Racism

A Global Phenomenon               Coordinator

Racism is not over.

Anyone who says it is has not experienced it.

Racism is hard to explain, hard to examine and hard to summarize. Many of us have experienced racism firsthand. Many of us have friends and family who have experienced racism first hand. But for some of us, racism is something we read or hear about. Not something we really know.

When attached to physical traits, it is the most visible sorting mechanism for other prejudices based on religion, ethnicity, language, and economic class. Its core principle is that one group, so defined, is privileged because of inate superiority over another one large enough to be perceived as competing for a share of the available good. Its core cause is probably greed, though it is expressed through justifications believed at a visceral level.

Racism wears different faces in different countries. In the US, prejudice has been directed against Native Americans, then African Blacks, later Hispanics and Asians, as well as a host of ethnic subgroups of the dominant European Caucasian society. In Greece, the country we choose to live in, racism is the flip-side of the vaunted Greek hospitality to the stranger. As in most other parts of the world, the solitary stranger is accepted. When his numbers grow into a recognizable group, he may become the object of suspicion. This is particularly true of ethnic groups for whom historical animosity arises from war or empire.

Fighting racism must begin “at home”. It’s hard but necessary to examine one’s own racism before tackling it further afield.  No one likes to be accused of being racist but before we react in an angry and defensive manner, perhaps it’s better to say… I’m not sure… I don’t know… I’d like to find out more.

HELADA views in more detail:
Racism in the US

Racism in Greece

Read more:

Simon Wiesenthal Center report on hate-speech on the Web
10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children's Books for Racism and Sexism,
Birchlane School, Davis, CA, USA

Blog: Stuff White People Do, a sometimes “amusing” yet serious effort to deal with personal racism

Wikipedia's long listing of films with racist themes
Some of these films are based on books of the same name. The listing of books on racism is almost as long as the listing of sellers and library services listing books on racism.

 

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