (lower rates of intelligence among some social groups, some races, like e.g. Black Men in the USA)
- Historical (unequal contribution of human races to the achievements of civilization)
Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, a French politician and ethnologist, was the first theorist of racism in the history of this ideology. He created the race-anthropology trend in sociology and in this way he worked out racism’s doctrine. He presented the thesis of the existence of the Aryan race and of the superiority of this race over others. According to Gobineau, the Aryan race had to be kept in the German and France aristocracy circles. This French politician worked out the idea of preserving the purity of races. According to him, the “white race” should not be mixed with other races because it can cause the fall of the societies.
However, racism, in the nationalist aspects, the world “owns” to another German theorist, Houston Steward Chamberlain. He tried to prove the superiority of the race called Teutons. This name can be used for the Germanic people in general. According to him, those people are characterized by certain features of appearance. They are tall and fair-haired. The biggest threads for those people are the Slavs and Jews.
The views and the ideas of Houston Steward Chamberlain were used by Nazi theorists of racism, like for example, Alfred Rosenberg or Adolf Hitler. In this way foundations of the racial discrimination system have been developed. Fortunately for all of us, and for the entire world, this racist conception has been completely discredited after the fall of Nazism.
Unfortunately, Nazism and Hitlerism are not everything. Many racists excuse their personal beliefs on religious opinions. Some of them were even able to present the racist interpretation of the Holy Bible. Those practices forced religious leaders to take a position on racism. In the second half of XX century many of the religious leaders have started officially condemning racism. Pastor Martin Luther King preached the sermons, in which he urged the U.S. citizens of different colors of skin to live in friendship and brotherhood. The bishop Tutu appealed to the public for reconciliation in South Africa. It is worth to mention that both, Martin Luther King and the bishop Tutu were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Racism has been presented in all corners of the world, and it took different forms. Racism existed in South Africa, until 1991, in the form of Apartheid. At that time took place strict racial segregation in this country. Everything started in 1948, when the right-wing National Party got the power. Apartheid was abolished together with getting into the power of Frederik Willem De Klerk, who was the last State President of the apartheid-era. After that, the people in South Africa had their first black president, Nelson Mandela.
There are many racist organizations in the world. The greatest fame, obviously not in a good sense, gained the Ku Klux Klan. It is an American organization, which was created in 1866 in Tennessee. KKK was established by six veterans of the South Army, who fought in the American Civil War. The original purpose of KKK was to help widows and children of the soldiers who died during the war. Unfortunately, very quickly the organization started fighting about the equality of black men’s right. Three years after the founding, KKK consisted of 550.000 members. The organization was formally disbanded in 1877, but it was formed again in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia. This time it became a typical, one hundred percent racist organization proclaiming the slogans such as: “Pure America,” “White Hegemony,” or “True Patriotism.” In the 20’s KKK had 4, 5 million members. Nowadays, the organization is not so popular anymore and has lost its power. Ku Klux Klan has still about a few thousand members, what unluckily means that racism still exists.
Many politicians, international organizations and religious leaders, as well as a lot of other famous and well-known people, have openly condemned racism. Two times UNESCO took voice in this matter, in 1961 and 1964. UN General Assembly also accrued against racism, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was accepted in 1948.
But in spite of all these efforts, racism, unfortunately, still exists in our society!!!