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Racism, the Culture of Insecurity

The Paradox of Scolding Philosophy and Exacerbating the Perceptible Contempt


Originally published by Illumination on Medium


Photo by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash

Racism is wrong! It is evil and rejected by every rational person with the right mind. Nevertheless, it is not a new happening, as it always prevails to hit the news headlines. Despite its historical presence, it is still perceived and dealt with differently by the populace because of the varying point of reference to a particular situation at a given moment in time. “Indeed, we are living in the realm of a cultural affair.”

Racism, too, like many others, has turned into a bandwagon. For instance, if someone dislikes a color, way of life, or even somewhat feels insecure simply because others believe the same way, everyone else will follow. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, once people are threatened by knowing that someone or a group of people don’t grasp them as fellow humans, they create their assembly to counteract the other’s thoughts or initiatives. Such discriminatory behaviors are independently morbid, not necessarily for the context; they are nourished, but merely because of their potential consequences.

Racism also transpires when something or someone holding a detailed profile suffix that gains widespread popularity, feeling a sense of preponderance. The conclusion is entrenched in the extreme depth of a persons’ ethnic profile. We all know such a notion is erroneous and has no basis, particularly in ways a person is allied. Since, if one has a developed intelligence or has an advantage- it is merely because of individual factors and not the suffix they care, such as white.

We condemn racism and fascism to the extreme, notwithstanding where to draw the line between counter discrimination and maintenance of freedom of expression is the space where is a highly delicate topic.

The inquest is- do we outlaw racist philosophy and even speech- or the conviction to a crime spurred by the racist viewpoints? Or let the vulgar, prejudiced mind vent itself through freedom of expression. Then, we punish the committer based on the wicked act?- Before we answer the questions, let’s foremost recap the chronology of racism.

So, What is Racism?

Racism stands for the assumption that a distinct human race is superior or subordinate to another. A racist person is a somewhat genetic reductionist trusting that a set of inherent biological traits predestines the social and moral attributes. Racial separatism outlines that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another.

Racism is a comparatively new concept, ascending in the European age of colonialism, the ensuing growth of capitalism, and especially the Atlantic slave trade. As the significant driving force, racism originates from the underlying dark side of the human ego, ethnocentrism. However, during colonialism, It became an influential vigor behind racial segregation, with more emphasis in the 19th century’s the United States and South African apartheid.

Racism has played a unique role in atrocities and massacres such as the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and killing of Serbs and colonial projects, and the European colonization of the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Racism is Rooted in Cultural Profile

Racism is frequently interpreted as individual prejudice, but in reality, racism is different beyond “individual diversity,” every individual irrespective of the perceived profile. Racism is a systemic cultural emblem in the “profile” of cultural artifacts, ideological discourse, and institutional realities that work collectively with individual likings.

According to some scholars, three key insights on the psychology of racism have derived from utilizing a cultural-psychology framework.

· First, Racism is rooted in everyday human environments.· Second, through our partialities and choices, people often support racialized contexts in their day to day activities.· Third, we occupy cultural realms that promote racialized customs of seeing, being in, and acting in the world.

Racist yet cultural perspective directs efforts at activities that are distracting to the individual tendencies. Alternatively, it converges on changing the mind structures in a context that reflects and portrays a given profile or prefix, such as racial domination.

Culture is the Root of Populism and Ethnocentrism

The customary dogmas, social schemes, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group

Carrying the characteristic features of everyday existence in a society is the driver of the populace, hence ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism plays a fundamental part in the wave of populist views. For example, About sixty-one percent (61%) of the German populist party, AfD, 56% of National Front backers in France, and nearly half of the Party for Freedom (PVV) supporters in the Netherlands believe their people’s culture is “superior to others.” This sense of national cultural pre-eminence is far less accepted among the rest of the public in their countries.

Ethnocentrism is the Core Ingredient of Populism

Ethnocentrism is a significant player in dividing different ethnicities, races, and religious groups. It’s the belief that one’s ethnic group is superior to another. Ethnocentric individuals gather they’re better than others for reasons based wholly on their heritage. Base on that assumption, there comes the concept of “protectionism.”

