Racism is taken to mean the view that the race constituents such as genetics in one way or the other largely influence human capabilities as well as traits. Taken further, this view holds that given races have an ingrained inferiority as opposed to other races which are considered superior. In this text I amongst other things explore racism as an ideology and describe the race idea.
The racism ideology
Talking of racism as an ideology, Feagin (2001) notes that it was in place as a scientific racism back in the 19th century and the main agenda here was to classify humanity in racial terms. It is important to note that after the holocaust as well as the Second World War, an ideology of that nature was largely abandoned and discouraged but it refuses simply refuses to go away. This according to Marger (2008) is informed by amongst other things the ratio of blacks in prison versus those who are not in comparison to those other races. It has been noted however that it is highly irresponsible to make assumptions that a given race has a high crime prevalence rate based on this figures or otherwise.
DuBois is on record as noting that it is the culture that people are concerned or think about as opposed to the race. This can be summed up as a collection or an aggregate of similar habits, religion, history, common laws and history etc. (Juan 2002). Nationalists and scholars in the 19th century began to accept discourses which were considered contemporary with regard to ethnicity and race. This is what was the genesis for new nationalist doctrines.
With time, the race slowly come to be taken as a representative of a human body’s vital traits and ultimately as a model of a nations personality as well as character. This view seems to advance that ethnic groupings create culture as a physical manifestation of racial traits. According to Marger (2008), race and culture were taken to be intertwined and in some instances, a set of definition in that respect incorporated language and/or nationality. When it cane to pureness of race, it was linked to a wide range of other characteristics that were largely superficial and which included but were not in any way limited to blondeness. With that, geographic distribution became de-linked to racial qualities. Instead, these qualities were largely linked to language and nationality. When we take Nordicism into consideration race superiority was informed by the Germanic domination.
It is this view of superiority when it comes to race that changed over time to put itself apart from other cultures that were taken to be either impure or inferior. It is important to note herein that values considered ethnocentric and nationalist have been considered to have largely bolstered this change. This cultural emphasis according to Feagin (2001) laid ground to the modern racism definition. In his own words, Feagin (2001) notes that “racism cannot be taken to be built around or informed by races existence.
Racism originates from social division processes and with that in mind, racism can happen to anybody irregardless of his or her religious, cultural or somatic inclinations.” Of course this view does not take into consideration the race biological concept which is still a bone of contention in the scientific arena. It has been noted that as long as scientists continue to be dazzled by race and the other components of human diversity, the racial component will continue to be a common occurrence in biology as well as other areas (Juan 2002).
When it comes to the institutionalization of racial thinking into legislation and policies, there has been a series of international legislation as well as local attention on the same. To begin with, ‘the declaration on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination’ looks into instances of racial prejudice and it was adopted on 20th Nov in 1963 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is important to note that race legislation has undergone a number of phases in history.
In 1776 great gains were made in respect to this when the declaration of independence explicitly stated that ‘all men are created equal’. In fact, this piece is the one which many scholars attribute to the enactment of the other subsequent amendments including the 13th, 14th as well as 15th amendments. Another notable enactment in this regard was the February 1942 executive order 9066 in which the internment into war of individuals of Japanese descent was done. This internment it might be noted was not only for individuals of Japanese descent but it targeted Germans as well as Italians.
It is important to note that while the biological conception of race exists today, it did not exist in the earlier days as biology was in itself not well defined then. During that time, racism was largely taken to be an unintended climate effect on individual’s physical characteristics.
Feagin, J.R. (2001). Racist America: roots, current realities, and future reparations. Routledge
Juan, San. (2002). Racism and cultural studies: critiques of multiculturalist’s ideology and the politics of difference. Duke University Press
Marger, M.N. (2008). Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives. Cengage Learning