Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Is Racism?

Some of the new found radical misguided notions views on eradicating racism, really leaves me baffled wondering, how exactly do people think. No, don't get me wrong, I am as against discrimination as one can get, discrimination of any form at all, racism being just one of the forms. Its the basic understanding of the concept, where I vary from much of the stuff I come across. Our mind, gets its input from the senses, and forms its pictures, opinions and thoughts. So I would really need to shut my eyes when evaluating a person, if I don't want to know what the colour of their skin is or what clothes she wears, or close my ears and not hear what language she speaks. It is natural for our brain to process the information it receives through the sensory organs, and form its opinions.

I for one cannot look at a person with fair/white skin and not think of it as belonging to a Caucasian, or hear someone speak in a certain accent and not relate it to a country of origin. I don't think, perceiving the obvious physical differences, as being different, is racism. It is when seeing a particular skin colour triggers a stereotype in our mind, and we behave accordingly, that it is racism. That is what I think. But to say, don't call a black man black, is like expecting me to be blind. That I treat him differently than others is racism according to me. But then again, why is it not racist when I treat a certain kind of people better than the rest, why is it labelled racism, only if a certain section is treated badly. A simple example, why is it racist behaviour, when a person is treated poorly based on the colour of skin, but not if a person gets preferential treatment due to their skin colour. Have you ever heard a complaint, from a person saying, 'Its racist that I receive better service at the restaurant just because I am black/white/brown/xyz'. And though I don't know if I am correctly deriving this, but does the human mind process racism, only when there is negative discrimination, and not when its beneficial to them? It feels like a person, who cribs about being minority in a society, and how that's discriminating, but does not feel the same way, when the same factor gets them into quota for admissions to colleges or finding work.

But does the true definition of racism include only the negatively impacting discrimination, or is it discrimination in any form at all. I don't know. But for all practical purposes, it seems to only include the negative discrimination. However, I have digressed from my original line of thought. Coming back to it. Racism is not in the observation of our senses, but in what our mind makes of those observations. I think it is taking it to stupid heights, when it becomes racist, to describe a person by the colour of their skin. I for one am brown, and I am an Indian, and I don't think its racist in any way at all, if anyone says that. It would be, only if they treated me differently, because of the above attributes of my persona. And while, I hate to say it, I think India happens to be one of the most racist countries that exists. The immediate change of attitude towards different colour of skin, exists so abundantly, not only within its boundaries, but the attitude abounds aplenty outside too. The immediate change of attitude towards people, who are white skinned, is just revolting. From being overly polite to the face, to bitching and name calling through the teeth, behind their backs, it simply disgusts me. Why does there have to be any classification at all. Why can the person not be thought of as a person alone, whatever the race? I will never openly admit it, or say it to people here, but the fact remains, as is.

Racism I say again, is not in accepting the facts as is, but it is how we process it in our minds, and react to it. A non-racist, would accept, that another person belongs to a different race, but treat him just the same as he does everyone else.

[PS - please excuse if this post makes no sense, my own thoughts need a little more ironing on this subject.]


Anonymous said...

Well, first up Goof, it makes perfect sense to me. See, I think the positive discrimination gets ignored PROVIDED the "racist" is atleast being neutral with other groups, and that blurs the lines?

In fact, I do think that stereotyping isn't racist as long as the stereotyping noun/adjective/verb you use is negative. For example, "Arabs talk fast" is a fact to me, because that's what I have seen for MOST of them. "Brits have a dry sense of humour" is again something I would say without any inhibitions. But I wouldn't say "XYZ people are boring/ thieves/ violent". It's a simple combination of 1. Believing that a negative trait is rarely a racial typecast and generally a more pesonal thing. 2. If I don't have something nice to say, I wouldn't say anything.

But that could be my personal definition. Brilliant post as always.

Mama - Mia said...

agree! totally! i think these days the line between political correctness and ridiculousness is so thin that its difficult to take it seriously anymore!

i think a lot has to do with HOW a particular thing is being said. esp the tone and reference in which a particular term is used.

you know there is a difference between saying He is blind and asking kyon be andha hai kya?! the word andha in itself is not politically incorrect or mean, but how its used is.

and what adarkcom says also makes total sense! negative profiling is never good!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ah, it's working!

Your thoughts make perfect sense...I think overtly racist people have something lacking in their personality and/or lives, and so to feel good about themselves they take it out on people from other ethnic or religious groups...Easy targets...

Passionate Goof said...

adarkcomedycalledlife - Exactly my point, its not the use of words, or labels, but how we react to those levels, and behave. Thanks!

Mama - Mia - Oh! Thank God, someone said that. I feel somethings become absolutely ridiculous too, and so deeply take away from the real issues. Yes, the tone definitely matters. Uff!

Bones - Finally! I agree, most negative behaviour, stems from personal frustrations.

Natasha said...

Soo soo true..We have been taught to be soo politically correct that it has become ridiculous sometimes...People are even afraid to ask if I am from India coz that would offend me that they are stereo typing me..WHATTTT....Isn't tht taking things a bit too..man..How I miss those 'Mind your language' and 'zabaan sambhalke ' days..sighh