Protectionism is the economic strategy of curbing imports from other nations through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, import allowances, and various other government regulations. The idea is supposed to protect the interest and reduce competition for ordinary people. Consumer protectionism and ethnocentrism can be examined as a winding formation of mutual relationships, individual preferences, and stances built from one`s comparative self-identification and stemmed from a collective dogma that a distinct cultural, national, or religious assemblage is different or superior to others.

Populism is an impetus for Racism.

The Princeton political scientist Jan‐​Werner Müller once said-

“In addition to being antielitist, populists are evermore antipluralists,”

Populists claim that they are the only representative of the people. But, the opener to understanding the fundamental populist ideology is that the people, according to the populist vision, do not incorporate all the people. It rejects “the elite” or a particular group of public profiles, also referred to as the enemies of the people. The enemies of the populace may be specified in many guises depending on the cultural or social sphere, such as foreigners, the press, minorities, religion, businesspeople, the “1 percent,” or others seen as not being part of them or are from a different ethnicity. As evident as it is, Populism is discriminatory and apartheid.

Profiling is Discriminatory and Wrong, but it is Widespread

Profiling is the practice of categorizing people or things based on specific traits or physical characteristics. It applies to human beings as the tool for predicting their behavior based on particular qualities. Humans are profiled all the time, whether we like it or not!

For instance, People are profiled every day by businesses and insurance companies. The information on someone’s profile is an agent of sign to the person’s lifestyle. It helps insurance companies assess the probability that we will be involved in collisions. A proxy is a trait such as race, sex, or religion used as a shortcut to judging something otherwise.

Groups in socially and politically, and economically vulnerable positions will recognize profiling as not just wrong but embarrassing. If a person is profiled based on their horoscope sign, Virgo or a Sagittarius, etc., they may perceive that as idiosyncratic and even unfair. They probably won’t feel it’s demeaning. But we classify ourselves more intimately with our ethnicity, religion, and sex, so when disadvantaged people are profiled based on these characteristics, it tends to have a far more harmful impact.

The impact of profiling will be contingent upon what is at stake. If a person’s job prospects are affected by profiling, that matters. If profiling only modifies the plausibility of additional inspection at the airport security checkpoint, that is not as bothersome, especially if someone does not travel too often. However, the latter makes the frequency a relevant consideration. Innocent African-American males who are regularly stopped and questioned by police naturally precipitate a powerful sense of outrage.

Reduced Self-Confidence, Insecurity, Profiling, and Racism

Racism, and xenophobia, in general, do not have a genetic or evolutionary basis but are primarily a psychological feature, more particularly, a psychological defense mechanism generated by perceptions of insecurity and fear. Research has revealed that- when people are reminded of their mortality, they exhibit a sense of anxiety and uncertainty, which they respond to by growing more prone to status-seeking, materialism, greed, prejudice, and aggression. They are more likely to conform to culturally accepted beliefs and conform with their national or ethnic peers. Such an attitude would potentially marginalize racists, populists, and their ideological enemies and place them in the vicious circle of anger, despise, hate, and ultimately criminal actions. The cycle above is what we are witnessing today involving racially inspired police brutality on George Floyd in Minnesota. The atrocities we see are nothing more than the power struggle between two or more populist principles in a very diverse society, i.e., the United States.

Modern Racism is more Complicated.

Racism is not a system to indict white people for everything and make them feel condemned. It is about stereotyping and overgeneralizing and oversimplifying image, idea, belief, or judgment about a group that is applied uncritically as possible to all individuals within that group.

Racism diminishes, demoralizes, and dehumanizes one and all. It is a slice of the multifactorial etiology of health inequality, habitually covertly affecting everyone in startling and unforeseen ways. Racism slithers silently undercover, lessening our ability to love our neighbors as ourselves can be implicit social cognition, bias.

Implicit bias, or people acting based on prejudice and stereotyping without meaning to do so, is the oblivious attribution of distinct features to a member of a particular social crowd. Implicit bias is frequently inspired by experiences and can affect expectations, performance, and judgment. It is comparatively spur-of-the-moment, arising from past encounters not available for recall, self-report, or thought. Almost every human being shows some prejudice at some point in time as part of their survival intuition. It pertains to the fast, automatic, habitual, emotional, stereotypic, and unconscious type of thought process.

