In recent times the New York Times, the York Daily News and Metro New York all reported on the expose that cops from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) had posted a series of racist rants on the social networking website Facebook. The threats to "drop a bomb and wipe them all out" and the characterization of a group of Black people from the Caribbean enjoying their culture in the adopted homeland as "animals and savages" underscored the nature of white supremacist racism and the fact that in the Age of Obama it's still very much alive and well.
If anything racism in the United States is on the upswing and threatens a social explosion that will define America in the 21st century. And it points to the fact that America has not yet confronted or come to grips with the legacy of white racism. Or maybe it's a DNA thing and it will take generations of inbreeding to "wash it out of the system." So while I am no sociologist and profess no training in race relations I crave the forgiveness of the intellectually informed for any mistake that I may make in writing this piece. But I believe that there must be a discussion on racism in American today.
So let us start our journey into this sensitive topic by stating the fact that there are many and varied forms of racism. And while we are concerned with the attitudes of white Americans towards Black Americans and "others," racism exists all over the world today.
The term "racism" is often used in a loose and unreflective way to describe the hostile or negative feelings of one ethnic group or "people" toward another and the actions resulting from such attitudes. But sometimes the antipathy of one group toward another is expressed and acted upon with a single-mindedness and brutality that go far beyond the group-centered prejudice
and snobbery that seem to constitute an almost universal human failing.
Some historic "white versus white" racism:
- Norse toward anyone not Norse
- English toward Danes and Germans
- English toward Welsh, Scots, Irish
- "Lowland" Scots vs. Highland Scots
- The division between Quebecois and the rest of Canada
Today there is racism in Iraq and Syria against ethnic Kurdi, in Pakistan against Tamils and in Indonesia against ethnic Chinese. In India, there is still conflict between Hindu and Sikh. "Racism" refers to discriminatory practices by the predominantly white social majority against Maoris in New Zealand, against aborigines in Australia.
In the mid-East, "racism" defines the treatment of Israel and Israelis by Arabs and Arab states, and the treatment of Palestinians within Israeli borders, as much or more than "religion" does.
The current conflict in Northern Ireland is a complexity of religious, political and emotional issues. Like conflicts in the Middle East and the Balkans, the violence on each side is fueled by bitterness over violence by the other. The root of the conflict goes back to the days of English oppression of the native Irish -- institutionalized racism.
The intolerance of Serbs toward Albanians in the Balkans made world headlines. Less dramatically publicized is long-standing racist treatment of the Roma (gypsies) in the Balkans, and elsewhere in Europe. In the Holocaust of Germany's Final Solution during the Second World War, Roma was targeted for extermination as viciously as Jews.
Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the descendants of the "conquering" empires -- Portugal and Spain -- rank higher socially and economically than descendants of the indigenous peoples. Latin America also has its own share of racism toward Blacks. Patterns of racism change over time. In the early days of the U.S., Irish immigrants were heavily discriminated against. Both World Wars heightened racism toward "Krauts" in the U.S.; and World War II saw internment of Japanese-American citizens by the U.S. government. Tibetan exiles fleeing the racism of the Chinese invading Tibet found racist treatment in many host countries, too.
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