If you think about it, the root cause of racism is self-interest. Find out what racism is and how to identify racist actions based on a person’s intention.
Racism is rooted in self-interest where one group of people with similar characteristics promotes their interests over the interests of another group of people. Then racism is encouraged, enabled, and continues for a number of reasons. One definition of racism is: “you treats another person differently (usually negatively) because their skin color is not the same as yours, they speak a different language or have different religious beliefs” (see BBC Newsround). More on the definition of racism.
Why People Are Racist – 3 Causes.
Below are three causes of racism. All of these causes are rooted in self-interest where the racist either masks their intentions or attempts to justify their actions at the expense of another “race“.
1. Scientific Racism.
Scientific theories, some supported by intelligent minds of the day, advance racist beliefs. This has included methods like physical anthropology and craniometry to advance one “race” over another. Again the root cause of this racism is self-interest to advance oneself and “race“.
2. Racism Rooted In Ignorance / Fear.
It is easy to gravitate to the known versus the unknown. “Race” ends up being a crutch for the ignorant and the fearful. We tend to make quick judgments about “people” we do not know. We will either blame them for our woes or keep them at a distance to stay in our comfort zone. Again the root cause of this racism is self-interest.
3. Racism Maintained by the Status Quo.
We are victims of our history and can become enablers of racism by maintaining the status quo. Where racism has existed in a society it creeps into our norms. Laws are passed, the media promotes racial stereotypes, and it becomes the norm to discriminate against certain “races“. No one likes change, especially if it does not benefit them. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It is the “Good” people, the uncaring, and the unaware who maintain the status quo of racism norms. Again the root cause of this racism is self-interest.
More on the Root Cause of Racism.
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