Any generalized expectations a person has before communicating with another person stem from implicit biases. Examples of such expectations include thoughts like- All White people from the midwestern United States are republicans, All black people are democrats, all Asians are good students, etc.

Racism has become the Stick of Punishment.

One of the most unnoticed spectacles in the realm of racism is the topic of the “Race Card.” The phrase is generally used to assert that someone has intentionally and unjustly blamed another person for being a racist to gain some advantage.

As much as racism is a genuine concern, not only in the United States but also across the world, not every country deals with the problem the same way. Players of the race card can impact parallel to that, not every society. Accusing someone of being racist is nothing short of the words coming out of someone’s mouth, but what to do with those words has become the weapon of many politicians and special interest groups.

The vicious circle of prohibiting expression, implicit bias, especially of ethnocentric quality, the race card is the nidus for building tension amid factions with diverse profiles. Thus, one can expect inadvertent prohibition and punishing expression irrespective of how vulgar it can be is not the solution but an independent problem.

Historical Fight against Racism

Throughout history, there have been many efforts to eliminate racism and bring racial equality. For example, In December 1511, a Dominican friar, Antonio de Montesinos, was the first man to reprimand the Spanish powers that be and administrators of Hispaniola for their “cruelty and tyranny openly” in dealing with the American Indians and those forced to labor as slaves.

Before the American Upheaval, a minor assembly of Quakers, including John Woolman and Anthony Benezet, successfully convinced their fellow members of the Religious Society of Friends to free their slaves, divest from the slave trade, and create unified Quaker rules against slavery.

Before and during the American Civil War, racial egalitarianism in the North became much more robust and generally scattered. The victory of black troops in the Union Army had a dramatic influence on Northern sentiment.

In 1836, Friedrich Tiedemann using craniometric and brain measurements disputed the belief of many simultaneous naturalists and anatomists that black folks have smaller brains and are thus intellectually lower than white counterparts.

In 1919 Japan first proposed articles dedicated to eliminating racial discrimination to be added to the rules of the League of Nations. That was the first proposal concerning the international abolition of racial discrimination in the world.

Hate speech is a Relative Phenomenon.

Free speech and hate speech are facing overwhelming social engineering and semantic manipulation. That is particularly more prevalent amongst politicians trying to take advantage of the “Murky waters.”

The particular controversy is whether a free speech breaking point exists, a line at which the evil or destructive or contentious nature of speech should prompt it to suffer constitutional protection under the First Amendment.

Surveys traditionally show that the American people are strong supporters of free speech in general. Still, those numbers tend to drop when the review concentrates on distinct forms of controversial statements, such as race and racism.

The controversy over what defines “hate speech” is not novel, but it is reiterated as the experiences of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Me Too movement. These movements have heightened awareness and expanded national conversation about racism, sexual harassment, and more. With the heightened perception come intensified calls for legislation punishing racially detrimental speech or belligerent based on gender or gender integrity.

Currently, antagonistic to widely held misimpressions, there is no class of speech known as “hate speech” that may consistently be prohibited or penalized. However, Offensive expression that endangers or incites lawlessness or that contributes to the motive for a criminal act may, on some occasions, be slammed as part of a hate crime, but not merely as offensive language. The foul language that creates a hostile work environment or that disrupts school classrooms may be forbidden. Yet, again, it is hard to draw the line as to what pertains to hate speech, as one may see the statement differently than the other, even within the holders of the same racial profile.

We must define every Phenomenon within its Exclusive Context.

Racist philosophy is unethical and unfair, however persuasively speaking, it is not a crime. Racists don’t commit crimes day in and day out. Just like those who are not racist are innocent of everything. Nonetheless, those who act upon their evil thoughts often legitimize their actions without weighing on the consequences. So, Racism is not beyond a racist belief. But, today, it seems like racism appears equal to a crime, just like someone watching crime movies or contemplating killing an enemy without doing so!

