Racism, what a sad little word I would say! Usually, linguists love words, but this is the kind of word I would love to see eradicated from all dictionaries in all languages. More importantly, I would like to see it vanished from the face of the Earth and see all human beings being treated equally, because that’s what we are, equal!
Humans come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us are tall, others short. Some of us have blue eyes, other brown, or green, or black. Our skin can be different too, fair, dark, olive. And all these differences are what makes us unique, not superior, not inferior, just unique. This diversity is what makes us all interesting and beautiful. If wasn’t for it, we would simply be photocopies of each other. How dull would that be?
What causes it?
Some studies say racism is a result of our tendency to form groups and associate good with our group and bad to others’. It is basically, a “us” and “them” concept. Others also say it is the fear of the “unknown”, that we fear people that look different because they are different from us. It is hard to find a single cause for this “disease”. In my view, it is a combination of many things and many centuries of prejudice and discrimination.
Can we change it?
I believe we do. In fact, we have changed already. But we still have a lot to do, and we still have a lot to learn, but if we want it, we can have it, that is for sure. Even if it’s something we do unconsciously, it can be changed. We need to analyse our behaviour and our beliefs and identify those unconscious prejudices we may have. Once we do, we can work on ourselves to change them.
How can we change it?
I would say, the best way to change a bad habit is to acknowledge that habit and the negative impact it has on us and others. I think, just the fact we acknowledge we have a problem, is already part of that change and a way to the solution.
We need to educate ourselves and our children to see diversity as a great thing, not a bad one. Being different doesn’t mean being criminal, it simply means, being different on the outside, inside we are all human. If we erase racial stereotypes and understand that there are good and bad people in all ethnicities and it is not the colour of their skin, their culture or beliefs that make them good or bad, it is their character and their values as a person, we will make the world a better place.
If we promote discussion, if we ask questions and instead of judging or criticising a certain culture, we ask the people about that culture, so we can understand why they do things differently. Not better, not worse, just differently. It is not an offence to ask, but it is offensive to judge.
If we raise our children to accept diversity and be respectful of all human beings, we are certainly working for that change. If we look at the horrible atrocities made in the past, learn from those atrocities and change our behaviour, so we don’t have to see those crimes happening again, maybe one day we can see this sad word eradicated from our dictionaries and racism eradicated from our planet.