Similarly, it is the typical rhetoric today: hate speech is not free speech, or racist remarks are considered hate speech. As pointed out earlier, some are pushing to criminalize racist comments.

Once again, in confirmation of what I mentioned earlier in this piece, a well-educated person with a sound mind would concede that racism in any shape or form is unethical and evil. Yet, many people day in and day out may think, fantasize, and even have a firm conviction to their apartheid tenet. However, they rarely act on them unless they feel that their freedom of expression (No matter how unacceptable to the mainstream) is jeopardized. The latest is something for which we need to be on the lookout!

Prohibiting free speech transpires as the source of all conflicts and spinning wheel of the vicious circle of prohibition, breach of the first amendment, anger, hostility, hate (and yes- Not Hate speech or racial hatred), and ultimately “Crime.”

Racially motivated speech riddled with hatred is just another hateful speech, and any prefix associated with it is redundant with the potential counterproductive outcome. And yes, again- Free speech is and always be free speech, as we can stop listening to others, but we can’t shut their mouth. Same, we can’t change the way people think.

Lately, we can’t circumvent hearing terms like a hate crime or crime against humanity. When I hear these words, I ask myself, is there such a thing as a “good crime” or an evil crime?

To the same extent, I ask again- Do we need to categorize the offense, other than establishing the level of punishment?!

Plus- don’t the punishment level merely reflect the lethality and level of intention versus the motive?

Racially motivated hate and speech associated with it is the belief. Crime is committed by someone against another human being motivated by hatred towards the same victim. It is just another crime, only with its particular motive, just like killing a rich person for his money. So would there be racism and fascism against rich people? (Which exists, by the way!)

Are there laws against crime against Elites? — Of course not! That is called a homicide, just like any other crime.

Race Crime or Hate is the Reflection of Perception and Poor Morale.

Crime is an objective phenomenon and is determined by society and its governing laws. On the other hand, hate is the reflection of subjective perception as to how someone feels about something, someone, or an idea. Unfortunately, there has been a significant misconception of what semantics are behind these words.

Again, radical racist ideology may result in a crime if not addressed beforehand and effectively. Nonetheless, that is ideally achieved through communication, education, improved perception, and rehabilitation of morale. The latter is something that We will never achieve through suppression of free speech, even racist speech in particular.

Politicizing Racism will not do us any Good.

People need to learn about the consequences of their actions and not how they see things.

Politics does precisely the opposite!

Racism is a cultural, social phenomenon with ethnocentric roots, and it must be dealt with accordingly. Politicians, especially in our lifetime, are indiscriminately using the “race card” way too often to smear their opponents and or gain the support of their base. That undermines social harmony and is perpetuating the vicious circle of crime and hindrance of individual autonomy.

“One can’t change how people think, but we all can make mastermind accountable for what they do!”“One can contribute to the hate and thus the crime even with or without intention to do so!”

Transparency is the first step to fight Racism, then comes Accountability

One can’t solve a problem without recognizing it.

Racism is a problem, and it will always be a problem, but eliminating transparency via prohibition and criminalization of its expression will never help its resolution.

Transparency requires the trust of its constituents, and establishing trust comes with respecting their autonomy. Once we create clarity, the time comes to develop tolerance, something which is hard, if ever achievable through prohibition and outlawing the specific profiles of expressions. By way of optimal transparency, accountability is less burdensome to the system and the people, and it can only improve by way of building tolerance. And building tolerance requires a multifaceted approach of education, media, discussions, and calculated debates.

Take-Home Message

Racism is a cultural happening embedded in the sheer depth of ethnocentrism. It is a double-edged Sward. Prohibiting its expression drives furtive resentment, thus once admitted, the racist idiom would only flash the foolishness of its partakers.
“Let the odious racist mind vent itself through freedom of expression, and instead, we punish the wrongful action of a person.”
Punish the crime, not the ideology. Improve communication, not prohibit it, no matter how uncomfortable it is to listen. Minimize profiling (Eliminate if possible), as it is by itself discriminatory.
“Diversity is the diversity between two individuals and not the profile of a person he or -she belongs to.”Change the culture of ethnocentrism, Populism, and racism at its root; thus, “The individual.”
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